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Extraordinary Glory



Extraordinary Glory

Joshua J. Masters |

One of the most extraordinary events in Scripture is the revealing of Christ’s glory at the transfiguration. In a world filled with vain and empty striving, Christ’s glory not only humbles us but promises the power to transform us.






extraORDINARY
Extraordinary Glory • Message 9
Joshua J. Masters
August 21, 2022

A. INTRODUCTION

Good morning, Brookwood.

Today we continue our series called, extraORDINARY.

Throughout the summer, we’ve been exploring some of the interactions the disciples had with Christ and what those encounters teach us about ordinary people stepping into extraordinary moments with Jesus.

We’ve seen a lot of incredible miracles as we’ve walked through this series.

But next to the resurrection itself, today’s passage may be the most extraordinary moment in the New Testament.

It’s a moment called The Transfiguration.

And it’s when Christ—just for a moment—removed the veil and allowed three of the disciples to see Him in His true glory.

Now, glory is a difficult word for us to grab hold of because so few of us have ever witnessed true glory.

As human beings, we equate glory with achievements and power—something you attain.

We use it to describe championship athletes or people who are successful in business.

For much of human history, victory in battle has been called glory…

But none of that is true glory.

Glory is not an achievement you can reach but a state-of-being found only in the majesty and nature of God.

The Hebrew word for glory is tied closely with beauty, honor, distinction, and royalty.

We only chase after a false, counterfeit glory in our lives because we feel disconnected from the perfect glory of God.

And when we try to manufacture our own glory, we fall short—and then we feel even more disconnected from God.

Yet we’re designed to seek HIS glory—and even share in His glory.

Look at the theme verse at the top of your outline:

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.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)

Look at those words closely.

We are being transformed by His glory to share in His glory.

This world is filled with vain, empty striving as we all try to find significance.

But Christ’s glory not only humbles us. It promises the power to transform us.

A. To be transformed, we must experience Christ’s GLORY.

So, do we want to encounter His glory or continually seek our own?

>> We’ll be in Matthew 17, so you can go ahead and turn or swipe there in your Bibles (pg. 787).

And as you do that, let me set the scene.

Jesus has just explained to the disciples that He must go to Jerusalem where He’ll suffer, be killed, and then be raised from the dead after three days.

The disciples protest but then Jesus says this at the end of Chapter 16:

“For the Son of Man will come with His angels in the glory of His Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.”
Matthew 16:27–28 (NLT)

Now, some people take this verse out of context and say, “If the Bible is true, then what about this verse? All those people are dead, and Jesus still hasn’t come back yet.”

But remember, there were no chapter breaks when this was written, so this promise is tied to the next paragraph.

Chapter 17. Verse 1:

Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone.
Matthew 17:1 (NLT)

Without the chapter break, the statement “Six days later…” ties what is about to happen to the promise that some of these men would see Jesus coming into His Kingdom before they die.

So, Jesus brings Peter, James, and John up to a mountain top—specifically so they can be alone.

And then this happens. Verse 2:

As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed [Some translations say transfigured] so that His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as light.
Matthew 17:2 (NLT)

We’ve talked about some incredible things in this series—miracles that set Jesus apart from ordinary men.

But until now, Jesus still looked like an ordinary man to them. Now, He’s revealing His true self.

And make no mistake.

This is a conquering, glory-filled Messiah they’re seeing.

The language used here parallels the description of Jesus found in the book of Revelation.

The terrifying beauty of Christ’s glory is the source of all justice and light.

It’s hard to imagine how Peter, James, and John would deal with seeing that but before they can even wrap their brains around it, something else extraordinary happens.

Verse 3:

Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.
Matthew 17:3 (NLT)

And in Luke’s account, we learn exactly what they were talking about:

…And they were speaking about His exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem.
Luke 9:31 (NLT)

Jesus, Moses, and Elijah are discussing the plan of salvation—Christ’s exodus from this world.

Do you think it’s coincidence they used the word exodus?

No, Moses led God’s people in an exodus out of Egypt, and now Jesus is about to lead His children in an exodus out of death itself.

