Sermon Outline On Matthew 17:1-9
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
It was 6 days after Jesus had asked his disciples in Caesarea Philippi, “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus took with him, Peter, James, and John. He took them up on a high mountain. It was there that these disciples saw the transformation. Suddenly Jesus was different! His face was shining! His clothes were dazzling white! There was something glorious about his appearance! Metamorphosis! Transfiguration! Incredible! Unbelievable!
And then Moses and Elijah appeared. These icons of the Hebrew faith were standing with Jesus. Six days before, Jesus asked, “Who do the people say that I am?” and the disciples answered, “Some say you are Moses and others say John the Baptist and others Elijah.” In other words, the people think you are a forerunner of the Messiah. But in this mountain top experience Peter, James, and John knew Jesus was no forerunner of the Messiah. They were standing in the presence of the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God!
When Peter realized the majesty of the moment, this man of action said, “We’ll build three tabernacles, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” I’m ready to get on with the doing.
Peter learned that day on that mountain that there are times for stillness. “There is a time for contemplation, for wonder, for adoration, for awed reverence in the presence of the supreme glory.”
William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Matthew, Vol. 2, page 163.
As the Psalmist put it, “Be still and know that I am God.” Ps 46:10 There are moments for intimacy, serenity, peace and nearness to God. We call such times Mountain Top experiences.
Have you ever gotten really inspired? Have you ever been ready to jump into action? Have you ever been ready to do, do, do? How often we want to do without first seeking God’s will. How often like Peter we are ready to get on with it when God hasn’t even told us what It is!
While Peter was speaking, a great cloud settled down and a voice from the cloud declared Jesus as the Son of God. For most of the Hebrew history God was present in that cloud. The cloud lead them out of Egypt and through the wilderness. When the tabernacle was built, the cloud of God’s presence settled in the tabernacle. When Solomon built the Temple, there was that same cloud. Moses spoke to God in the cloud on Mount Sinai. At the baptism of Jesus, God’s voice came from that cloud over the Jordan river.
Yeah, Jesus let’s build three tabernacles! Peter must have wanted to stay on the mountain. Have you ever been on the mountain top with Jesus and wanted to stay there?. What an unbelievable experience! Peter wanted to stay. These three disciples, Peter, James and John, will not appear again as the inner circle until Gethsemane…The transfiguration and Gethsemane are the two most intimate experiences that Jesus shares with his disciples and the same three disciples witnessed both.
RichardDonovan, Sermonwriter for Transfiguration A.
Can you imagine anything more exhilarating, more awe stimulating?
Peter and the others had been taken to the doorstep to eternity. Peter wanted to stay, but Peter also learned that he was called to serve, not on the mountain top, but down in the valley. Peter knew that he had received a great gift, but it was a gift he would need to share with the world below.
You’ve seen the bumper sticker. “My boss is a Jewish carpenter.” Well, on that high mountain with Jesus, Peter, James and John, we learned that our Boss is much more than a Jewish carpenter. When we experience Jesus, we experience the Son of God, we experience an epiphany, a theophany, the very real presence of God Almighty.
Mountain top experiences are exhilarating, inspirational and motivating. They are an important part of our spiritual journeys. They give us ability to keep our hands on the plow and not look back. They give us the ability to bear our cross.
When do you experience your mountain tops? When is the last time you had a mountain top experience? They often happen on retreats. They can happen on vacation. They can happen during quiet times and worship. Sometimes they happen when we least expect them. Sometimes we go seeking them. We need the mountain tops!
But then there is always the valley of service. Fred Craddock tells the story of going to the dedication service of a beautiful building at the University of Oklahoma. It had a tall tower, great facilities, all kinds of marvelous things. He was there for the dedication. And the young man, the campus minister, had a very brief prayer: “Lord, burn down this building and scatter these people for the sake of the gospel.”
Fred Craddock, Craddock Stories, Chalice Press, 2001, 90.