Feb. 7, 2016 – Transfiguration Text: Luke 9:28-36
Dear Friends in Christ,
A couple of years ago The Pantagraph ran a cartoon on their editorial page that had a guy sitting outside playing on his computer. There was a man walking by with a dog who stopped to look at his sign which said, “The Religion of ME – Convert Now or suffer my Viral Rants.” Everybody today has an opinion. Everybody has a voice. You can rant and rave all you want on social media. Most of it comes down to ME and what I want.
The world began with one voice and once God spoke creation came into being. Then Adam and Eve are created and there are more voices. God tells them not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or they will die. Well God’s voice does not resonate with them. Instead, they are persuaded by another voice that would lead them into the captivity of sin, death, and the power of the devil. The battle had begun. Two competing voices. It’s Transfiguration Sunday and we are on the mountain with Jesus and the disciples and we have to answer this question . . .
“WHAT VOICE ARE YOU LISTENING TO?”
Notice all the voices that are speaking to us today. The voices of newscasters and political pundits who have moved on from Iowa to New Hampshire. The voices of government leaders and YouTubers. The voices of bloggers and political candidates. The voices of songwriters and actors. Today you will be inundated with the voices of sportscasters who have to fill hours and hours before the big game is played. By tonight I am sure I will know what Peyton Manning had for breakfast and what size socks he is wearing. It all reminds me of a Cheap trick song from the 1980’s, “the voices inside my head are driving me insane.’
Take a moment and account for the voices you hear each day and consider what they are saying. Consider also where the voice is coming from. Is this the voice of God, or is this a voice that will lead you into the captivity of sin, death, and the power of the devil.
Discerning between the array of voices that are encouraging us to think, feel, behave, and believe in certain ways is important. Consider the scene of Peter, John, and James with Jesus on the mount. There is much to see, the appearance of Jesus’s face is altered, his clothes are sparkling with light, and with him are Moses and Elijah. But listen: listen carefully to what is being said and who is saying it. Notice the contrast between Peter, who wants to build tents and the voice from heaven proclaiming Jesus to be the chosen one. These are two very different reactions. Peter’s reaction is filled with misunderstandings. Peter thinks it is good to stay on the mount, so he suggests that three tents be built.
While he is speaking, Peter is interrupted by another voice. “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” (v. 35b) There is a special connection between the One speaking and the present imperative of listening. When God says, “listen to him!” he is not just speaking to the disciples, but He is speaking to us. The voices of Moses and Elijah from the Old Testament are important but Jesus speaks with greater authority. Jesus is the chosen one that was foretold (Deut. 18:15-20). Jesus is the light to the nations (Is. 42:1-7). Jesus is the Word made flesh from John, chapter 1.
The voice from the cloud clearly states that they are to listen to Jesus and only to Jesus. “And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.” (v. 36a) The Old Testament figures are gone; they had completed their service of pointing to Christ. The kingdom of God was now here in Jesus as the voice of God proclaimed. And notice the response of the three disciples: silence. They did not speak but they listened. And maybe that is the point. Do more listening to God’s voice and less talking.
God’s voice created you. God’s voice through the Pastor baptized you as a child of God. The Lord’s voice speaks to you daily with forgiveness and peace and comfort. Someday that voice will welcome you to your eternal home. Just imagine what our world would be like if we all listened to the voice of Jesus instead of all the clamoring, clanging voices that fill our heads. “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10)
Lent begins this Wednesday and we have even more opportunities to hear the voice of our Savior. He is going to speak in the garden, and before the Jewish and Roman leaders, in the Upper Room and from the cross. What He is going to say will be life-changing for you and me. And the biggest voice will thunder on Easter morning, the competition will be over, Christ is declared the winner and what joy will fill our hearts. So take time to listen. Follow the only voice that leads to life and eternal victory – “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”