“Is Now A Good Time?”
This morning we’re closing out our series of looking at the miracles Jesus performed in his life on earth. Of course he did many more than we have looked at over the last few weeks, but it’s a start. We stopped and paused to dig a little deeper into the what was happening with the various encounters.
We started with looking at the healing of a paralyzed man in a house so crowded his friends had to lower him through the roof to get him in front of Jesus. We learned that the encounter was far more significant than Jesus healing the man, it was a revelation to the people in the room of the authority by which he is able to heal. Jesus showed he had more authority than just absolving people of their sins, he had the power to heal and make people like this paralyzed man walk. It was said that only God can forgive sins, and Jesus went well beyond that.
Then we looked at Jesus healing a man with a withered hand. Jesus healed him on the Sabbath, the day of rest. Work is forbidden on the Sabbath, yet Jesus healed the man anyway. Why make a man suffer any longer just because of the calendar?
Then we watched as Jesus calmed the storm as his friends were scrambling about in the boat, just trying to stay afloat. Jesus showed his power over nature, showing he had control of things we though uncontrollable. This challenges us deeply as we believe in what we know and see, and Jesus shows there is much more than this.
Then we moved onto the casting out of demons from a man who was tortured by a legion of demons within him. Again, showing us his authority over not just nature in this case, but over spirits and spiritual matters. The demons trembled as Jesus came near and begged for mercy.
Last week the children took us on another journey with Jesus across the water. They looked at the story of Jesus walking on water, and how he was joined by Peter. Showing us that where we focus our faith, that when we let Jesus be our guide we can do what we would normally see as impossible. Now maybe we can’t walk on water, but there are many other areas where we feel we cannot do something, yet with Christ as our guide, nothing is impossible. Maybe with him we can turn this town around and bring the love of God to everyone one every street if we simply believe and ask for it to happen.
In many of these stories we read of fear. Fear because Jesus was doing things no one thought possible. Our experience told is it couldn’t happen, yet with Jesus, he had power over these things, power only God could have.
So this week we look at the traditional story for before the start of Lent. This is Transfiguration Sunday and we read the traditional reading of Jesus selecting a few of his disciples and heading up the mountain.
While Jesus leads them there his clothes become a dazzling, brilliant, blinding white and is joined by Moses and Elijah. Together, with the disciples watching, they had some sort of conversation. O to be a fly on that wall!
That’s when Peter speaks up.
I’m sure none of you have ever done this, but think about in movies of television shows where there’s this incredibly exciting moment, and one of the sidekicks gets really nervous and says something incredibly awkward just to break the tension a little bit.
That’s sort of what Peter has done. Once again we read that the disciples are terrified because of what they are witnessing. They are seeing Jesus, completely transfigured before them, and he’s talking with two of the most famous historical figures of the time. Moses and Elijah! Rockstars of the Old Testament are standing there in front of them talking with Jesus.
Once again, this is clearly something beyond what they can comprehend. They’ve seen Jesus do so much, and yet again he outdoes himself, and it scares them because they can’t put it together.
So Peter offers to build some tents. He opens his mouth and says the first thing that comes to mind, not even really thinking. He might have well asked if anyone wanted a sandwich.
Just in case there was any doubt that this was a special moment, just after Peter utters those words a voice from heaven speaks, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” and everything returns to as it was. Just Jesus and the disciples are left standing on the top of the mountain.
If they were afraid before, imagine how they must feel now. No words are spoken from the disciples on the way down the mountain. All that is said is Jesus telling them to tell no one what they have seen until his work is finished.
Jesus is now on his way to Jerusalem. This is his final march towards the city, leading to his death. The season of Lent will be here in just a few days.
So as we finish up our series on miracles Jesus performed, what do we take from these encounters?
When we stop and look at the deeper meaning to the story, where does it lead us? How does it make us feel? What does it make us believe?
We have witnessed, and even today, Jesus doing something we can hardly comprehend. He’s glowing whiter than white and talking with two heros of the faith from long ago, and in a flash it’s over. All that’s left are the three disciples trembling in their sandals.
We have not witnessed any of these events first hand. We rely on the stories passed down from generation to generation in the church to learn about the things Jesus did and taught many years ago. These stories help to build our faith and through the Holy Spirit we are opened to their meaning and how it impacts our lives here today.
Through the stories we are with Jesus on top of the mountain. We are with him as he heals people and touches their lives, giving them hope and freedom from the things which hold them back.
Just as we too are held back by things in our lives.
Just as we too struggle with ways in which we respond to the words of Jesus Christ we read, or the urging of the Holy Spirit to move us forward into a life of faith.
It’s ok to be a little scared. Hey, it’s even ok to be completely terrified according to what we’ve been reading the last few weeks!
Jesus is no ordinary man. He is the Son of the Most High God. He is the one who touches our lives in amazing ways, moving us into places where we never thought we’d be.
But he doesn’t leave us there along. Jesus is right here beside us, walking forward with us, guiding us on the journey.
It is an appropriate Sunday for us to have our annual meeting here at Carman. Today we’ll discuss what we have been up to as a community of faith, and I also hope we’ll have some discussion about what the future holds for us as people who seek to live out the call of Jesus Christ on our lives.
And I hope we get a little bit scared while we do it, because following the Lord can be a little terrifying at times when we feel pushed outside of our comfort zone. Outside of what we think is possible because of our age, or our numbers, or our finances, or our building, our skills, our minister, our music, our location… none of this matters.
What matters is that we are willing to have God push us just a little bit more, to move us in ways we have not been able to see as a path we could follow.
You know, “the road less traveled.”
God is in the business of miracles. Do we pray for them? Do we ask God to challenge us, to make us a little afraid? Do we ask God to answer our questions, like “Is now a good time?”
I think it is. I think it’s the perfect time to move. I think God is just waiting for us to act. To take those first trembling steps into what we are scared to do.
The mountain top is behind us. Before us is the glory of the Lord, revealed to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world. The one who we were told, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”
And now’s as good a time as any.