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Hear Ye Christ

St. Matthew 17.1-9 KJV


Transfiguration, series A
Lutheran Senior Services at Meramec Bluffs  
Ballwin, Missouri

Sun, Mar 6, 2011 

Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 We live in a world filled with countless voices.  We have televisions and radios, computers and cell phones that connect us to voices that demand to be heard.  Our friends and family expect our attention when they have something to say.  And our own thoughts, too, make demands on our ears.  Truly, the sound of all these voices requesting our attention rises to the level of a deafening roar.  There is almost no place in our world where things are quiet.  While all these voices clamor for our attention, God calls us to listen to one voice above all the rest.  As Jesus is transfigured before Sts. Peter, James, and John, God the Father says:

[St. Matthew 17.5b]

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

2 This is the great meaning of the Transfiguration.  Jesus is the one to whom we owe our utmost attention and devotion.  His word alone is the word of God.  His word alone is the word of everlasting life.  He himself is the Word of God who has taken on our human flesh.  So God the Father says, "Hear ye him."

3 Jesus' word is God's word of the divine Law: the word Moses heard upon the mountain, and the word he faithfully shared with God's people.  Jesus' word is the word heard by all the prophets: the word Elijah heard as he spoke with the living God.  Thus Moses and Elijah both appear with Christ on the mountain at the moment of his glory.  Through Christ, God spoke the Law to Moses, the great receiver of the divine Law.  Through Christ, God spoke his word to Elijah, the greatest of the prophets.  But up on the mountain, Moses is not transfigured.  Up on the mountain, Elijah is not transfigured.  Only Jesus is.  Because Jesus alone is the Son of God and the Word of God made flesh.  Jesus alone is the embodiment of God's glory.  Jesus alone is the focus of Moses' words and message.  And Jesus alone is the fulfillment of the prophecies of Elijah and all the prophets.  So today, God the Father reveals Christ to us in all his glory and says, "Hear ye him."

4 If we listen only to all the other voices of the world, we won't hear Jesus.  The talking heads on our tvs and radios and computers speak of politics and papparazzi, pop culture—but they do not speak the words of Christ.  Our family and friends, indeed have good things to say—but they do not always speak the words of Christ.  Even our own thoughts, because we are fallen from godly perfection often do not speak the words of Christ.  We are surrounded by all these voices, and certainly some of them demand our attention, but we dare not listen only to them.  If we do that we will certainly fall into sin.  And if we allow these other voices to drown out the voice of Christ we fail to heed the command of God our Father.  If we do not hear Christ's words, we miss not only his message, but also his glory.  If we do not listen to Christ we will never hear the words of our salvation and everlasting life. 

5 Christ, and no other, says:

[St. John 11.25b-26a]

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

Christ, and no other says:

[St. Luke 23.34b]

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Christ, and no other says:

[St. John 1.51b]

Verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter, ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

By the Transfiguration of our Lord, God calls us away from all the voices of the world, and calls on us instead, to hear all the words of our Lord.  For Christ's words are truly words of forgiveness.  Christ's words are truly words of life.  Christ's words are truly words of salvation for all who hear him.  Thus, when Christ asked the twelve if they would forsake him and follow those who no longer walked with him, St. Peter says:

[St. John 6.68]

Lord, to whom shall we go?  thou hast the words of eternal life.

6 Listening to Christ is our chief calling as Christians.  God reveals that we are not called to build spiritual or physical tabernacles for the prophets and the apostles as we live in the midst of a noisy world.  St. Peter's idea to build tents for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus indeed seemed good to him, but God said, "No!  Hear ye Christ." 

7 Neither are we called to live in paralyzing fear—of all the other voices we hear, nor of God.  At the voice of God, Peter, James, and John

[St. Matthew 17.6b-7]

fell on their face, and were sore afraid.  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

Instead of building tabernacles to protect us from the voices of the world, or crouching in fear of God or any other voice, God calls us to be listeners.  God calls us to hear Christ.  He says, "Hear ye him."

8 By the Holy Spirit we hear our Lord.  We hear Christ when we read our Bibles, for he speaks to us from every page.  We hear Christ when we listen for answers to our prayers, for he responds to them all.  We hear Christ in worship as the Scriptures are read and preached.  We hear Christ as we sing and contemplate the great hymns of the faith.  In all these ways, we heed God our Father's word, and we hear the word of Christ.  And by such hearing, our faith is strengthened, for as St. Paul says:

[Romans 10.17]

. . . faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

9 As we celebrate and contemplate Christ's transfiguration, by his grace, God opens our ears so that we do indeed hear Christ.  When we hear Christ, we hear our forgiveness and restoration before God.  When we hear Christ, we grow in our faith.  And when we hear Christ, we hear the greatest promise ever spoken to all mankind: we hear that we are promised a share in the glory he revealed on upon the mountain—the glory of heaven and the glory of everlasting life.  God grant that we faithfully hear Christ's word, today and always.  Amen.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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