Matthew 17:2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.
Epiphany, is God is at work, making himself known to all people. Transfiguration Sunday, the last Sunday of Epiphany, is God making known His Glory. To Israel, the Glory of God appeared as a consuming fire on the mountain, it was a frightening thing. To the disciples, the Glory of God was seen in the face of Christ, and it was a bright pure light, that came our of Jesus. It is this kind of encounter with God, that reminds us who God really is.
Encountering the glory of God, always seems to remind people of 2 things, 1. that they are not righteous, and are afraid to come to the glory, for they know the punishment due for their sins. and 2. that they are not holy, not like God is holy, and that they are not worthy to come into his presence. It is the knowledge of God, which exists to some degree in every person, that convinces us deep in our hearts that God deserves to be worshipped and praised, honored and glorified, thanked and obeyed, loved and served. This obligation is universal.
The problem is, that there is a great illusionist in the world, who by deceit, misdirection and slight of hand seeks to lead us from worshipping God in his glory, to the worship of false Gods, images of wood, stone, and flesh. Satan is a great illusionist, for if the illusion was not good, it would be no temptation. So what are the illusions?
They come in many forms, and the one thing they all have in common is that they want to be at the center of your life. For example, how do you want to be identified? Is who you are a sportís team, is the most important person in your life a sportís hero? Of all the tee-shirts, sweatshirts, and jackets Iíve seen, there are few that clearly say, I am a Christian, and Jesus is the most important person in my life. Thatís the simple truth, but it points to Satanís illusion, which has made Jesus posters and Jesus tee-shirts seem freakish, something that its all right to keep to yourself, but not something youíd want to advertise in public.
Or lets look at television, why is it that the lives of the stars are more interesting than the life of Christ? The great illusionist is at work again, the funny thing is that they donít have to be stars, you can make them up, and people donít want to miss a single episode, consider the soaps and the serials, .... they may even be "innocent entertainment", I wonít debate that point, but the question remains, how has it come to be that we can be more faithful to almost anything else, than we can, when it comes to God? Which brings us back to the mount of transfiguration, where we see the glory of God in the face of Christ, and it is no illusion. Its real, and its everlasting.
Why arenít people more faithful to God? Its the great illusion, and the myth of cheap grace, that because God is love, God has to forgive us, and so no one will perish, for there really is no Hell. As I said, this is not the truth, it is Satanís illusion. Godís doesnít forgive people who are not sorry. God does not forgive people who continue in sin. God does not forgive people who do not honestly want to change. And without the forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ, all will perish.
So it is that every day, we need to examine ourselves. To look at our life and see that Jesus is still in the center. To look at our direction and see that we are still following our Good Shepherd. And if anything is wrong, to turn from the illusion and turn to God, returning to his Word and His Way, turning from sin, and returning to our savior. And in returning, to humbly ask not for what we deserve, for the wages of sin is death; but rather asking for mercy, and pleading for forgiveness, and grace that we may change our wicked ways, and walk with our savior, by grace through faith to life everlasting. This is always the first step.
The second step is to help others to see the Glory of God in the face of Christ. So, we bring them the law, which shows them their sin , calls them to repent and reminds them of the need for a savior, and then we bring them the Gospel which tells of the salvation which is ours in Jesus Christ. It is then that we can hear and hold fast to the wonderful promise, that the blood of Jesus Christ His son, cleanses us from all sin.
Once you see the glory of God, it is much easier to see the things which are not God, although they sometimes pretend, for they are only illusions, but are not even that in the Light of Godís presence.