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I. Title: You Can Be Sure
II. Time: Septuagessima (Transfiguration) II. Transition line to the Theme
III. Texts: III. Topics which develop the Theme (points)
OT: Ex 34: 29-35 Four Points:
Epistle: 2 Peter 1: 16-21 How close God is, though unseen
Gospel: Matt 17: 1-9 A Spiritual Body
1After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother 3. Lord of the living and the dead
of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2There he 4. Jesus must suffer and die.
was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his
clothes became as white as the light. 3Just then there appeared before
them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. IV. Transition to the closing
V. Termination of the sermon with:
4Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I The Theme re-enforced
will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for An Exhortation
A Closing Prayer
5While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a VII. Tunes
voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I
I have Three Questions to ask you this morning:
am well pleased. Listen to him!"
6When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, First, How sure are you that there a is a God?
terrified. 7But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't
Secondly, How sure are you that heaven is real?
be afraid." 8When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, Third, How sure are you that you are going to
"Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been heaven?
raised from the dead."
If I had the experience of Peter, James and John
which is described in our gospel this morning, I can
IV. Theme(s) and/or Outline: tell you that I would be very sure of the answers to
V. Truth: those three questions.
VI. Telling:
I. Theme Introduced with Story/humor
poor Fred passes on. One day soon afterward,
Frank is sitting there feeding the pigeons by
went out one morning to buy donuts. On the way, himself when he hears a voice whisper,
Grandpa turned to Kevin and asked, "Frank... Frank..."
“Which way is heaven?” Kevin pointed to the sky.
“Which way is hell?” Kevin pointed Frank responds, "Fred! Is that you?"
towards the floor of the truck. Grandpa continued,
“And where are you going?” “Dunkin’ "Yes it is, Frank," whispers Fred's spirit.
Donuts,” Kevin replied.
Frank, still amazed, asks, "So, is there baseball
in heaven?"

Baseball Heaven Joke "Well," says Fred, "I've got good news and bad
Two old guys, Fred and Frank, are sitting on a "Gimme the good news first," says Frank.
park bench feeding pigeons and talking about
baseball, like they do every day. Fred turns to Fred says, "Well... there is baseball in heaven."
Frank and says, "Do you think there's baseball
in heaven?" Frank says, "That's great! What news could be
bad enough to ruin that!?"
Frank thinks about it for a minute and replies,
"I dunno. But let's make a deal: if I die first, I'll Fred sighs and whispers, "You're pitching on
come back and tell you if there's baseball in Friday."
heaven, and if you die first, you do the same."
They shake on it and sadly, a few months later, We don’t often think about the afterlife.
Well, I might be making a false assumption, I’d Something which these apostles would never
actually be interested how many people actually forget. It wasn’t just one thing that happened, it
think about death and the afterlife. was 4 amazing things that happened.
You know, in between the work he was First, Jesus was transfigured.
doing on my teeth, I asked my agnostic dentist
Secondly, Moses and Elijah, who had died
that once, and he said, “Every day!”
many hundreds of years before, appear
Yet he’s a man who says he doesn’t believe
Third, They were covered in a bright cloud,
in God, heaven or hell.
like the cloud they had heard about.
Today’s gospel actually tells us some
And fourthly, They audibly heard the voice
important things about the afterlife.
of God the Father speak from out of the
Today is called Septuagesima Sunday cloud.
which is the Latin word for seventy, meaning
that it is approximately seventy days before
Easter. It’s also called the Feast of the The things that the apostles experienced
Transfiguration. that day were not just for them, but like
everything in the gospels and the Bible, they’re
Our gospel tells the story of Jesus going up
for us also. So our question this morning is why
Mt. Tabor with Peter, James and John to pray.
did the Holy Spirit want the gospel writers to
Mt Tabor is about seven or eight miles east of
record for us this story of the transfiguration?
Nazareth. It’s about 1800 feet high. And while
What meaning does it have for us?
he is praying there, a remarkable occurrence
takes place. We can answer that if we look at the four
amazing things that happened that day when
these three apostles went up the mountain with
Jesus. And let’s ask “What would you, what
would I, think and feel and realize if I had been You and I cannot cross that line until we
one of the apostles there with Jesus? How die, or more correctly, when our body dies. For
would it effect and change my life? the truth is, you and I never die. The essential
spiritual you and I never die. We simply pass
I would have come away full of assurance
over from our bodies into a new spiritual form.
about some things I could never know unless
God revealed them. And that’s what the disciples saw Jesus do,
For a brief moment, he returned to his
spiritual existence. His divinity broke through
his human body. St. Paul later would say, “in
Jesus dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead.”
