The Sunday of the Transfiguration February 14, 2021
Text: Mark 9:2-9 ILCW – B 21:2239
Theme: On the Heights of Glory and Back Again
Peter and the other disciples were all mixed up. When Jesus asked, “Who do people say that I am?” he answered for the rest with a sure and happy voice: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus commended him for his conviction, but added, “It was God Himself that showed you this.”
Their hearts must have swelled with joy and anticipation. If Jesus was God’s own Son, their troubles were over. He could drive out the hated Romans and be their king. But as they were thinking such things, Jesus dashed their hopes to the ground. “I am going to suffer many things,” He told them. “I will be rejected by the Jews, be killed, but after three days rise again.” How could God’s Son be killed? Who would save the people then if Jesus would die? “This will not happen to You,” Peter said. And Jesus responded, “You are Satan to me for you do not have the things of God in mind.”
The disciples were all mixed up. What should they think? The things that Jesus said would happen were unthinkable. Was doubt creeping in? Had they been mistaken about Jesus this whole time?
A few days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him up a high mountain to pray. We don’t know which mountain they climbed, the direction they took, or how far their journey went. Finally, they stopped, and the time of prayer began. The Sabbath sun had set, and darkness settled around them. No doubt the Lord Jesus prayed with them. But more, the Lord Jesus prayed for them, that their eyes, so often dulled by foolish human notions, might be opened to see God’s higher glory. And, undoubtedly, He prayed for Himself, that He might remain calm and still in peaceful surrender to His Father’s will. So much lay ahead of Him.
Soon Jesus prayed alone. Exhausted with the climb, the eyes of these men of simple habits grew heavy with sleep (Lk.9:32). But their slumber didn’t last long, for one of the greatest spectacles ever seen on earth aroused them and their eyes sprung wide awake.
A dazzling light half-blinded them. It was their Master shining with an unearthly light. His clothes were whiter than any garments they had ever seen. Even His face shone with brilliant glory, like the sun. What they saw was their Master transformed into the image of almighty God right before them. And He was not alone.
Look! Two men talked with Him. The disciples had never seen them before, but they knew at once who they were. Moses! The great law giver, known as the friend of God. And Elijah! The fiery prophet who was carried to heaven in a flaming whirlwind. Why had these two men come back from the dead? And what were they saying to Jesus? The disciples heard them discussing the very same thing Jesus told His disciples just a week before – His upcoming death, resurrection, and ascension. Who better to speak about it than two who most experienced and wrote about such things?
But wait, the night of glory was not over. The formation of a cloud had been building over the summit. It was no ordinary cloud, but a luminous one with a burning glow emanating from its center and filling the entire cloud with light. A cloud like this led the Children of Israel through the wilderness to their homeland. A cloud like this covered Mt. Sinai when God gave the people His holy Law. A cloud like this filled the temple, billowing ever upward, when Isaiah was commissioned as God’s prophet. And now it overspread the disciples, marking the Presence of the holy God among them – revealing yet concealing. Fear gripped them. At the same time, they longed to grasp this sight and cling to it forever.
Never had such heights of glory been seen by man on earth. This is the stuff to which only angels are privy, not mortal beings. If only they could perpetuate this wonderful vision. So it was that in the confusion of their terror and the ecstasy of their delight the disciples didn’t know what to say until Peter burst forth: “Lord, it’s good for us to be here. Let’s put up three shelters so you can stay.”
Ah, he didn’t know what he was saying (Lk.9:33). How can one stay in the presence of heavenly things when eternal things cannot remain in our temporal world? Even as Peter spoke the light-cloud spread and fell around them. Heaven’s awe settled upon them. And a voice from the cloud commended, then commanded: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!”
Powerful, majestic, authoritative it rang out. The disciples were thrown to the ground, face down in the dirt, shaking in worship and terror (Mt.17:6). Then silence fell, thick as the night. How long it lasted, they couldn’t tell. But a touch upon their shoulders roused them (Mt.17:7). It was the gentle, healing touch of God’s Son, the same touch that soothed the sick and calmed the distressed. It was the hand of their Jesus. His voice assured them. “Get up and don’t be afraid” (Mt.17:7). Startled they looked about, but there was no one in view – only their Jesus. The heavenly visitors left, the glowing cloud vanished, the echoes of the celestial Voice faded. It was night on the mountain. There with Jesus, and only Jesus.
Had it been fact or fiction; vision or delusion? In their minds and hearts there was no doubt – a slice of heaven was brought down to earth for a moment of time, and their Jesus was indeed the One whom He said He was – the divine Son of God. They couldn’t wait to tell the rest until their Master commanded, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”
So that’s what they did. They told no one how they had been on the heights of glory and back again. This wonderful glimpse of heavenly glory had lasted only a little while. But the disciples did not forget what they had seen. During the dark days of Jesus’ suffering and death they were strengthened by the memory of the glory that belongs to Jesus, the glory that is His as our Savior.
