February 23, 2020

Last Sunday in Epiphany

Listen. Epiphany is the season where we learn stories that show us who Jesus is. No other event, except for Jesus’ death and resurrection, tells us more about his identity than the Transfiguration (Jesus’ big change). Here in Matthew 17:1-9 God pulls back the veil and we see a glimpse of Jesus’ glory. As you read this passage, a light, two visitors, a cloud and a voice will all point us to Jesus. It is for us to listen, respond and share what we hear.

Read Matthew 17:1-2. Jesus, like Moses, goes up on a mountain where they both experienced a transformation. Moses is allowed to see the glory of God and on his return, the reflection of God’s glory is so bright in his face, the people beg him to wear a veil. How is Jesus like Moses? How is Jesus greater than Moses? (Moses’ light is a reflection. Think about where Jesus’ light comes from.) Who is Jesus if he is the source of the light?

Read Matthew 17:3. Moses and Elijah are two of Israel’s greatest heroes. Moses is the great lawgiver. Elijah is its greatest prophet. They have not walked the earth for centuries. What does it say about Jesus that they have returned to talk to Jesus? 

Read Matthew 17:4-5. How many bright clouds have you ever seen? Who is present in this cloud? What does the voice from the cloud have to say about Jesus? (One prophecy you might want keep in mind was given by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15: “The Lord will raise up a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.”

Read Matthew 17:6. How do Peter, James and John react to Jesus’ transformation? What does it say about Jesus that his first act after the vision passes is to touch his disciples and calm their fears?

Respond. This vision was kept secret until after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Peter, James and John passed on what they had seen and now this vision has come to us. If this is a true picture of Jesus and God’s voice truly spoke from the cloud, what will you do with Jesus? How will you respond? Think through these prompts. Be personal and specific in your responses, keeping in mind that not all will apply to you:

  • How does this vision move you worship Jesus?
  • How will you obey the words that God the Father spoke from the cloud: “Listen to him!”? What will you do? What will you stop doing? 
  • How is the Holy Spirit prompting you to repent and ask God for forgiveness? 
  • How are you being challenged to trust God with a particular area of your life? 
  • How will you pray differently?

Share. The only reason we know this story about Jesus is because Peter, James and John shared it after Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus’ identity is not to be kept secret, it is to shared with others so that the whole world will know. With whom will share what you have just learned about Jesus? Make a plan to share it with them.

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