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The Transfiguration of Our Lord


[Mark 9:2-9] … And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out

of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”


A Voice to Hear, A People to Be

A voice to hear and a people to be.

Peter, James, and John, were led up a high mountain by Jesus. Who

is He? Upon that mountain, Jesus is transfigured – His appearance morphs

– who He is shines through: “His clothes became radiant, intensely

white, as no one on earth could bleach them” – “and his face shone

like the sun” [Mark 9:3; Matthew 17:2].

There appeared also Elijah and Moses, speaking with Jesus.

Then “a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the

cloud, ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to Him.” And then, lifting up their

eyes, Peter, James, and John looked around, and “they no longer saw

anyone with them but Jesus only.”

“This is my Son; listen to Him”, said God the Father about Jesus.

Listen to Him.

Whether a young man – a few months old, a newborn – or a child or

an older youth – or an older man or woman, yet still tossed to and fro by the

wind and waves – you daily enter a world with a hundred voices and a

hundred messages about who you should be.

Am I my education? Am I my ancestry? Am I my achievements? Am I

my politics or my cause? Am I my emotions? Am I in a group? Do I pick? Or

am I picked? What is good? How do I know?

With whom I will identify, and which voice I must follow, are

burdensome questions when there’s a hundred voices and a hundred

groups – or even when there’s just a couple bad options.

The young ones newly entering the world – and you older ones re-

entering the world every day – are pulled by many voices, either wanting

you to buy something or buy into some idea.

What is Jesus doing in the Transfiguration? He is showing His

disciples – and you – that in Himself, in this one Man, God has entered our

world as the one, final, and accessible option. His is the voice to hear. He

makes you a people to be.

In being a disciple of Jesus, you know what Word to listen to, to trust

in, to be guided by.

In being a disciple of Jesus, you know what new people you are, who

you identify as.

You have a Teacher and are a people.

Today, just minutes ago, you witnessed – with your own eyes – the

means by which we become disciples, students, of Jesus: Baptism in the

name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

What is baptism? Baptism is not a church tradition, a family custom, or

just a special day. Baptism comes from the Lord’s own command.

After His death and resurrection – by which He won our redemption –

Jesus, before ascending into heaven, commanded His disciples: “Go

therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the

name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” [Matthew

28:19].

A “disciple” is someone who learns, a student. Baptism is the means

by which Jesus took you away from being a student of this world’s many

voices and made you a student of His voice. By baptism, you became a

disciple of Jesus. Listen to Him.

The voice of Jesus is found in His Word, which is the Bible. Scripture,

the Bible, says of itself, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and

profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in

righteousness” – for knowing the truth and being trained in the good.

Breathed out by God. [2 Timothy 3:16]

The disciple Peter, who was on the mountain and witnessed the

Transfiguration of Jesus, wrote about the Transfiguration (after Christ’s

resurrection) in 2 Peter 1:16-21. In the same passage in which he writes of

the Transfiguration, he also writes about Scripture, saying – about the

writing of the books of the Bible – that “men spoke from God as they

were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Peter also says, in the same passage, that the Word of God is “more

fully confirmed” in Scripture than in the Transfiguration itself [2 Peter 1:19-

21]. And Jesus said, “Scripture cannot be broken”, and, “Heaven and

earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” [John 10:35;

Mark 13:31].

After His resurrection, Jesus taught about Himself from all of

Scripture: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He

interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning

Himself” [Luke 24:27]. And Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I

know them, and they follow me” – “they know his voice. A stranger

they will not follow.” [John 10:4-5,27]

As His baptized, believing people, you have no veil over your hearts

when you hear the Scriptures. You listen to Him. This young baby baptized

today has now been given a life with the voice of his Shepherd leading him

through the Scriptures.

The other side of the coin in Baptism is teaching. Jesus’ whole

command is this: “Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the

name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching

them to observe all that I have commanded you.” [Matthew 28:19-20]

When God’s baptized people are not a people of the Scriptures, their

baptism becomes no more helpful than one of those empty ceremonies. We

are baptized. We have a voice to be hearing.

Baptism is water and the Word of God together – Jesus presents the

church to Himself, “having cleansed her by the washing of water with

the word” [Ephesians 5:26-27].

Baptism saves. Jesus said, “Whoever believes and is baptized will

be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” [Mark

16:16]. And Peter said, in Scripture, “Baptism now saves you” [1 Peter

3:21].

Baptism is “the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy

Spirit” [Titus 3:5].

Baptism dresses you in Jesus to cover all your sin: “For as many of

you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” [Galatians 3:27].

Baptism unites you to the death and resurrection of Jesus: “Having

been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with

him through faith” [Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:3-5].

It is Baptism that makes you the people you are – a new nation, a new

people in Christ. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have

put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave

nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ

Jesus.” [Galatians 3:26-29]

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a

people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the

excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous

light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people;

once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

[1 Peter 2:9-10]

Lastly, who is this for? Baptism is for both the youngest and the oldest

and those in between – because Jesus is the redeemer of all people. The

New Testament compares Baptism to circumcision [Colossians 2:11-12] –

which was for infants, newborns, and for older converts to become God’s

people. (Jesus compares Baptism to birth, which is definitely for newborns!

John 3:5)

We make disciples of the whole nation [Matthew 28:19], from

youngest to oldest.

On the day of Pentecost, after the disciple Peter received the Holy

Spirit, he told the crowds, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in

the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will

receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for

your children.” [Acts 2:38-39]

And, lastly, Jesus said: “Let the children come to me and do not

hinder them” [Luke 18:15-16]. Bringing our infants and young children to

Baptism is rooted in the clearly written Biblical truth that infants and even

children in the womb are capable of faith in Jesus – in the same way we

are, by the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus cleansed the Temple, children cried out, “Hosanna to

the Son of David!” When some objected to this, Jesus responded, “Have

you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You

[God] have prepared praise’?” [Matthew 21:15-16]

And, famously – recorded in Scripture, Luke’s Gospel – John the

Baptist, while in his mother’s womb, leaped for joy at the presence of Jesus

in His mother’s womb when Mary approached Elizabeth [Luke 1:39-44].

Let us leap with great joy within our hearts that this child here today is

not lost to the many voices of this world but has been baptized into Christ to

be God’s own child. Amen.

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