When Moses came down from being with God on Mount Saini, His face was transfigured.

Moses had to wear a veil because the glory of God was reflected off his face—

And now Christ is transfigured, but His light is not a reflection. It’s the source of all light.

Moses only reflected the brilliance of glory the disciples now see in Jesus.

How did the disciples know it was Moses and Elijah? It doesn’t tell us.

But the two most revered men in Jewish Scriptures are now standing before them with the glorified Messiah.

And to them, there would be no doubt.

The presence of a glorified Christ, along with Moses and Elijah would signify that God’s Kingdom had come.

All the requirements for the Messiah to appear in victory had been met.

And the very first response they have is to worship.

B. Experiencing Christ’s glory…

1. Requires WORSHIP.

We are transformed when we enter a true place of worship and encounter Christ’s glory.

Verse 4:

Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If You want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy. Listen to Him.” The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground.
Matthew 17:4–6 (NLT)

When you are exposed to the glory of Christ, it will require worship.

But even more than that, it will demand and compel you to worship.

There are two types of worship we see in these verses:

--Service and

--Surrender

There’s also a third type of worship we’ll talk about in a minute.

But first, Peter offers an act of service.

He wants to build shelters for Jesus, Elijah, and Moses.

Luke adds that Peter said this without even thinking—he just had to do something.

And the word Peter actually uses is “tabernacles” not shelters.

That’s important because this is an act of worship.

Now, if Peter had fully understood what was happening, he would have only offered an act of worship toward Christ—

And ultimately, Jesus does not want Peter to build a tabernacle—primarily because Christ’s earthly reign had not yet come.

But when you see the glory of Christ in your life, you should be compelled to worship through acts of service.

It’s a voluntary but automatic response to the power and love of Christ.

But there’s also an involuntary act of worship—a worship of surrender and reverence.

That’s what we see when the disciples hear the voice of the Father.

The Father says, “This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy.”

>> Where else did the Father speak from Heaven with these same words?

--At Christ’s baptism.

But this time the Father adds a line. He says, “Listen to Him.”

You know where that comes from?

The prophesy Moses spoke about the coming Messiah in Deuteronomy 18 (listed in your outline).

Every moment of this encounter is proof to the disciples that everything written in the Jewish Scriptures are true and being fulfilled before their eyes.

And what do they do when they hear the Father’s voice?

They fall on their faces in terror—an involuntary response to the authority and holiness of God.

Listen, this is not a very popular thing to say in the Western Church:

But if we never worship God with fear and reverence, we haven’t experienced His glory and we will not fully experience His power.

Yes, God is a God of love—but He’s also holy and terrifying.

When Lucy learns about Aslan, the lion who represents Jesus, in the Chronicles of Narnia, she asks:

“Is he safe?”

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But He’s good. He’s the King...”

And Jesus, who is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, is not a tame lion for us to lead around in the circus of our lives .

He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Every person confronted by God’s holiness in Scripture is driven to their knees and tries to hide because of their sin.

How have we lost that type of worship in the modern church?

It’s because we stopped seeking His glory and only want His grace.

Have you ever felt prompted to do something by the Holy Spirit, and when you resist surrendering to that, it creates this uncomfortable feeling in your chest or body?

That’s the tiniest glimmer of that fear and reverence… that comes from a lack of surrender to the Spirit’s still, small voice.

But how would be changed if we were willing to seek the full voice of God, surrendering in worship?

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There’s also a third type of worship Christ’s glory brings that we don’t see here but is coming for these three men.

And that’s sacrifice.

J.C. talked about choosing extravagant, sacrificial worship a couple weeks ago with the woman who anointed Jesus.

For her, it was the sacrifice of a family heirloom and the surrender of wealth.

For these men, it will be the sacrifice of imprisonment and death—something they could only embrace or endure if they had experienced the glory of Christ and the strength of the Holy Spirit.

Remember, as Jesus reveals His glory here, what’s He talking to Elijah and Moses about?

--His coming sacrifice—the ultimate sacrifice to bring salvation.