First, they saw Jesus transfigured.
What does that mean? It means that they saw Later St Peter who was there at the
his face and body turn into a glorious, transfiguration says, “We did not follow
brightness that they could hardly even look at. cleverly invented stories when we told you
He became somewhat translucent, transparent, about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus
almost completely spiritual. It says, “His face Christ,
shown like the sun, and his garments
became white as snow”. “but we were eyewitnesses”
Now there seems to be only one meaning
this would have for the apostles, for you and (hear that?) “we were eyewitnesses”
me. For just a brief time, Jesus had crossed over of his majesty. For he received honor and
that line between earth and heaven, between glory from God the Father when the voice
the flesh and the spirit, between the tangible, came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying,
touchable and the intangible spirit. "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am
The disciples would see Jesus like this well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice
again after the resurrection. that came from heaven when we were with
him on the sacred mountain. sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual
If there is a natural body, there is also
And John, who was also there, says in his a spiritual body. So it is written: "The first
first chapter: The Word became flesh and man Adam became a living being"; the last
made his dwelling among us. We have
Adam, a life-giving spirit.
seen his glory, the glory of the One and
Only, who came from the Father, full of And just as we have borne the
grace and truth. likeness of the earthly man, so shall we
bear the likeness of the man from heaven.
The divine, glorious nature which all his life I declare to you, brothers, that flesh
Jesus kept hidden and concealed behind his and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of
earthly body suddenly became apparent and God, nor does the perishable inherit the
real. And they saw the divine, supernatural imperishable.
deity of Christ. They saw heaven open up.
“Listen”, he concludes, “ I want to tell
Later on, if I were Peter, James and John,
I would have thought, hey, I wonder if that’s you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but
what is going to happen to my body someday we will all be changed— in a flash, in the
when I cross over into eternal life? twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, the dead will
And that’s exactly what the apostles came
to realize. St Paul says;
be raised imperishable, and we will be
changed. For the perishable must clothe
So will it be with the resurrection of itself with the imperishable, and the
the dead. The body that is sown is mortal with immortality.
perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is
You and I, the real spiritual you and I well known from tradition, and who had died
never dies. That deep-down person inside, is many hundreds of years before, suddenly
going to cross over into the spiritual world and appear, and they’re having a conversation with
will receive a spiritual body one day. Jesus. And the disciples overhear what the
conversation is about. It’s about Jesus’ coming
That’s the first thing these disciples surely
death on the cross.
realized that day. That’s surely what God want’s
us to know as well. That’s one things you can What would the appearance of these two
be absolutely sure of. There is life after the OT giants of the faith talking to Jesus about his
death of our bodies. Jesus said, “He who death; - what would that say to you if you were
believes in me, even though he die, yet there?
shall he lives.”
I can think of two things it would say to
There is an end to our bodily life, but there me. It would tell me that people in heaven are
is no end to our existence. The form will recognizable. You and I - are going to see each
change, but you will remain you. other in the next life. This old choir is going to
be singing again in heaven. Without our aches
On one church markee, like the one we
and pains and arthritis and lumbago. And you
have out front, it said, WHERE WILL YOU BE
thought you wouldn’t have to listen to the choir
We’re going to see relatives -parents,
brothers, sisters, friends, children. Oh, and how
The disciples were still speechless, when sad it will be if people we know and love now,
the Second amazing thing happens. The are not there. How important it is to pray for
disciples suddenly see Moses and Elijah visiting those who have no faith or lost their faith. How
with Jesus. important it is to speak to those who do not
have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Moses and Elijah, who’s appearance was
Seeing Moses and Elijah also tells me that cloud, to lead them the way; and by night
they were there to support and encourage in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go
Jesus. He was just about to be arrested and by day and night:
beaten and whipped and crucified. They were
“ And the LORD said to Moses, Lo, I
there to tell him “Thank you”, Thank you Lord
come to thee in a thick cloud, that the
Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all the laws
people may hear when I speak with thee,
which Moses transmitted to us from the Father.
but not see.