Many years later Peter wrote (1:1:16f), “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard the voice that came from heaven when we were with Him on the sacred mountain.”
John told what this meant to him when he said: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us…Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete” (1:1:1f).
As for James, he didn’t get the chance to write about it. Not long after Jesus ascended, James was the first to be martyred for his faith and witness to Christ. Then he got to see and live that glory again, forever, translated to the highest heights above.
And now all three are there, together with Moses, Elijah, and believers of every age. They know what that glory of the eternal presence of God is like forever and daily live it – hour after hour, minute after minute, forever – far more glory than any earthly mountain could hold. They stand on the heights of glory forever and will never come back to this.
As through their eyes we see our Savior with His face shining brightly and His clothing gleaming white, we ought to come away with the firm conviction that this is our Lord and God. If this is the conviction of our hearts, we shall be prepared to understand the message of Lent that lies ahead of us. When we see Him hanging on the cross, we will know:
– that it was indeed God Himself who shed those drops of blood;
– that God’s Son died, not because He had to, but because He loved us greatly;
– that this is the Son of God whose death is enough to give us the hope of heaven because it can redeem us from all our sin;
– that when we die, we will be able to say with Job of old: “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the end of time He will stand over the dust. Even after my skin has been destroyed, nevertheless, in my own flesh I will see God. I myself will see Him. My own eyes will see Him, not as a stranger” (19:25-27). And we will say with Peter, “Lord, it is good to be here with You, on the Heights of Glory forever.”
God grant it to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Last Sunday after Epiphany: Transfiguration February 14, 2021
“He was transfigured in front of them. His clothes became radiant, dazzling white.” Mk.9:3
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise Him in the heights above. Praise Him, all His holy angels, praise Him, all His heavenly hosts. Praise the LORD from the earth…for His splendor is above the earth and the heavens” (Psalm 148).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
A Glimpse of Heavenly Glory. Transfiguration receives its name from the event described in today’s Gospel Lesson. In it the physical appearance of Jesus was transfigured, that is, transformed into something other than His normal human appearance. He shone with heaven’s divine glory and the disciples caught a brief glimpse of it.
With it they saw a Savior who is like no ordinary man. He is the Son of God who comes with redeeming grace to save us. On the cross the brilliancy of His glory will not so readily be seen. But here, before the crucifixion comes, He gives us a glimpse of heavenly glory to strengthen and help us overcome any doubts about Him that we might have.
To that end we pray: Lord God, before the suffering and death of Your Son, You revealed His glory on the holy mountain. Grant that we who bear His cross on earth may behold by faith the light of His heavenly glory and so be changed into His likeness; for His name’s sake we pray. Amen
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: 2 Kings 2:1-12
God takes the prophet Elijah to heaven in a glorious way, in a whirlwind accompanied by a chariot and horses of fire. It gives us a brief glimpse of the heavenly glory that surrounds God’s people who depart this life in faith.
The Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
The Law of God came through Moses to God’s people in a glorious way. But its glory was temporary and passing. Its call to perfect obedience could not be matched by sinful men. Of greater glory is the New Covenant of forgiveness found through Christ in the Gospel. Paul proclaimed it to God’s glory without deceit or discouragement.
The Gospel Lesson: Mark 9:2-9
Jesus’ transfiguration gave the disciples a little foretaste of heaven. They wanted to keep the sight of it going, but heaven cannot be brought down to earth. Jesus had a job to complete that we might enter heaven. So, they returned to the plain as Jesus set out for Jerusalem.
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The Organist: Jane Rips
The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder ““(In the Transfiguration) we view a prelude to glory. What the disciples saw there is what we shall see when we are set free from all the sorrows of this life….This present world is not the only home we have.
When we again see our Savior with His face shining as brightly as the sun and with His garments whiter than all the bleach on earth could possibly make them, we ought to come away once more with the firm conviction that this is our Lord and our God. And if this is the firm conviction of our hearts, we shall be prepared to understand the message of Lent which shows us the Savior in the depths of His humiliation in His suffering and death.”
— Siegbert Becker on Jesus’ Transfiguration
Outline of Our Worship
Lord, Hear Us
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Entrance Hymn: #399
Order of Worship: Hymnal page 38, “Service of the Word”
Lord, Feed Us
2 Kings 2:1-12
Psalm of the Day: #148 Hymnal page 105
2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
Hymn Response: #212 st.1-2
Sermon Hymn: #95
Sermon Text: Mark 9:2-9 On the Heights of Glory… And Back Again
Lord, Accept Our Response
Apostles’ Creed: pg.41
The Lord’s Prayer. pg.43
Lord, Bless Us
Closing Prayer & Blessing: Hymnal pages 43-44
Trio: Lord, When Your Glory
The Last Sunday after Epiphany: Transfiguration – Series B
Old Testament Lesson: 2 Kings 2:1-12 – Elijah Taken to Heaven
1 When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah was traveling with Elisha from Gilgal. 2Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 3The sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord is taking your master away from you?” Then he said, “Yes, I know. Be quiet.”