Part of our worship is participating in Christ’s suffering through sacrifice.

…rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may also rejoice with great joy when His glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:13 (CSB)

So, in some form, we will experience all three types of worship when we’re exposed to Christ’s glory.

This is not in your outline, but write this down:

Christ’s glory compels us to worship through:

  • Service (in love)
  • Surrender (in fear and reverence)
  • Sacrifice (in His power)

That’s a little intimidating, isn’t it?

But here’s the thing:

God prepares you as He leads you.

Go to Him in prayer and say, “I do not know how to do this, I’m a little afraid to experience Your glory, but give me a glimpse of what You’re preparing me for.”

Ask, “How do You want me to serve? Reveal Yourself to me so I feel compelled to where You call me.”

“What do You want me to sacrifice? Reveal Yourself to me so I desire You more than what I’m giving up.”

Maybe the first sacrifice is time or entertainment so you can enter a time of Sabbath with God like we talked about a few weeks ago.

Yeah… the sacrifice question is rough.

How about something easier?

How about taking the step to come early to church on Sunday to prepare your heart for worship.

Rather than coming in on the second or third song, come early to prayer time at 8:15 am and fully engage in our worship time together.

Ask God to reveal Himself as we worship and open our hearts to what He wants to say to us in the message.

God is inviting you into His presence—into an intimate relationship with Him.

Christ’s glory compels us to worship but coming into worship intentionally invites His glory into our lives.

Worship is the first step.

And we’ve already started talking about the second thing Christ’s glory does.

Experiencing Christ’s glory…

2. Reveals God’s NATURE.

The reason we’re compelled to worship when we experience Christ’s glory is because it reveals His nature.

In this series, we’ve explored how Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are one God—completely connected, with one will and complete sovereignty.

So, when we see a glimpse of Christ’s glory, we are confronted with the true and complete nature of God Himself.

Look at verse 5 again:

…a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy. Listen to Him.” The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground. Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” He said. “Don’t be afraid.” And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus.
Matthew 17:5b–8 (NLT)

The Father and Christ are one.

So, don’t miss this: The very God who terrifies them is the same God who approaches and comforts them.

The holiness of God brings fear, but the grace of God brings redemption.

Jesus is the healing balm that binds a holy, perfect, terrifying God with an unholy, broken, fearful person.

So, yes. Christ’s glory should frighten us.

--The holiness of God will drive us to our knees and convict us of our sins.

But the full nature of God is also comforting.

Once we’re convicted, He says, “Don’t be afraid. Stand up and let Me walk with you. I’m here with you.”

Christ’s glory reveals the identity, authority, and heart of the full triune God—The Father, Son, AND Holy Spirit.

--Justice with Compassion.

--Holiness with Grace.

Jesus came on a rescue mission so we could have restoration and intimacy with God—both now and in eternity.

And how did He do that?

By laying down His glory for a short time to live a perfect human life and to be sacrificed on our behalf.

Look at this song in Philippians:

Though [Jesus] was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:6–11 (NLT)

By veiling His glory, Christ was elevated to the highest honor.

Do you understand the significance of that?

--All of creation was formed through Christ.

--He is the Word of God itself.

--He was worshipped and adored in the heavenly realm.

But He laid that glory down to bring you hope and bring greater glory to the Father.

I love the way R.C. Sproul put it:

“That the glory of Christ shone forth at the transfiguration should not surprise us. The surprise is that He willingly veiled His glory for the sake of His children.”

– R. C. Sproul

When we’re exposed to the nature of God in His glory, we’re transformed because His holiness convicts us and His grace restores us.

Listen.

Some of us in this room (some of you watching in our Online Campus) are afraid to encounter God’s glory because you can only see the coming judgement.

But shame is not a tool of God, it’s a lie of the enemy preventing you from pursuing a healing relationship with Christ.

When God convicts you of your sin, it’s not followed by condemnation.

It’s followed by a gentle Messiah who touches you and says, “Get up. Don’t be afraid.”

The question is, will you walk with Him back down the mountain?

