The Weekly Word

Reading: Matthew 17:1-9

Sermon for February 26, 2017 “Mystery Solved!”

Today marks the end of the Epiphany Season.
Wednesday begins Lent 2017.
And to bridge these two church seasons, we get a Sunday called “Transfiguration Sunday.”

What is a transfiguration?
Why was it such an important event in the lives of Peter, James, and John?
Why should it still matter to us today?

To explain what “Transfiguration” means, I went to the expert.
You guessed it.
I went to Scooby-Doo.

And for those of you familiar with the cartoon, you know that each episode revolves around a mystery and a villain.
And at the end of every show, once the villain is caught, one of Scooby’s friends says, “Now let’s see who the bad guy really is” and then they rip off the bad guy’s mask.

When it came to the Peter, James, and John, there was still some mystery when it came to Jesus.
They had seen Jesus preach powerful sermons.
They had seen Jesus stand up to the Religious Elite while at the same time defending the social outcasts.
They had even seen Jesus perform healings and other miracles.

And yet, there were still some lingering questions:
“Who IS this Jesus of Nazareth?”
“Can he REALLY be the Messiah we have all been looking for?”
“Or is he just a really talented Rabbi?”

This was the mystery before the disciples (and all of Jesus’ followers and fans).

Was he really who he claimed to be?

Was there someone behind the mask that Jesus presented to the people?

And so The Transfiguration is the day the mask comes off.
The mystery is revealed.
And rather that the disciples saying, “Let’s see who this really is” it’s God Himself who says, “let me show you who this Jesus really is.”

And he does this in verse 5: “”This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”

God is telling these three disciples that:

Jesus IS the one they have been waiting for,
That Jesus IS the one who has come to save everyone,
That Jesus IS everything he has said he is.

Now, on the Scooby-Doo show, when the mystery is revealed, the story ends.

But this particular mystery is different.
You see, this mystery leads to another chapter in the overall story of God.

And that next chapter begins on Wednesday with Lent.

So in a way, today God reveals to the three disciples and us that Jesus really IS all we are hoping he is.

But now we are going to see what that really means when it comes to the story of salvations.

And in this salvation story, this next chapter is going to be rough.
It is going to be scary.
It is going to be sad.

But it’s just a chapter.
Not the ending.

In a way, The Transfiguration is God’s way of telling all of us that the story DOES end on a good note.
A note that lasts forever.

But in order for that story to be told, Jesus can’t stay on that mountain.
Peter doesn’t get his wish to live there with James, John, Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.
There is still much work to be done.

And not just for Jesus.
Peter, James, and John all play a part in the story.

And so do we.

Here is the part we play:

We play the role of Revealers.

It is through our actions and words that we can reveal who Jesus really is to our neighbors.

Think of the people who have asked you:
“Who is this Jesus?”
“Why does Jesus matter to you?”
“Why should I care about God?”

We get to answer these questions.
We are called to do it.
We get the pleasure and honor of helping solve the mystery that many people have about God.

Think of the ways you, Grace Lutheran Church, are the mystery solvers.

Whenever you feed someone on a Sunday afternoon,

Whenever you sponsor a family for a meal at Thanksgiving,

Whenever you pray for someone battling cancer (or hold their hands),

Whenever you welcome visitors with an open hand and a warm smile,

Whenever you donate food, toiletries, your hands and feet to CCM, Habitat for Humanity, the Scouts,

Whenever you rush to the hospital bed of a member who is about to join the Church Triumphant,

Whenever theses things happen, and these things happen every day, not just Sunday morning, when these things happen, the mystery of God is revealed to the world.

And let me tell you from personal experience, you people are great mystery solvers.

For not only have you helped so many people in this community and around the nation and world,

You have helped me.
You have helped Kristen.
You have certainly helped Paul and Maddie.

You have shown us just what an amazing God all of us have.
Because of your mystery solving gifts:

God is not a mystery.
God is seen, heard, felt, and experienced.

God. Is. Real.

And for that I am eternally grateful.

We know who God is.
We know who God is calling us to be.

There’s a mystery that needs to be solved.

Let’s go solve it.