The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Text: Exodus 34:29–35
Theme: The light of Christ
Other Lessons: 2 Kings 2:1–12 (alternate); Psalm 50:1–6;
2 Corinthians 3:12–13 (14–18); 4:1–6; Mark 9:2–9
(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) Exodus 34, verses 29-35, serves as our sermon text for this morning
which reads as follows:
Exodus 34:29–35 (NASB95)
29 It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two
tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the
mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because
of his speaking with Him.
30 So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of
his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers in the
congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them.
32 Afterward all the sons of Israel came near, and he commanded them to do
everything that the LORD had spoken to him on Mount Sinai.
33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.
34 But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would
take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to
the sons of Israel what he had been commanded,
35 the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’
face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in
to speak with Him.
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
Your Son Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Most Holy and Merciful God, who guides us through the journeys of life and
calls us to follow You into the unknown, we come before You this day with
hearts open to Your presence and guidance.
As Elisha followed Elijah with determination, knowing that a moment of
parting was near, grant us the courage to follow where You lead, even when
the path is uncertain.
Lord, we remember the chariots of fire and the whirlwind that took Elijah
up to heaven, a powerful reminder of Your majesty and the mysteries that
lie beyond our understanding.
Like Elisha, who witnessed the ascent of his mentor and received a double
portion of his spirit, we too seek Your empowerment to serve You faithfully.
On this Transfiguration Sunday, we are reminded of Your transformative
power that changed the appearance of Your Son on the mountaintop, revealing
His divine nature to His disciples.
We ask that You would transform us, that our lives might better reflect the
glory and love of Christ.
(A) Jesus is “___________ ____________________ _______________ __________
_____________________” (John 8:12)!
(1) In Him we see both God and ourselves as we really are, for the Lord
Jesus is the light, as well as the way, the truth, and the life (John
(2) Today, on this Transfiguration Sunday, we see this illustrated in a
most dramatic way! We see in shining glory how Jesus Lights Up Our Lives.
(B) _________________ and ________________ tend to go together, as do the
opposing concepts of darkness, deceit, and peril.
(1) All of us are aware of the problem of darkness.
(2) Most of us have stumbled in the dark and have a healthy and proper fear
of the darkness—especially in unfamiliar situations and environments where
danger can be anticipated.
(3) Scripture speaks of spiritual light and darkness and warns us:
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 (NASB95)
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are
4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the
unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory
of Christ, who is the image of God.
(C) Unfortunately, we can also be __________________________ by light.
(1) Television commercials try to sell us special visors and glasses that
filter out the blinding glare that renders our sight useless in averting
(2) Our sermon text for this morning deals with both of these conditions on
the opposite sides of the spectrum—blinding and giving vision.
(I) The light of God’s ___________________ and ________________ was
shining brightly in his covenant communicated to Moses.
(A) Our text takes place almost a millennium-and-a-half before Jesus’
(1) Is it possible that Jesus was __________________________ up the lives
of God’s people already way back then?
(B) The Jewish people have a special word to describe God’s glorious
presence that is seen and yet also “clouded.”
(1) That word is shekinah, which means:
(a) A manifestation of God’s personal _________________________ which took
the form of a cloud.
(b) This cloud usually appears in the Old Testament in reference to the
tabernacle and temple.
(2) God is omnipresent, that is, present everywhere.
(a) David affirms this fact in Psalm 139.
(b) Yet God’s special and more personal presence is revealed to us in many
historical accounts in the Bible.
(c) One of the first is His confrontation with Adam and Eve when they fell
(d) Another is God’s encounter with Moses from the bush that burned but was
not consumed (Exodus 3:2–4).
(C) In the construction of the ark of the covenant, God promised that His
special presence would dwell between the two sculpted images of the angelic
cherubim that adorned the mercy seat of that altar-like piece of sacred
(1) Even that was to be seen only by a prescribed priest behind a curtain.
(2) Anyone who would presume to come into God’s special presence that did
not follow these God-given instructions was subject to instantaneous death.
(D) Today’s sermon text recounts how Moses was given the privilege to come
into the special presence of God and how it caused his face to radiate with
a special bright light as a result of that encounter.
(1) Moses has been up on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments:
(a) for a second time, by the way, since earlier he shattered the two
tablets of stone when he saw Israel shattering the commandments themselves
by worshiping the golden calf.
(b) Moses has been face to face with God, and now, for the children of
Israel, even this reflection of God’s glory on Moses’ face was more than
they could look at with steadfastness.
