Luke 9:28-36 “Memorial Moments”

Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.  [NRSA: Luke 9:28-36]

In my quest to climb Mt Tabor and see this holy spot there is a church at top with

four sanctuaries.. and Upper and lower devoted to the transfiguration of Jesus and two smaller ones devoted to Moss and Elijah. And a monastery, and a cemetery, and a garden, and remnants of other structures, and a small gift shop. For a location that Jesus gave specific direction for having no need for booths, markers, nor markets to celebrate we have built them nonetheless. 

Some folks have a desire we might label as spiritual jealousy. Saul had his Damascus road transformation, hundreds came to Jesus and were miraculously healed, thousands came and were miraculously fed from loaves and fish, apostles freed from their prison cells, Paul saved from shipwreck and snake bites.

Where is my miracle? Where’s our moment in the divine glory and blinding brightness to seal our faith?

Keep in mind that Peter share in this holy moment, but later will deny Jesus at a most important time.  James and John will let there experiences go to their head and they ask to sit on either side of Jesus in heaven.

Miraculous moments are important and can be transformative, these are signs of what is important. The are NOT special privileges for the favored.

It’s true that Jesus took a small group and not all the disciples. Was it the three who needed the clearest view? Were these who Jesus knew had a more difficult time trusting ? Were they more mature than the others and better able to comprehend the event? Would these who would have the greatest struggle to believe?

Peter’s response was to mark and market the occasion for others, and Jesus’s intent was for Peter to experience a holy moment of revelation of Jesus’s nature, mission, and connection.

One thing that is essential is that we take from this encounter is that the OT and NT messages are the same message: Through Moses with Law, Elijah with the Prophets, and Jesus with the Gospel: God is weaving together a tapestry of invitation to trust, grace for our rebellion, and authority for our doubts and fears.

Another part of this event is that different Memorial moments are intended for different people. Look ahead to the birth of the church at Pentecost, some think the disciples are drunk on new wine and other hear the gospel in their own native languages. 

I will tell you many times it amazing me the number of times someone will say, I hear words that so resonated with me, when you said, and the words they heard were different from what I thought I had said. I never doubt them because God has unique messages for us all.

For those who overhear and recall someone else’s holy moment, what can we take away for ourselves?

Yet another lesson is that the events from that day were not always to be a special secret for a select group, but in a most important time , they needed to be remembered and retold. Peter wants buildings and holidays and ritual to tell the story, and Jesus wants Peter to tell the story.

Some of you may have experiences of angels, messengers, experiences from travels, study of scripture, in a piece of music, and other personal moments of divine disclosures:

  1. These are for your own faith
  2. These are for you to share with others for theimountains88⁸If you cannot recall moments of revelation then it’s time to climb some mountains, its time for spiritual retreats, it’s time to gather in small group with others on the same journey and be where God’s message is being revealed.
  3. If you have these moments of revealed truth and faith this generation needs to hear, see, be encouraged and fortified more than ever in our lifetimes.
  • God wants us to have faith in Christ
  • God wants us to share life in Christ
  • God wants us to live by faith with one another 

We need to recall these moment more than ever… Our Christian neighbors to the north have dropped from 60% to 10% who consider themselves Christian and it is no wonder the church is under attack when the people have forgotten or let go of the moments that are given to anchor our faith.

We can’t force or manufacture a spiritual mountain top experience but we can follow when asked to go.

We cant make Jesus show up on demand, but I can be reading, listening, waiting… I know where to look

We can’t expect my spiritual moments to be like yours, because yours are for you, and mine for me… we might share to encourage one another, but God is calling, knocking, asking and desires in your heart and life.

Transformational markers are personal yet have collective benefits

Retreat ; set aside time and place, this lenten season to receive the word, blessing, and spiritual moments God longs to reveal to you!

Luke 6:27-38 “Returns on Investments”

But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” [NRSA: Luke 6:27-38]


The Sermon on the hidden hillside turns the world view upside down.