He is the fulfillment of all the prophecies which
are represented by Elijah’s presence. And it came to pass on the third day
in the morning, that there were thunders
Peter is so enraptured by what he sees
and lightnings, and a thick cloud on
that he wants to stay. Just like people who have
mount Sinai, and the voice of the
had near death experiences often say, they don’t
trumpet exceedingly loud; so that all the
want to come back to life.
people that were in the camp trembled.
So he stumbles and fumbles and tells
The Bible says that no one can see God the
Jesus that they will build some tents for him
Father and live. No mortal eyes can see Him.
and Elijah and Moses.
He is a consuming fire. He is love, He is Spirit.
He is glorious light. It would be like looking
And now the third amazing thing into a nuclear blast.
takes place while the disciples hearts are
And for thirty three years Jesus was
pounding. They have to shield their eyes,
deprived of beholding the Father, but now, for
because a glorious cloud of light envelopes
just a moment of time, as he is preparing for his
them completely.
ultimate sacrifice, he is given a vision of his
They surely must have remembered what Father.
it said in the book of Exodus: And the LORD
went before them by day in a pillar of a
The disciples don’t see what Jesus sees, heavens:
but they hear what he hears. They were meant >> "Funny you should ask," said the voice. "I, too,
to hear it. sent my son to
>> A Jewish businessman in Chicago sent his son to Israel >> Israel..."
for a year to >>
>> absorb the culture. When the son returned, he said, "Papa, I
had a great This is the fourth amazing thing that happens:
>> time in Israel. By the way, I converted to Christianity."
>> "Oy vey," said the father. "What have I done?" "This is my Son, whom I love; I am
>> He took his problem to his best friend. "Ike," he
very pleased with him. Listen to him!"
said, "I sent my son to The words are addressed to the disciples.
>> Israel, and he came home a Christian. What What would you think? What would you feel?
can I do?" "Funny you should What would you do, if you were there and heard
>> ask," said Ike. "I too, sent my son to Israel, and the Voice--the very Voice of God the Father
he also came home a speaking to you from heaven.
>> Christian." Perhaps we should go see the rabbi. "This is my Son, whom I love; I am
So they did, and they very pleased with him.”
>> explained their problem to the rabbi.
>> "Funny you should ask," said the rabbi... "I, too,
Listen again:
sent my son to Israel, “You are my son, You are my
>> and he also came home a Christian. What is daughter, You are my child..................
happening to our young
I am very pleased with you.................”
>> people?"
>> And so they all prayed, telling the Lord about That’s the fourth thing you can be
their sons. As they very sure of. You and I have a Father God
>> finished their prayer, a voice came from the who loves us. He loves us so much that He will
do whatever He must to fit us, get us ready for
our eternal life with Him. Four amazing things we can be sure of in
the afterlife if we are born-anes Christians:
He is working every day of our lives to
make us increasingly pleasing to Him. That’s We’re going to see Jesus, because we too will
the work of His Holy Spirit in us. have spiritual bodies.
You say you can’t be sure of God the We’re going to see people we know and love
Father’s work in your life. and forgot about and haven’t seen for
many years.
A little boy was flying a kite. The kite was
so high that it had disappeared into the clouds. We don;t know how, but the cloud that was
A man came by and asked, "What are you always hiding God will be removed, and
doing, son, holding on to that string?" The boy we will have a vision oif God the Father.
answered, "I've got a kite up there." The man We will see and understand all the things
looked up and said, "I don't see it." The boy and times He protected, provided and
replied, "Well, I know it's there because I can oreserved us in this life
feel the tug."
We too will hear His voice saying, “You are
That’s how we know we have a heavenly
my child, with you I am well pleased.”
Father. We feel His tug, His nudge, His urging,
His loving warning, His loving discipline, His
comfort, His care, His providence, His Let’s Pray

When the disciples heard the Voice, they Father, we thank you for showing us the
fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus Transfiguration of Jesus. We know that you
came and touched them. "Get up," he said. wanted us to understand some things about the
"Don't be afraid." When they looked up, they future life. Thank you for the hope and desire
saw no one except Jesus. you planted in every person’s heart who is here
this morning to know You. Thank you that you
have prepared a place, a mansion, for us in
heaven. In Jesus Name AMEN