(c) It might be likened to driving with the intense light of the rising or
setting sun in one’s eyes.
(E) So Moses put on a covering or veil to shield the people from the
brightness . . . and also so that their appreciation of the God-given
authority with which he spoke would not falter when the glow on his face
would lose some of its luster over time, until it was “recharged” by
another intimate meeting with God.
(1) In this and the other encounters mentioned beforehand, God is hidden
and revealed at one and the same time.
(2) The _______________________ shines, but God must veil His glory so that
the people not be blinded.
(F) No human can look at God in the fullness of His glory and live.
(1) Thus God uses what Luther called “_______________________” to shield
sin-ridden humans from His unapproachable light.
(a) They give us glimpses of what we can understand about God but hide that
which is too profound for us to take in.
(2) Luther speaks about God’s revealed will and his mysterious ways when he
(a) Thus Christ says to Peter: “What I am doing you do not know now (the
foot washing account found in John 13:7).
(b) You want to anticipate me and to teach me what I must do.
(c) You are making a big mistake.
(d) For it is your duty to bear and endure my hand.
(e) Let me do as I please.
(f) Afterwards you will know and understand what I have intended.” . . .
(g) This, then, is the way the saints are governed and the wisdom of the
church of God, namely, that they are not scandalized by the counsels of God
or offended by the face with which he meets us. . . .
(h) He is indeed the God of life, glory, salvation, joy and peace; and this
is the true face of God.
(i) But sometimes he covers it and puts on another mask by which he offers
himself to us as the God of wrath, death, and hell. . . .
(j) [T]his is done in order that you may be humbled, that you may endure
and wait for the hand of the Lord and the revelation of his face. (AE
8:30–31) [end quote].
(G) It might take a while for people to see the Ten Commandments as a path
to joy and freedom rather than bondage.
(1) It might have taken God’s people time to see the outlines of the Gospel
in the required sacrificial offerings and days to be observed.
(2) It most certainly was a challenge to see the hand of the all-powerful
and loving God in the time of the bondage in Egypt.
(3) Moses and his message were given a hearing by the people because he was
attested by signs and wonders.
(4) Through him, God brought plagues upon the Egyptians, inducing them to
let God’s people go.
(5) And by God’s power, Moses led Israel in the miraculous crossing of the
Red Sea that finalized their deliverance from what was one of the most
powerful military powers of that day—after the Israelites had surely
imagined the Egyptians would slaughter them.
(6) God’s people have always been called upon to __________________
______________ ______________________and _________________________ rather
than by mere human reasoning based on sight and current philosophies.
(H) There is yet another significant point to be made about Moses’
encounters with God.
(1) Often the Old Testament refers to God manifesting Himself to people by
sight or sound.
(a) These appearances are what are known as theophanies.
(2) Many other times the Old Testament describes what we call
angelophanies—appearances of what the texts call “the angel of the Lord.”
(a) A number of theologians (especially Lutheran ones) have come to realize
from a more careful and intense study of the Scriptures that most all of
these appearances are, in reality, Christophanies.
(b) That is, these were encounters with the preincarnate Christ.
(c) It was most likely ________________________—fourteen centuries before
He was born in Bethlehem—whom Moses was meeting face to face.
(I) The Old Testament constantly points forward to the fulfillment of God’s
great plan of salvation in the promised Messiah.
(1) While the picture of God’s plan of salvation is most clearly seen in
its fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus, God’s gracious and
redemptive work is already there to behold in the Old Testament sacrifices
and prophecies of God’s spokesmen.
(2) Salvation has __________________________ been the work of our gracious
God and fulfilled only through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(J) Moses wrote that God would not abandon his created people to be taken
over by Satan and his evil angels, but that he would raise up a “seed of
woman” (cf Genesis 3:15) to overcome Satan (identified in Revelation 12:9).
(1) That “seed of woman” was none other than our Lord Jesus, born of the
(K) So while it often seems that the Old Testament covenant was primarily a
promise that God would grant His people blessings as a nation___________
________________ _____________________if they lived under His Lordship,
that covenant was actually already shining brightly the light of
God’s________________________ __________________________ and love in
(1) Old Testament believers already had faith that God would raise them
from the dead (Hebrews 11:17–19).
(2) Job, who belonged to the time of the patriarchs, beautifully expressed
that faith that God would raise him from the dead when he declared those
familiar words we hear at funerals and at Easter:
Job 19:25–27 (NASB95)
25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take
His stand on the earth.
