Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Plenary Six

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Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Be careful that the Gospel never becomes so commonplace that we become stale.

Good theology should always lead to doxology and transformation!

How have you seen God in a new light? How have you been given a fresh vision of God this weekend?

How does that vision shed light on the path that you are now walking?

“The supreme need in a time of distress is a fresh vision of God.” G. Campbell Morgan

Matthew 17

In context:

Mt. 16:15 Who do people say that I am?
People thought highly of Jesus, but saw Him as one among many. Many thought He was a prophet, back from the dead.

Verse 21: There is first humiliation.  Jesus begins to reveal to them His coming suffering.

Then there is exaltation: Raised from the dead.

Peter’s theology, like the rest of the Jews, does not include room for a suffering servant.

Peter wants exaltation without humiliation, glorification without suffering, a crown without the cross.

But God uses death to bring life. There is no glory without suffering.

v. 24 Now, not only must He suffer, they must suffer.

But the pathway doesn’t END at the cross! Humiliation is followed by exaltation. It is true of Christ and it will be true of His followers.

v. 28 There are a select few who get a preview of the Kingdom in the next chapter. The Transfiguration is a foretelling of the glory of the King!

The Trans. takes place where Jesus went to pray. And the biggest revelations of God rarely happen in a crowd…

This all prepares them for the coming suffering and glory. Imagine them going through the suffering of Gethsemane without the glory of the Transfiguration. They could have been disillusioned. Or if they went to the Transfiguration and never experienced Gethsemane. They could have been overly exalted. They had to experience both, and Jesus was with them in BOTH.

Moses’s face was covered in glory so that he had to wear a veil, but even Jesus’ clothes were transfigured.

This was not a spotlight shining on Jesus. This glory shone from the inside out. For a moment, the veil was lifted and His glory was made visible to human eyes.

“This was not a new miracle, but the cessation of an ongoing miracle. The real miracle was that Jesus was able to cover His glory.”

What do those men who were with Him refer to Him?

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.”

Elijah and Moses reminded us that those who have gone on before. They are still alive! Moses representing, perhaps, those who have died before, and Elijah representing those who are caught up in the body.

What did they talk about?

Jesus’s departure, His Exodus. (Fitting that He would be talking to Moses about this)

The death of Christ, followed by his resurrection and ascendance. Through which God would deliver His people from the slavery of death! The picture is complete!

Cf. Luke 9– Moses and Elijah showed up while the disciples were dozing off. How could they sleep? First here and then in Gethsemane?

How do we sleep spiritually when God is working around us?

Peter knew this was significant, and he wanted to capture the moment. Had he already forgotten what Jesus had told him about His coming death? Or was he trying to prevent it? It was not time to stay there. Yet.

Why go back to the multitude below, where there was misery and unbelief? Stay on the mountain instead of going to Jesus’s death in Jerusalem. But Luke 9 says that Peter did not know what he said. He did not understand there is no glory without suffering.

God’s presence is represented in a cloud. In the OT at Sinai, it is a dark cloud, but here God’s cloud is bright and full of glory.

God interrupts Peter’s plan. He declares that Jesus is not one of three spectacular men, but He is the Son of God. And God says, “Listen to Him.” It is better to listen to Jesus than to be with Moses and Elijah, back from the dead. When He speaks, God speaks.

When you don’t know what to say or to do. 

When you are confused. 

Don’t just do what you feel. 

Stop and listen to Jesus.

When we hear the voice of God, we should fall on our faces. Not even the glory of Jesus put them on their knees, but the Word of God.

“They saw no one but Jesus only.” Because there was no one else needed. Everyone else was gone, but Jesus went with them.

Remember when those we admire, greater teachers and speakers of the Word do not go home with us, that Jesus does.

  1. For those who are in Christ, His transfiguration points to our transformation.The purpose of His exodus was to make all things new and to provide transformation for us, past, present and future.
    1. Past Justification
    2. Present Sanctification
    3. Future Glorification– Transfiguration was a preview of what is to come.

It is as we fix our eyes on Christ that we are transfigured.

If you want to be like Jesus, you have to behold Jesus. There are no shortcuts. To be transformed, we must spend time with Christ. Gaze upon Him. Listen to Him.

  1. The transfiguration encourages us on the mountain top and in the valleys. 
    1. Jesus led them high on a mountain. They are a taste and are to remind us of the coming eternal glory, to sustain us when we are in the valley and it feels as if those times will never end.
    2. Jesus went with them back down the mountain and they were immediately faced with situations in which people expected things from them that they did not have to offer. The glory was again veiled, but they never forgot.
    3. They were meant to see the circumstances in the valley in light of the glory they experienced on the mountain. 

Knowing that the God of the Mount of Transfiguration goes with us to the valley beings hope and encouragement and knowledge of the glory to come. He is with us.
Because of His exodus and glorification, our suffering in this world will be short and our future glorification will be eternal.

All is well in heaven and all will be well on earth. All because of Jesus.