Sermon: February 22, 2009

23 02 2009

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.




                                                            Mark 9:2-9




            Have you ever had one of those times in your life that you just didn’t want to end?  Have you ever had one of those times when everything was just so great that you didn’t want it come to an end?  I remember about two years ago – I had one of those days.  Well, not actually one of those days.  It was several days.  Ohio State had just won the Big Ten Title.  Finished Number One in the Country.  Was scheduled to play in the National Championship Game in Phoenix, Arizona.  My daughter and I decided to go.  We bought our tickets for the game.  Managed to find reservations at a Hotel in Tempe.  The hard part was booking a flight into Phoenix.  But we managed that.  We flew out on Friday, even though the game wasn’t until Monday.  The plane to Phoenix was filled with other crazed Buckeyes – everyone decked out in their Scarlett and Gray.  We were singing the whole way out.  Hang on Sloopy.  Carmen Ohio.  March Across the Field.  When we got there, we did all of the Touristy things.  We took a Hum V Tour of the desert.  Went to several Tailgate Parties in Glendale, even ran into several Wooster Families at the Festivities.  I had a great time, and I just didn’t want it to end.  By the way, it wasn’t because Ohio State won the game.  No, that was the year that we got beat by the University of Florida.  But I still wouldn’t have changed a thing about that trip.  I was with my daughter.  The other day I came across a picture of Jen and me standing in front of Giant Cactus in Sonora Desert.  I just stared at the picture and smiled.  I wouldn’t have changed one thing. 

            Did you ever have one of those kind of days?  Well, if you did then you understand what it was like for Peter, James and John.  You see, the story tells us how one day Jesus decided to go off and pray, and He invites Peter, James, and John to go with Him.  You kind of get the feeling that this has happened before, because the other Disciples and Peter, James, and John don’t act as if this is anything unusual.  However, this time is to be different.  This time Jesus is going to show Peter, James, and John something special.  This time as they are praying suddenly Jesus begins to glow.  He reveals himself in all His glory to these three men.  He lets them see just a glimmer of who He is – the Son of the Most High God.  And then, as if that wasn’t spectacular enough, we are told that suddenly two of the greatest of all the Israelites suddenly appear on each side of Jesus – Moses and Elijah.  Moses who had led the people of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land.  Elijah, the greatest of all the prophets in the Old Testament.  Wow!  That must have been something special.  Peter apparently didn’t want the day to end.  He suggests to Jesus that they build three houses – one for Jesus, one for Moses, one for Elijah.  If we do that, Peter is thinking, then we can stay up here on the mountain forever.  This day never has to end.

            But Jesus understands – that as wonderful as this day is – as much as Peter doesn’t want it to end – that all good things must come to an end.  I loved being in Phoenix with my daughter.  But all good things must come to an end.  I needed to get back to work and so did Jennifer.  There was a church for me to take care of.  Jennifer had patients in the hospital.  We needed to get back to work.  So did Peter, James, and John.  They had to get back to work.  There were people with which to share the Good News.  There were people to tell about Jesus.  There were people to save.  There were people to tell that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  And so do we – we too need to get back to work.

            Why do you come to church?  No!  I am serious.  Why do you come to church?  Do you come to church because that is what you are suppose to do on Sunday Morning?  Do you come to church because that’s what your parents got you into the habit of doing?  Do you come to church to praise and worship God – to give thanks to God for all that He has done for you in your life?  Do you come to church because you have needs that only God can answer?  Do you come to church because faith in Jesus gives you the courage to face whatever life throws your way – because you know that you are never alone?

            Those are all good answers.  But, you know, those answers are all about me.  One of the answers needs to be about them.  I come here so that I can get armed – prepared – ready to go out there and tell others about Jesus.  That’s what Peter, James, and John needed to do.  Yea, it was wonderful up there on the mountain, but they needed to get down and tell others about what they had seen and heard.  We need to go home and tell others about what we have seen and heard.  We need to tell our friends and our co-workers about this Jesus that we meet every Sunday.  We need to tell our relatives and our neighbors about this Jesus that we meet every Sunday.

            You see, there is one thing that I understand.  The job of the church is to evangelize – to tell the world about Jesus.  No pastor can do that.  No advertising campaign can do that.  No spectacular church building can do that.  People can do that.  People sharing their faith.  People sharing what they see here every Sunday.  You coming down from the mountain top.  You sharing your faith. 

            And just stop and think.  If over this coming year, everybody in this church would just bring one person to Jesus.  On Sunday morning twice as many people would be here.  And if the next year everybody did that again, we would have to knock the walls out.  And if everybody in every church in every city and every country did that – the Kingdom of God would double every year. 

            What a thing of beauty that would be!  Wouldn’t that be something to behold?  Wouldn’t that be something to celebrate?






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