Tough Passages, Reading the Bible with Christ at the center
Tag Archives: typeology
Biblical Text: Luke 9:28-36
Full Sermon Draft
This is the end of the season of Epiphany – Transfiguration Sunday. So, it is also the end of the series of sermons that have been looking at two questions: How do we see God and the derivative How do we know we’ve seen God?
The witness of the Bible and the church to that first question is really easy: we see God first in Christ but since we were not alive at the time of the incarnation we see God in the sacraments, the Lord’s Supper and baptism. We also see God in the Word, the words of absolution, the proclaimed word and the written word. But as we move from sacrament to word we start activating a second sense, and we start dealing just as much with that second question.
In the transfiguration, a visual miracle if there ever was one, the emphasis is not really on the eyes. Everything is about the Word and the ears. The voice says “listen to him”. Moses and Elijah are talking with him. In Luke the entire visual episode takes place “as he was praying” or as Jesus was talking to God. The visual fades while the Word is what provides both the content and the proof. It might take a visual miracle to get our attention, but that miracle is not the point. Seeing God is not the point. Trusting God’s Word is the point.
And that Word has two points. First, Christ has done all that is necessary. Second, the glory is not long here, but lies past Calvary’s Hill.
Side Note, one of the best Hymns I’ve been introduced to in a long time is for Transfiguration Sunday. It is #416 in the Lutheran Service Book, Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory. The title here is just crassly stolen from the hymn. LSB has beautifully matched it with a lilting and melancholy-ish tune called Love’s Light. I know I’ve said to other people that I should just stop preaching on Transfiguration and just sing this hymn twice. The lyrics follow…
Swiftly pass the clouds of glory, Heaven’s voice the dazzling light;
Moses and Elijah vanish; Christ alone commands the height!
Peter, James and John fall silent, Turning from the summit’s rise
Downward toward the shadowed valley Where their Lord has fixed His eyes.
Glimpsed and gone the revelation, They shall gain and keep its truth,
Not by building on the mountain any shrine or sacred booth,
But by following the savior through the valley to the cross
And by testing faith’s resilience through betrayal, pain and loss.
Lord, transfigure our perception with the purest light that shines,
And recast our life’s intention To the shape of Your designs
Till we seek no other glory that what lies past Calv’ry’s hill
And out living and our dying and our rising by Your will.
Text: Daniel 2:1-30
When I was working in corporate America one of our major activities was fielding the impossible request. When I worked the impossible request was always a balancing of three items: usually increase unit revenue, increase unit gross profit and do that without impacting cross unit sales. All sales were cross unit, so there was always another internal group involved. Getting two out of three was easy. We could always increase our revenue by raising price and the %GP would go up also, but that would hurt ancillary sales. We could raise revenue (by selling more widgets) and leave the other units untouched by taking a hit to our %GP (The revenue per widget was less). We could even leave the other units untouched and raise our %GP by raising price accoss the board (the demand curve was not that elastic), but then our total revenue would decline. We always eventually ended up in “come to Jesus” meetings where the total deal was skinned and the cross unit executives stopped being parochial and had a heart warming kum-bah-yah moment each giving up what they could at the moment. But until that moment, the internal fighting was brutal. We would spend 80 hour weeks making up arguments for why we should get the bigger portion. Just scheduling the meeting was “giving up your side” and no deal could be made until the end of the quarter anyway.
The King of Babylon has a dream and he tells his advisors tell me and interpret my dream. What? How can we know what you dreamed? An impossible request. And this guy is serious as heads were on the line. Daniel and his friends pray, and God reveals the dream. Notice who Daniel gives the credit too and what he tells the king. Nobody here can grant your request. But there is a God who can and has given us the revelation. Daniel confronts the King and tells him this is from God. This guy is fearless. That is not how humans work. But Daniel is not ultimately serving humans. He is a minister to the King, but he serves God first.
In many ways that is God’s impossible request. He says live in the world, but don’t be of it. And we botch that all the time. But, Jesus Christ lived in this world. God lived among us, but he did the will of his Father. Jesus didn’t grab for the glory first. That is what Satan offered him at the start of the Gospels. Jesus lived in this world to the cross to fulfill the Father’s will. Daniel is an OT shadow of that service. Jesus is the fulfillment to for our benefit.