Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Transfiguration of Jesus and the New Sinai

This morning I was back at Grace OPC after being at Trinity OPC in Huntington, WV for the last three weeks. It was nice to get back to my overview of Mark, and what a great place to come to, Mark 9 and the transfiguration of Jesus! This text is quite rich with OT imagery and I admit that I didn't do a good job communicating what I saw and I went longer than planned (but what is new), but this is a very encouraging text despite my shortcomings. I looked at this text in conjunction with Exodus 24 and Malachi 4.

Here is a preview:
. . . As we pick back up with our overview of Mark, we find ourselves in chapter 9 observing Christ as he seeks to encourage the faith of his followers who deal with the uncertainties and hidden dangers of picking up their crosses to follow Christ in a world that rejects them, heaps abuse upon them, that seeks to cause them to stumble and tempts them to deny their Lord.

. . . And yet, as our text opens in verse 1, we are told that even that to which faith grasps--although it is unseen--it will not remain unseen. . . . In our text, there is an unveiling, an anticipated revelation that will end with the disclosure of the Christ's glory. And this unveiling will cut the knot of ambiguity surrounding this situation of God allowing his sovereignty to be questioned and rebelled against, of God's anointed emissary being treated with contempt, and of God's people being exposed to shame. Here we find the tension between what is concealed and what will be revealed resolved. Here we find the tension between the character of Jesus' humble earthly ministry and the coming revelation of the glory and power of the Christ at the consummation resolved in the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain. And the purpose of this revelation is to affirm in you, your faith in Jesus Christ, that you too will share in his exaltation.

. . . If Mark is describing Jesus as Yahweh who has come to meet his people in the wilderness to take them on a second exodus, as I have suggested from the beginning of this series, then what we find here is the new Sinai. As God spoke forth from the cloud on Mt. Sinai to give his words to Moses to give to the people that would be the words by which they were to live by in their exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land, God once more speaks forth from the cloud on this new mountain--but now he speaks through one greater than Moses, he speaks the final word through his Son, who is the final interpreter and the embodiment of God's revelation that his people are to live by. It is in His words, that come to us through the apostles and New Testament writers that we find the true exodus that leads not just out of earthly bondage and slavery in Egypt, but out of physical and spiritual bondage and slavery to the penalty, power, and presence of the estate of sin and misery. But your liberty and salvation come at a price--the price of your master and Lord suffering many things, being treated with contempt, even death on cross.

. . . The transfiguration of Jesus Christ not only reveals Jesus' true identity as the unique, beloved Son of God, it also foreshadows our glorification in Him! Beloved, there certainly can be much fear with the uncertaintities of life--there can be much loathing as well. The pressures and the afflictions are real--the disappointments are many--the uncertainties abound. But the true identity of our Lord has been revealed and our life with him is forever settled inthe heavens by faith. Let us then persevere in joyful hope and faith! . . . And let us strive with all the might of heaven for the nobility and glory of Christ and His kingdom, which, though hidden for now, will be revealed for all to behold in awe.
You can listen to the entire sermon in mp3 format here.

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