I know my faith increases, hope is renewed and grace abounds when I get to glimpse          past religion, past my ideas, past my theology and see the glory of Jesus. If you need a        faith pump, today I will suggest a way for you to get past the peripheral an encounter with      the living God.

On the Christian Calendar, this Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday.” Now there’s a word I don’t hear bandied about much anymore. Transfiguration.  To be “transfigured” is something quite different than to be “transformed. Transfiguration is changing from the inside out making what is outside more beautiful, more wonderful. It’s a major feast day in the Church, so eat up me hearties.

The purpose of the transfiguration of Jesus was so that His disciples could gain a greater understanding of who Jesus is. Jesus underwent a dramatic change in appearance in order that the disciples could behold Him in His glory. The disciples, who had only known Him in His humanity received a greater realization of His deity.

I know my faith increases, hope is renewed and grace abounds when I get to glimpse past religion, past my ideas, past my theology and see the glory of Jesus. If you need a faith pump, today I will suggest a way for you to get past the peripheral an encounter with the living God.

Mark 9:2-8 (MSG)
Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. His clothes shimmered, glistening white, whiter than any bleach could make them. Elijah, along with Moses, came into view, in deep conversation with Jesus.

Peter interrupted, "Rabbi, this is a great moment! Let's build three memorials—one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah." He blurted this out without thinking, stunned as they all were by what they were seeing.

Just then a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and from deep in the cloud, a voice: "This is my Son, marked by my love. Listen to him."

The next minute the disciples were looking around, rubbing their eyes, seeing nothing but Jesus, only Jesus.
The glory of God is the presence of God. The three see who Jesus has been all along on the inside. It has a profound effect on them, something they will never forget, an event that will keep them strong when the temptation comes to quit.

Six days earlier Jesus taught something very difficult.
Mark 8:34-38 - 9:1 (MSG)
Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?

"If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I'm leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you'll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels."  

Then he drove it home by saying, "This isn't pie in the sky by and by. Some of you who are standing here are going to see it happen, see the kingdom of God arrive in full force."

You don’t hear in the average invitation to enter into a saving relationship with Jesus that suffering and self-denial comes with salvation. Mostly its get your sins forgiven, get your life straightened out and go to heaven. This life is hard. Suffering is the norm, a believer is called to deal with it in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Christians are not exempt. You need to know in whom you have believed to keep the faith.

There on the mount of transfiguration, most likely Mount Hermon in Israel. Located in the Golan Heights region near the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi Peter, James and John get a glimpse of the Kingdom of God.

There’s something I want you to understand. The Kingdom of God is found in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus told us that the Kingdom of God, where God’s rule is made perfect, where God’s will is carried out in full, is “within you” (Luke 17:21). This truth is put on display.

It’s in this mysterious mountaintop moment that reveals to the inner circle a new reality about their rabbi, teacher, and leader. They are seeing through the outer wrappings of the man into Jesus’ very being. Though they are shaken by this revealing it also bolsters their faith. For Peter, James and John it’s a faith building experience. One they would reflect upon when obedience got costly.

On that mountaintop perch, the disciples watch as Jesus is “transfigured before them.” The disciples immediately note the outward physical changes in Jesus. His clothing appears to them as “dazzling white.” The original language seems to indicate the kind of brightness you might experience when the sun reflects off a chrome car bumper and catches you in the eye.

They are suddenly made aware that both Moses and Elijah stand beside Jesus, speaking with him. We’re not told how the guys recognized Moses and Elijah. Here’s what their presence signifies: Moses is the great law-giver of Israel, Elijah was the first and greatest prophet of Israel, the law and the prophets seen conversing with Jesus. For Jesus himself, I think it was the moment that He was assured that he was on the right path especially knowing that path led to the Cross.

The veil of the material world is lifted and they see the truth of who Jesus really is but something is still missing in their education. Peter quickly suggests that they should construct three tabernacles, or dwelling places: one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. But despite his energetic suggestion, the truth is that Peter, James, and John are “terrified,” stunned by what they are seeing. Then a voice from the cloud says: This is my Son, marked by my love. Listen to him.” We can assume the voice is that of the Father and it confirms that Jesus supersedes the law and the prophets, the new that replaces the old. What would an experience like that do to you? Do for you?

Later after the resurrection, John would write of the experience:
John 1:14 (MSG)
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son…

Later after the resurrection, Peter would write of the experience:
2 Peter 1:16-19 (MSG)
We weren't, you know, just wishing on a star when we laid the facts out before you regarding the powerful return of our Master, Jesus Christ. We were there for the preview! We saw it with our own eyes: Jesus resplendent with light from God the Father as the voice of Majestic Glory spoke: "This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of all my delight." We were there on the holy mountain with him. We heard the voice out of heaven with our very own ears.  We couldn't be more sure of what we saw and heard—God's glory, God's voice.

 “We couldn’t be more sure.” That’s confident conviction.
That’s the kind of experience that keeps you going when the circumstances of life say stop. You don’t give up. You are absolutely persuaded. You find it within to pay the price of obedience, to live your vocation, to fil-full your calling, to be the light in the dark place, to stand when the stones are thrown, to sing from the prison cell, to forgive your executioners.

Couldn’t be more sure in the midst of the storm, in the heat of the battle, in the obstacles before, even when there are giants in the land, in the face of opposition and oppression

Couldn’t be more sure, empowers you to live your life to the full; to take the risk,
to go the extra mile, to march through the valley of death.

We saw we heard.

The nominal Christian has believed but has not seen, has not heard. That’s why far too many believers live mediocre lives with goals no higher than their unbelieving neighbors. They are not convinced to the core. They are not willing to deny self for what they believe. They settle for comfortable Christianity, which is a delusion creating complacency and good intentions, at the price of no movement, no spiritual growth,

Jesus said: “You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. … Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self.” You must deny yourself. Take up your cross and follow Him. You don’t do that, you don’t deny self, pick up your cross, and take the risk of following Jesus unless you have seen, unless you have heard.

John would again testify to this:
1 John 1:1-2 (NLT)
We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life.

So how do you, a couple of millennia removed from the Mount of Transfiguration see through the veil of Christian religion, ritual, regulations, the trimming, and trappings of the shadow of holiness and see and hear GLORY.

You already know the answer. You must practice the seven habits of a disciple. It is through your practice that you ask for an encounter. As you read the scripture, pray, fellowship, serve, obey and contemplate you are really asking God to reveal himself to you just as he did Peter, James, and John. God will do it. You will recognize God in an act of kindness, in a touch of Providence, in a twist of fate. You will see God in a provision, a healing, in a helpful hand. You will hear God in the laughter of fellowship, in the words of a sermon. God is not trying to hide from you.

Does your faith need to be bolstered?
Your opinions made more certain?
Your hope made surer?

Then practice the 7 habits for they open spiritual eyes and spiritual ears.

Transfiguration Hillsong


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