Today's message isbased on 2 Kings 2:1-12 and Mark 9: 2-9

Today is Transfiguration Sunday, where we hear about Jesus’ mountain top experience.
He ventures up there with Peter and James and John, his top three disciples.
And there he is illuminated and shines like a brilliant star in the night.

In addition to that, we are told that Moses and Elijah appear up there with him.
They are talking with Jesus but we can only speculate what about.
Meanwhile, the disciples don’t know what to think and are likely in shock.
Peter then says ‘it’s good to be here’ and suggests setting up tents for the visitors.
Just then, a cloud appears and God’s says ‘Jesus is his beloved Son, listen to him’.

Afterwards they head down the mountain and Jesus tells them to say nothing about it.
To tell no one until after he has risen from the dead.
And, quite frankly, who do you think would ever believe them if they did tell ?!?

Obviously, there is a lot going on here.
Not just in the wild events of the story, but also in what the story means.
Moses shows up as the one to whom God gave the law that was to govern the people.
Moses had his own mountain top experience with God when that happened.
In that event, the brilliant light of the glory of the Lord left Moses’ face as if sunburned.
Elijah represents all the prophets and is considered the premiere prophet of Israel.
His being taken up to heaven by God was our Old Testament reading this morning.
Devout Jews still believe he will return the last days and they even symbolically have an empty seat at their seder supper each Passover to represent his expected return.

But for Christians, these guys represent a passing of the torch - a change in things.
Jesus comes to fulfill the law of Moses and is himself the brilliant light of God.
Jesus supplants Moses and he is now the premiere spokesperson for God.
His mountain top experience reflects Moses’ similar experience years before.
And, Jesus is the one who comes in the last days, taking the place of Elijah’s role.
Jesus is believed to be the fulfillment of what all the prophets said about God’s plan.
He is the one who has come to complete God’s work as predicted by the prophets.

The whole event,….. for Jesus, Moses, Elijah and particularly the disciples is a  time of moving into a new area;… a change to a new place and phase of God’s saving plan.

That is exactly what the prefix of the word ‘Transfiguration’, means.
‘Trans’ means to move beyond or from one place to another or for things to change.
Like ‘transaction’ is parties exchanging or moving to each other something of value.
Transferred’ or ‘transported’ means to be moved from one place to another.
A language is ‘translated’ from one people’s dialect to another’s different one.
Today we hear of ‘transgender’ when a person desires their gender to be changed.

Three things are actually changing at this moment within the Jesus’ story.
One is that, although Jesus is not actually changed permanently, his agenda is.
This event begins his move from itinerant preaching to a path towards Jerusalem.
There he will not be so much the teacher and healer but the sacrificial lamb.
Secondly the disciples’ view of Jesus and who he is will begin to be different.
The idea that he’s just a wise rabbi or a prophet begins to change to more than that.
Now they start to see him as the culmination of all Israel’s and the world’s history.
Starting now, they begin to understood him as the Messiah who rises from the dead.

And then, the third thing that changes are the disciples themselves.
Not only does their sense of who Jesus is, change, but they too will begin to change.
The transfiguration of Jesus begins the transformation of these three and the rest.
Because eventually they begin to see that their role in Jesus’ ministry starts to change.

After this, they’ll change from being simply students of Jesus, to teachers themselves.
After this, they’ll change from being just observers, to the doers of God’s work.
After Jerusalem and the cross and the resurrection event that lies ahead, things will  change when the torch of God’s work will be passed from Jesus,… on to them.

But that change,…that move from one place to a new one,….that transformation is not suppose to end with them but is meant to continue with us still today!
This story, and the whole story of Jesus Christ, is supposed to transform all of us!
It is supposed to change you and me and how we think or behave or deal with others!
Whether God has broken into our lives quietly or like a cloud on the mountain top.
God in Jesus Christ wants to transform you and me from who we were to who we’ll be.

We may be transformed from being stingy into being more generous.
From being critical to being more complimentary.
From holding a grudge to being more forgiving. 
From being too selfish and thinking primarily of ourselves to thinking more of others. 
From ignoring God and Jesus to being more worshipful and in step with the Lord.

God transforms us in how we live our lives and in our relationships. 
Transforms us in our view of others and of ourselves into something better.
Transforms our role in the church, or our jobs, or society, or just life in general.
Just like with the disciples, God acts to transform us from students to teachers.
From observers to doers, from passive believers to responsible carriers of Jesus’ torch.
He moves us from where we were to new place for the betterment of us and for his will.

Those three disciples apparently did eventually tell the others this story.
And the story changed, not only them, but all who eventually were touched by Jesus.
As all of them were changed and taken to a new place in life, that eventually led to us.
Think about how you may have been moved beyond where you were and transformed.
How God has broken into your life and changed you for the better.
And remember that, in the end, we will be changed completely into something better.

Amen.