4Then Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here because the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho. 5Then the sons of the prophets who were in Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord is taking your master away from you?” He said, “Yes, I know. Be quiet.”
6Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here because the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. 7Then fifty men from the sons of the prophets came and stood and watched them from a distance, while the two of them were standing at the Jordan. 8Elijah took his cloak, folded it together, and struck the water. The water divided to the right and to the left. Then the two of them crossed on dry land. 9When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask me for whatever I can do for you before I am taken from you.” Then Elisha said, “Let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” 10He said, “You have asked for a difficult thing. If you see me being taken from you, it will surely be yours. But if not, then it will not.”
11While they were walking and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire, and horses of fire came and separated them. So Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12Elisha was watching and crying out, “My father! My father! Israel’s chariot and its charioteers!” Then he did not see him anymore.
Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2 – Reflecting the Lord’s Glory
12Therefore, since we have this kind of hope, we act with great boldness. 13We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face, so that the Israelites could not continue to look at the end of the radiance, as it was fading away. 14In spite of this, their minds were hardened. Yes, up to the present day, the same veil remains when the Old Testament is read. It has not been removed because it is taken away only in Christ. 15Instead, to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts. 16But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18But all of us who reflect the Lord’s glory with an unveiled face are being transformed into his own image, from one degree of glory to another. This too is from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
4:1Therefore, since we have this ministry as a result of the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged. 2On the contrary, we have renounced shameful, underhanded methods. We do not operate in a deceitful way, and we do not distort the word of God. Instead, by proclaiming the truth clearly, we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
Gospel Lesson: Mark 9:2-9 – The Transfiguration
2After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him and led them up a high mountain where they were alone by themselves. There he was transfigured in front of them. 3His clothes became radiant, dazzling white, whiter than anyone on earth could bleach them. 4And Elijah appeared to them together with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.
5Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6He did not know what to say because they were terrified.
7A cloud appeared and overshadowed them, and a voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him.” 8Suddenly when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus alone.
9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
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Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
|Ash Wednesday||11 am
Midweek Bible Class
What Shall I Do
Divine Worship Service with Holy Communion
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Fellowship & Brief
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
There was only one time recorded in Scripture when Jesus revealed His future glory before His resurrection. That one time was on the Mount of Transfiguration, where Peter, James and John had a firsthand look at Jesus’ perfect glory. Why did Jesus do this? He did it to give His disciples a glimpse at what the future holds for all believers. They were about to enter a difficult time as disciples. They would see their Messiah crucified. But future glory would follow!
The Old Testament Lesson: 2 Kings 2:1-12 (answers are found on the back side)
- Why was Elisha upset?
- What request did Elisha have for Elijah?
- How was Elijah taken away into heaven?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Dave Ballou; Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; Felicia Nichols’ family; Bill Buchanan; Norine Richardson; Barbara Long; Jodi Milam; Laurie Moon’s husband. William; Pastor Jim Witt, St. Louis; Lois Wiese; Felicia Nichols.
Copies of the Daily Devotions written by pastor this past week will be found in the narthex.
Midweek Lenten Suppers and Services begin this week, God-willing. The theme this year is What Shall I Do with Jesus? Our midweek services at Zion are held on Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm with a supper beforehand. The suppers and services at Peace in Marshfield are held Wednesday evenings at 6 and 7 pm respectively. Our first midweek Lenten observance at Zion will be held this coming Thursday, February 18. We hope you can join us.
Health Ordinance With Springfield and the Greene County Health Dept. extending the mask requirements until April, we will continue wearing masks in the worship service. You will find masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. Please, continue to watch your physical distancing, side to side and front to back. We are not passing the offering plate during the service at this time, but it will be found at the door upon leaving the sanctuary.
Midweek Lenten Suppers & Services Begin at Zion – Thursday, February 18
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 14; Communed: 11 Sunday Bible Class: 12; Midweek Bible Class: 4; Offering: $1,639.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
First Sunday in Lent: Genesis 22:1-18; Romans 8:31-39; Mark 1:12-15 (Series B)
Answers to Today’s Old Testament Lesson Brief Study:
- He realized that his master, Elijah, was going to be taken away from him.
- Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. He knew he would need spiritual strength when Elijah was gone.
- A chariot and horses of fire separated Elisha from Elijah, and Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind.
This week I am praying for……