Printable PDF: 2-14-2021 Transfiguration Sermon
Pastor Mark R. Jacobson ~ Transfiguration Sermon ~ February 14, 2021
12Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16But whenever anyone 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. 18And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 1Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. – 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
When Your Christianity Is Not Appreciated
“She loves me.” “She loves me not.” “She loves me!” “She loves me not!” “She loves me.” “She loves me not.” This is a stressful game, but it’s the story of Valentine’s Day. Does she love you? Or does she love you not?
- The passing glory of the Old Covenant will fail you like it failed Moses.
The Apostle Paul started the church in Corinth on his second missionary journey. And Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half teaching them the Word of God. And she loved him. The Corinthians loved Paul. And that church should love Paul. Paul brought them the gospel message of Jesus. Then the Corinthians loved Paul not. See as Paul traveled to other cities and brought them the gospel, the Corinthians became more interested in who was talking rather than what they were saying. Critics of Paul were quoted as saying, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing” (2 Corinthians 10:10). Other teachers came in and taught a different gospel which is really no gospel at all and many of the Corinthians loved them and they loved Paul not. It was like they had a veil over their eyes to keep them from appreciating the truth of God’s Word.
Paul speaks of that veil in our lesson, “We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.”
The Old Covenant is the law. The Old Covenant includes the Ten Commandments and the many other ceremonial and civil laws. These rules and regulations were the holy standards the Lord God called his holy people of the Old Testament times to obey. There is certainly glory in the Old Covenant. You could see that glory all over the face of Moses. You can see that glory in your lives as well. Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy, and your pastors will love you. Honor your father and mother, and your parents will love you. Do not murder, have some compassion, and your brothers and sisters will love you. Do not commit adultery, respect the principles of marriage, and your spouse will love you. Do not steal, be diligent in your studies, work hard on the job, and your community will love you. Do not gossip, speak the truth in love, and your neighbors will love you. Most of the time, that’s how it is with Christianity. Do unto others and they will do unto you, but that doesn’t happen all the time. What happens when your Christianity is not appreciated? What happens when you do everything you are supposed to do for the people in your life, and they love you not? Do you love them with the same Christ-like love as you had before? Do you serve them with the same Christian service as last time?
There is glory in the Old Covenant, but the glory of the Old Covenant passes away because of sin. Moses hadn’t even come down from Mount Sinai, and God’s holy people had their glory pass away by worshipping a golden calf. Moses and Elijah had their glory pass away, too. Remember the glory of Moses and Elijah? Moses successfully led Israel through the Red Sea. Elijah successfully defeated the 400 false prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. And yet, when their Christianity was not appreciated their glory passed away. In anger Moses struck a rock with his staff and brought out water for the Israelites. The Lord God had instructed Moses to speak to the rock and bring out water. And because of that one angry outburst, Moses did not enter into the Promised Land of Canaan. In despair Elijah abandoned his prophet post. After the dramatic events of Mount Carmel, King Ahab and the Israelites did not repent of their sins as Elijah hoped. Not only did Elijah need the Lord God to pick him up and set him back on his prophet post, if the Lord hadn’t arranged a heavenly uber ride, Elijah would have never made it to heaven on his own.
I suppose I could tell you that you shouldn’t fall into sin and that you shouldn’t get angry or fall into despair when your Christianity is not appreciated, but that’s kind of like telling a kid not to walk on the carpet with muddy shoes when the kid has already walked on the carpet with muddy shoes. It’s too late. We’ve sinned. Even the best among us like Moses and Elijah, have gotten angry or have fallen into despair when the people in our lives have loved our Christianity not. To ignore this truth is to live with a veil over our eyes. The glory of the Old Covenant has passed away. We need a new covenant.
- The ever-increasing glory of Jesus will transform you like it transformed Paul.
The Apostle Paul continues his teaching with the new covenant of Jesus. Paul explains, “Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Do you see the ever-increasing glory of Jesus? How did his glory increase? Jesus had already kept the Ten Commandments as a little boy. Where children have stumbled and fallen, Jesus stood tall in the truth of God’s Law. But now, starting Wednesday, something more is about to take place. Do you see it? Do you understand why we have a cross at the center of our church and not two tablets of stone? The ever-increasing glory of Jesus was his willingness to suffer and die for our sins, including the sins of anger and despair when our Christianity is not appreciated.
Christ has won this forgiveness for us by not getting angry or falling into despair when he was not appreciated. The Bible says, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” And yet from the cross Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” In love Jesus brought 12 individuals into his inner, most trusted circle. One of those 12 betrayed him, another denied him, and the other ten deserted him when he needed them the most. And yet Jesus called the betrayer a friend. Jesus made breakfast for Peter and sent him off as his Pentecost Preacher. In the same way he reunited with all his Apostles. How could Jesus love when his Christianity wasn’t appreciated? How did our Savior have the strength and the stamina to serve when his Christianity was not appreciated?
The Mount of Transfiguration. On the Mount of Transfiguration the Father said for our benefit, “This is my Son, whom I love.” And God the Father never flipped. He loved Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, and he loved him on Mount Calvary, too. In the same way Jesus loved the Father on the Mount of Glory, and Jesus loved the Father on Mount Calvary, too.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. How could the Apostle Paul make at least three visits and write at least 3 letters to the Christians in Corinth without getting angry like Moses or falling into despair like Elijah? How could Paul teach the same gospel to the same people when it had seemed the gospel wasn’t working like it should? How could Paul be so bold? How could Paul not lose heart? How can you be like Paul? How can you love and serve the people in your life when your Christianity is not appreciated? How can you attain that ever-increasing glory?
It’s easy, and it’s difficult. Listen to him! Listen to him! He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you! Amen.