Will you trust His promises and His plan?

That’s the last fill-in on your outline.

Experiencing Christ’s glory…

3. Reaffirms His PROMISES and PLAN.

The lies we believe from the enemy, or the world, or our past will try to drag us away from the hope of Christ’s nature.

So, to be transformed we must seek His glory.

Because the revelation of His glory is an assurance and affirmation of His unfailing promises and plan.

We continue in verse 9:

As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Matthew 17:9 (NLT)

Why do you think that is?

The most likely reason is that if word got out about the glory and power of Jesus as the Messiah, the people would have overthrown the religious leaders and made Jesus king.

But it wasn’t time for Christ to wear that crown—one day He will, but first He would surrender to the crown of thorns.

He will sit on the throne of David but not yet.

His glory works all things together for good through His perfect timing.

Verse 10:

Then his disciples asked Him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes?” Jesus replied, “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, but he wasn’t recognized, and they chose to abuse him. And in the same way they will also make the Son of Man suffer.” Then the disciples realized He was talking about John the Baptist.
Matthew 17:10–13 (NLT)

The Book of Malachi prophesized that Elijah would return and prepare the way for the Messiah.

And yes, the idea of John the Baptist fulfilling the role of Elijah is a little confusing—but Luke explains that John came in the spirit and power of Elijah.

There’s a lot of parallels between their ministries and lives.

But look closely at Jesus’ words here.

He says Elijah is indeed coming (future tense) and has already come (past tense).

So, it seems there’s a partial fulfillment of the prophesy through John and a greater fulfillment through Elijah yet to come.

--Especially since the prophesy in Malachi says Elijah will preach, “Before the great and dreadful day of the LORD.”

That hasn’t happened yet.

That describes the Second Coming of Christ.

We could spend a month exploring that prophesy, but the appearance of Elijah at the transfiguration and the role of John the Baptist in Christ’s first appearance confirms all the promises of the Old Testament.

--The timing of God is reliable.

--The Word of God is reliable.

--The promise of His return is reliable.

--And His promise to us is reliable.

The revelation of Christ’s glory confirmed that everything He’d promised Israel could be trusted—and so, we too can trust His promises to us, even if we don’t know all the details.

Look what John wrote, having experience this transfiguration:

Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is.
1 John 3:2 (NLT)

We will be made to be like Him, sharing in His glory.

Jesus said to the Father:
“I have given them the glory You gave Me, so they may be one as We are one.”
John 17:22 (NLT)

We share in the same glory He showed Peter, James, and John in this passage.

In fact, the Greek word Matthew uses to describe the transfiguration is metamorphoō (meta-morph-oh).

It only appears 4 times in the New Testament.

--Twice to describe Christ’s Transfiguration.

--And twice to describe ours.

The same word used to describe Christ’s glory in the transfiguration is the word in our theme verse at the top of your outline, we “are being transformed (transfigured) into His image with ever-increasing glory.”

It’s also the word used in Romans 12:2:

“Be transformed (transfigured) by the renewal of your mind.”

The glory of Jesus Christ is what allows our transformation into His image and His glory.

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But there’s something else I’ve always loved about this passage that very little attention is ever drawn to.

Before this encounter, when was the last time we saw Moses in the Bible?

It was the end of Deuteronomy when God showed Moses the Promised Land but did not allow him to lead the Israelites in because of his sin.

Moses failed.

And he traveled forty-years only to see the Promised Land from a distance but die in Moab.

I always found that so sad.

But where is Moses standing in this passage?

On a mountain top with His promised Messiah in the Promised Land.

He made it.

Jesus brought him there.

Listen very carefully.

Christ’s grace and mercy is greater than your failures.

Moses’ story didn’t end with his failure.

It ended with Christ’s victory.

And you can be on the mountain top too.

Let’s pray.

But if you need encouragement or want someone to pray with you today, we’ll have pastors and care volunteers down front or in the Care Connection room after the service.

If you’re in our Online Campus, click the button in your chat window and someone connect with you.

“Get up and don’t be afraid.”

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