The Setting on the Sea of Tiberias, Sea of Galilee

The one place thousands could gather to hear Jesus and not be seen by watchful Roman guard.


This ‘sermon’ is a collection of teachings that describe God’s kingdom how God hopes followers of Jesus will live.


So not only do we have a set of instructions, we have view of God’s nature and the perennial story of faith and God’s grace revealed throughout scripture.


God Hopes are high, even though God’s expectations are low.


The lists that Jesus teaches reveal God’s expectation is for us to struggle and fail are likely, yet God is hopeful.

  • For example, God knows we look to do the least, to receive the most.
  • To take the road MOST traveled, choosing what is easiest.
  • God knows we are likely to follow the crowd rather than follow God.
  • God knows we probably will choose to live contractually, by laws and rules, rather than covenantal,
  • God guesses we will value earning our way, rather than trust, and
  • Seek power in our own success, good works and self understanding.


Hear some Good News:

The teachings reveal God lives hoping we will trust! God is Hopeful!


For example: There are verses that are misused about blessing and abundance. If we give to God we can expect a good return on our investments.

It is subtle, but the intent is not that we measure our devotion by what we do, give, or earn, rather… God will use all that we do for God’s good work and witness. Bottom line, If we use God’s blessing for our glory and our comfort, they no longer reflect the kingdom, they only reflect ourselves.


The lesson here is about generosity. Give with a gratefulness, trusting God, and generosity yields generosity.


God seems to have the world backwards and upside down:

  • Trust the untrustworthy
  • Love the enemy
  • Discern without judging
  • Forgive like it is you that is being forgiven
  • And do all these with hope, in generosity.


Live by Grace in a big way.


God knows we can be selfish, brutish, cruel, and controlling, and yet chooses to love and entrust the work of the kingdom on earth to be conducted through us.

“What is God thinking?’


This is where knows God is hopeful, yet expects sin to real and the choices to be difficult.


Think of the loving parent that is Hopeful the prodigal son will not squander his inheritance, and yet knowing he has, waits with Hope for his return.


Paul would ask, “So if God knows we are going to fail, fall short, and sin, then go for the gold medal?” “No!”


The sermon on the mountain teaches us what is good, right, righteous, and from the heart of God. God’s gracious invitation is to follow, trust, and try to grow in fellowship.


The world is expecting us to value wealth, excellence, and power. God has all these things. We need only trust that God loves and desires and hopes for us soooo much, that God is willing to risk the world.


God wants relationship over good works alone.

How much greater is it to know temptation and to choose what pleases God, rather than just accidentally making the correct answer…


I have wondered when archeologist look back to see that knowledge was measured by students bubbling in score cards and those who choose the arbitrary sequence of bubbled ovals receive the scholarships and opportunities, and those who choose fewer are scored as less knowledgeable. Can the correct answers and action replace the relationship and experiences? The lessons of the sermon on the mount say, “nope, not at all!”


There is more than meeting expectations. Jesus announces that he has completed the law for us, and thus calls us to follow Jesus, in relationship with God and neighbor, through Jesus, as the way of living out our faith.

Movie, “Bruce Almighty” with Jim Carry and Morgan Freeman, God seems to foolishly hands the reigns over to Jim’s character who looks for short-cuts, self-interested solutions, and skips the very nature of God…. It takes looking from God’s perspective to see what God is hoping we find.


It is these verses in Chapters 5,6,&7, The sermon on the mount, that gives us God’s perspective of hope for ourselves and each other.


What do we do with this sermon on the mount?

Does my faith serve me or God’s pleasure? Where is my hope and trust?

What do I hope God will do through my household and friendships?

What do I hope God will do through my enemies and the strangers?

What do I hope my wealth will provide for God?

What do I hope will happen in my life for God’s kingdom?


If my lists are short then maybe I need to see more of God’s perspective

If my lists are long, then I start where I currently find ourselves and whittle through.

Bottom line, following Jesus is ……..