Feb23

It's Good to be Here

Categories // Sermons

Transfiguration of Our Lord

It's Good to be Here

            Grace, Mercy and Peace to you from God our Father and His only Son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

        Some days of the week are harder to deal with than others. For most people it’s Monday morning. After the weekend we drag ourselves out of bed and plod into work. For others it may be a certain time of the year that makes our jobs less fun. If a person works outside, winter weather may be a reason he or she does not want to be at their job.

        On more than one occasion I can remember lying in bed thinking I would much rather stay under the warm covers than to go to work or school and deal with other Monday morning people who don’t want to be there; or even worse, having to deal with Monday morning people who are too happy to be real.

        I can’t think of any job or school I have ever had where I didn’t have at least one day when I didn’t want to be there; but today is not one of those days! It is good to be here.

        Many people struggle all their lives and never find happiness or peace. Some people settle for what they have or give in to despair or become complacent. Others obtain what they think is happiness only to find emptiness. Very few come to the realization that our happiness, our hope and peace in this world do not come from what we do for ourselves.

        Our destiny is not our own. Yes we have freedom of the will on this earth to pursue this or that, but ultimately, the outcome of our existence is by the grace of God alone. This is not to say that our lives are useless but that they are fleeting. They are like the grass that is here today and burned in the fire tomorrow. Therefore, we are to look to God to give us hope and peace in our lives.

        Unfortunately, we do not have the benefit that Moses had to be in God’s presence. We were not on the mountain when Peter, James and John witnessed the glory of our Father in heaven made known in His Son Jesus Christ. We instead must do as God commanded Peter, James and John, and that is to listen to His beloved Son.

        This is how we are to listen to Him. We hear the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures. In His word we read about God and his people. We even hear the words spoken by Christ himself. As we read and hear the Word, God’s power, wisdom and even heaven itself is revealed through Jesus Christ. Through the Word we are given the promise of life over death. This is a good day and it is good to be here!

        In the past, the people of God were given the covenant of blood through which God’s people could be declared righteous in His sight. But the people turned away from God’s promise to pursue their own earthly desires.

        Next came the time of the prophets. Prophets such as Isaiah, Ezekiel and Elijah, spoke to the people through the power of the Holy Spirit. They were God’s messengers warning his people of his judgment if they did not repent and follow his commands. They also brought the message of a new hope, in the promise of a Savior, our Lord, Jesus Christ.

        Finally, 700 years after God freed his people from Egypt and gave them his statutes and commands through Moses, the promised Savior became incarnate on this earth. Jesus Christ was born a human being like us in order to fulfill the Law of our Father in heaven perfectly.

        Why was this necessary? Because God does not break his promises. His promise of death to all who sin against His holy command can not be rescinded. Yet time and time again, we showed God that we cannot fulfill his commands and thus are destined to eternal condemnation.

        Therefore God made a new covenant of blood with his people. This new covenant was not through the sacrifice of animals nor was it written in lifeless stone. This new covenant was a living promise in the incarnation of His only Son, Jesus Christ.

        We celebrate the revelation of God’s wisdom, power and love in the form of the living Word of this new covenant which is the Christ. With all the authority of his Father in heaven, Jesus Christ, truly God and truly man, took upon his shoulders the weight of the sin of the world. He bore that weight to the cross where he was crucified unto death. I wonder if Jesus woke up that day and thought, ‘I don’t want to go to work today. I don’t want to be here.’

        The blood shed by Christ became the blood of the new covenant between God and his people. But the new covenant did not end with the death of our Savior. If Jesus had merely died as a righteous man we would have only had an example of the fulfillment of the Law. Instead, Jesus Christ took the covenant to new heights. He not only paid the price of our sin and redeemed us from evil; he also raised himself up again in victory over death and the grave.

        Today is a good day. The work has been done. Our salvation is secure. This is not a promise of death without hope, but a promise of life eternal. It is good to be here. For now our struggle in this life is not in despair, it is not empty and it is not without peace. All we must do to obtain life in our Father’s kingdom is to listen to Him.

        He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Listen to Jesus Christ. Follow him to the glory of our Father in heaven. Hear the word of God – as Jesus said; “…blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” [Luke 11:28] And,

“…blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.[Matt 13:16-17]

        It is good to be here. We no longer are condemned by the Law to death. We live under the new covenant in the blood of the Lamb. We do not have to wait for the promised Savior for he has already come. We now have the opportunity to tell others who have not heard for many long to hear it and do not.

        Peter, James and John were witnesses to the glory of God in Jesus Christ. We are now witnesses to the glory of God through the Word. The saving grace of God is not to be kept hidden. As Christ tells us

“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. [Matt 10:27-28]

Those who hear the word of God and do it are brothers and sisters in Christ. Those who hear you hear Christ, and those who hear Christ, hear the one who sent him.

        Jesus told his disciples not to tell anyone of his glory until after he had risen from death. One can well imagine how difficult that must have been for them. To be eye witnesses to the display of Christ’s divinity, to have seen the very proof of his Godhood and not tell anyone seems a great feat of self discipline. Yet even more difficult to believe is that we have been told by our Lord and Savior to tell everyone about him and we remain silent.

        We all have great fears and great excuses. We fear those who hate us. We hate those who oppose us in what we think is right. We create more enemies than brothers and sisters.

“But I say to you who hear: [Jesus says] Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” [Luke 6:27-28]

Have faith. In the words of John, a witness to Christ’s glorious change:

“You are of God and have already overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore, they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us.” [1 John 4:4-6a]

        To listen to God does not mean that we will no longer have any troubles in our lives. In some cases, we may find ourselves enduring even greater struggles. It is in these difficulties when listening to Christ as he speaks to us through his Word that we will be carried along by the Holy Spirit.

        Jesus says, “Have no fear, I am with you always even until the end of the age.” Listen to Him. Jesus says,

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” [Matt 28:19-20]

Listen to Him.

        Jesus says, “Take, eat; this is My body” and “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” [Matt 26:26b-27]

Listen to Him.

        It is good that we are here. It is good that we are here because we are available to do what needs to be done. Like Peter, we are to be more than just a spectator, but a useful instrument in the work of Christ.

        We have something more sure than the cleverly devised myths of those in our world today. We have the light that shines in the darkness. We have the Word of God and the promise of salvation which no human being can produce. We speak from God as we are carried along by the Holy Spirit.

        Today is a good day. Let those who have ears: Listen to Him.

Amen.