THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD AD 2022
TRINITY EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
REV. KURT E. REINHARDT
Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan,  all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea,  the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar.  And the Lord said to him, "This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, 'I will give it to your offspring.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there."  So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord,  and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day.  Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated.  And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.
 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.  And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,  none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land,  and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.
Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,  who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's house.  For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.  (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.)  Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later,  but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray.  And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.  And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah,  who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.  Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.  And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah"— not knowing what he said.  As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.  And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!"  And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.
As of March 1st a lot is set to change in our province, when it comes to the pandemic, that we have been battling for the last two years. Is it finally coming to an end? God alone knows. I’ve had my hopes raised and dashed too many times when it comes to Covid 19 to breathe a sigh of relief just yet, but hope has creeped into my heart now and again over the last few days, that though the virus may be here to stay, the worst of it may be over. Lock downs, stay at home orders, capacity limits, God willing may all soon be things of the past.
Hopefully, what they say about pandemics is true, that they come around every 100 years. If that’s the case at 52, I think I can safely say, that thanks be to God I won’t be around for the next one. But just as it looks like we might be on the verge of putting the worries, cares and fears of the last two years to rest, we’ve got another terror of my childhood swiftly rising in the east. Today’s young people know little of the anxious days of the cold war, but I grew up in the midst of them as a child in Ottawa.
Although we are half a world away, Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, has been unsettling to say the least. For anyone who knows anything of world history, you can’t help but hear echoes of the start of World War 2, as you hear President Putin and watch what the Russians are doing. Yes, I’ve been prayerfully groaning for the Ukrainian people, and especially for the dear Lutheran friends that I made there, when I spoke at their Church Conference on the Black Sea two summers ago. But what has brought back to mind all my childhood fears is the news, that Mr. Putin has his hand hovering over the Nuclear launch button to keep the west from standing in his way.
With all the worries and fears that we have had to deal with with Covid 19 seamlessly slipping into the worries and fears of what Putin and Russia are up to and what it could mean for the world and it’s children, it is such a precious gift to be here today to see our transfigured Lord Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah about His exodus that he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Yes, that’s right in our English Bible it says “departure” but the original word in Greek is Exodon, that is Exodus. You can translate it as, “departure or exit” - which without question is something that Jesus does in Jerusalem when He goes where his disciples cannot come, when he goes to the cross to suffer and die for the sins of the world.
But here again, anyone who knows their Old Testament history can’t help but hear echoes of a whole lot more, when you hear the word “Exodus” connected with what Jesus will accomplish in Jerusalem. Especially, when you hear it with someone like Moses discussing it with Jesus. Yes, beloved, you should hear echoes of God’s deliverance of His people Israel from slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt, when you hear the word Exodus used on the mountaintop with Jesus today. That special word Exodus meant a lot more than simply departure or exit to God’s people of old and should mean as much to you now as God’s children. It can’t be heard without the thought of God delivering His people with an outstretched almighty arm coming to mind.
The Exodus, was an exit or departure, but not just any exit or departure. It was the special departure, the special exit that God accomplished for His people when He overcame all the powers of Egypt and led them out of slavery by the hand of His servant Moses. What Moses and Elijah are talking about with Jesus today is not that Exodus, but Jesus’ Exodus - which as a man is his departure or exit out of the world into death on the cross, but as the Son of God is so much more than that. Jesus’s Exodus is the Son of God’s Exodus, which makes it not only the fulfillment of the one God accomplished through Moses but also its greater and more glorious fulfillment.
The Exodus, delivered God’s people from physical slavery to Pharaoh in the land of Egypt to a new life of freedom in the Promised Land. Jesus’ Exodus delivers the world from spiritual slavery to sin, death and hell out of this valley of sorrow to a new eternal life of freedom in the Father’s house. In the Exodus God delivered His people from Pharaoh by parting the red sea through Moses’ outstretched arms. In Jesus’ Exodus God delivered the World from Satan through the flood of His Son’s blood as He stretched out His arms on the cross.
As the Lord sets the transfigured Jesus before you today in His Word, as you go through the tail end of the Covid 19 pandemic, and hear of the wars and rumours of wars that come to you out of the east, He wants to remind you of the Exodus that Jesus accomplished for you at Jerusalem. He wants to remind that the departure that Jesus did as man, as He entered into death on the cross was the great Exodus, that He accomplished for you as the Son of God. He wants to remind you, that through His departure on the cross as man, the Son of God has opened up an exit for you out of this valley of sorrow, with its pandemics and wars, into the joys of eternal life in the Father’s house.
The Lord also sets the transfigured Jesus before you in His Word today, as you feel the burden of your sin and the sin of those around you, to remind you that He has overcome it all through the blood of His Son and sets you free from it all in His forgiveness. He wants to remind you that Jesus as His only begotten Son took on the shackles of your sins on Calvary and broke them open with the nails that pierced His hands and feet. He wants to remind you today through the transfigured Jesus that those shackles now lie broken at your feet. They cannot hold you anymore, because the Holy Son of God as a man broke them open forever on the cross. They cannot hold you, and so, Satan cannot use them to drag you away into death and hell. The Son has set you free and so you are free indeed!
The Lord also sets the transfigured Jesus before you in His Word and in His body and blood, so that you might know and believe that the glorious Son of God is leading you now in the great Exodus that He accomplished for you at Jerusalem. In His Word and in His body and blood the Lord shows you today, that just as God’s lesser prophet Moses was with God’s people as God led them out of Egypt, so God’s greatest prophet and only Begotten Son, Jesus, is with you as He is leading you through this world to your eternal heavenly home. No, beloved, you do not travel alone, Christ is with you, He puts that beyond all doubt at the altar today. He Himself is leading you and will see you safely home.
And so in all that you’re going through in this time. In all your worries and fears. In all your sorrows and griefs. In all your guilt and shame. Stop listening to the world. Stop listening to the devil. Stop listening to yourself. And hear the voice out of the cloud today saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” Yes, beloved. Listen to Him as He says, “Your sins are forgiven. I have set you free.” Listen to Him as He says, “ I am with you. Fear not, for I have overcome the world.” Listen to Him as He says, “ I have prepared a place for you in my Father’s house and I am leading you home.” Amen.