26 “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
27 Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another.
My heart faints within me!
(II) The ________________________of God’s grace and love was shining even
more brightly in Jesus and His transfiguration.
(A) Jesus knew what awaited Him as he made his way to Jerusalem for the
(1) He knew that it would jolt the disciples whom He had prepared for three
years to broadcast the Gospel throughout the world.
(2) So He gave three of those disciples—Peter, James, and John—a revelation
of Himself that was unforgettable and at the same time spectacular.
(a) There, on the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus’ appearance was suddenly
altered (that is, “transfigured”; Greek: metamorphoō)
Mark 9:3 (NASB95)
and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on
earth can whiten them.
(3) And standing there with Jesus were Moses and Elijah.
(a) How the three disciples came to recognize Moses and Elijah is not
explained in the biblical account, but to have such spiritual hall of
famers support Jesus’ claim to be the one and only prophesied Messiah
cannot be dismissed as anything less than amazing.
(b) The glorious light that emanated from Jesus’ body and even His attire
was absolutely remarkable.
(B) People often struggle with what Luther called the “____________________
________________ _______________ __________________.”
(1) We naturally would prefer the painless “__________________________
(2) Although Jesus explicitly told his disciples three times about the
betrayal, persecution, and death that awaited Him in Jerusalem, the
disciples did not process that until after His resurrection.
(3) Likewise, the prophecies from the Hebrew Scriptures about these matters
were only understood by them after they saw Jesus overcome the horrors
inflicted upon Him at the hand of the Romans and the political corruption
of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem.
(a) The signs and wonders that had astounded them were temporarily
dismissed from their minds in the fears and utter dismay and defeat they
(b) they were seeing the one upon whom they’d pinned their lives’ ambitions
being tortured and humiliated on the cross!
(c) But when Jesus rose again from the dead and demonstrated His victory
over death, the devil, and the grave, when He ascended in a breathtaking
manner, the spiritual pilot lights within the disciples burned brightly.
(d) The three disciples undoubtably told the rest of their colleagues about
the transfiguration of Jesus they had witnessed, and in God’s perfect time
they departed from Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the known world—and
turned it upside down.
(III) The light of God’s grace and love will shine ___________________
_____________________when Jesus inaugurates his eternal kingdom.
(A) Sometimes our light burns brightest to those around us when we
encounter and endure hardship and challenges.
(1) But certainly the light of God’s grace and love will shine brightest of
all when Jesus brings about His eternal kingdom.
(B) John, one of the witnesses to Jesus’ transfiguration, authored five New
(1) He speaks of the light of Christ that will never ________________ or be
Revelation 21:23 (NASB95)
And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the
glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
(C) Jesus says to His church here and scattered throughout the world:
Matthew 5:14–16 (NASB95)
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;
15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the
lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your
good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
(1) As the __________________ reflects the light of the sun, so
_________________reflect the light of the Son, that is, the light of the
Lord Jesus Christ, who is very God of very God.
(2) May we shine ______________________________and be used by God’s Spirit
to aid in the rescue of people who without the Gospel light will exist
forever in the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of
(A) Moses’ shining face as he descended from Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:29–32)
was a powerful reflection of the light and glory of the Lord:
(1) the way few on earth would see it until Jesus’ own transfiguration.
(2) But in a lesser but as powerful way, people can see God’s light in His
(B) There is the joy and peace that only Jesus and His Spirit can produce
(1) Satan will try to imitate it, but he cannot duplicate it!
(A) Why? The momentary high from selfishness and wickedness is no match for
that which comes from God in our obedience to him.
(2) Once there was a country with a king.
(A) Whenever the king was at home, in residence in his palace, a flag was
waving over it, signaling that the king was there.
(B) May we all reflect the King of kings living in us like that of waving a
flag over us and thus show forth the light of Christ. Amen.
(C) Let us pray:
Lord, as we witness the changing of the seasons and the wonders of Your
creation, remind us of the continual process of transformation within our
own lives and in the world around us.
Empower us, O God, to be agents of change, to carry forward the legacy of
faith passed down through generations, and to proclaim Your love and
justice in all that we say and do.
Bless our time of worship today.
May it be a reflection of our desire to draw closer to You and to be
transformed by that encounter.
Open our hearts to receive Your Word which You have given, that we may
leave this place renewed and ready to walk in the paths of righteousness
for Your name’s sake.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who reveals Your glory to us and
guides us on our journey, we pray.
(D) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(E) In the Name of the Father…Amen.