The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
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Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Transfiguration, 2017.


Transfiguration Sunday, 2017

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship


Hymn #495   From Greenland’s Icy Mountains             
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual             2 Peter 1:16-21
The Gospel           Matthew 17:1-9
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
Sermon Hymn #135           Tis Good               

Not Fables

Hymn #307                     Draw Nigh                 
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
Hymn #250               Holy God       

KJV 2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

KJV Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Sixth Sunday After Epiphany

O merciful and everlasting God, heavenly Father: We thank Thee that Thou hast revealed unto us the glory of Thy Son, and let the light of Thy gospel shine upon us: We pray Thee, guide us by this light that we may walk diligently as Christians in all good works, ever be strengthened by Thy grace, and conduct our lives in all godliness; through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Not Fables

KJV 2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 

The Christian Faith is historical, unlike any other world religion, except Judaism, which is the forerunner of Christianity, as many converts realize. Everything in Judaism prepares the individual for faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

In some cases, no one knows if the founder of a given religion even existed. They did not know if someone actually wrote the wisdom of that religion or simply gathered it from others, or both. They know next to nothing about the facts because the biographies were written centuries later and full of fables.

Those from India are full of mythical stories. Others from the East are magical. And some are occult, calling upon "the powers" to prosper the adherents.

The New Testament was written during the era of Jesus, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and coming from eyewitnesses or from the circle of witnesses. They were not anxious to emphasize themselves, so we only have scraps, such as assigning the Gospel of Mark to Peter's circle.

The Fourth Gospel was written by the Apostle. Luke was a companion of Paul, and so forth. The great certainly of the New Testament comes from the eye-witness experiences, which solidified all the early training. The first followers were thrown into the depths at the crucifixion, but trained by the risen Christ. Knowing He had conquered death, the victory was already won for them when they faced violent opposition.



17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

This reference to the baptism of Jesus reminds us of the Father/Son relationship, the harmony of the first three Gospels and John - and Peter here. The divinity of Christ was something that grew in their minds as they experienced His divine power and favor from God the Father.

We always saying, "I can hardly believe that. I have never seen anything like that." We will say that about first-time witnessing an unusual event, even something from nature we have not noticed before. Grasping the divinity of Christ and trusting in His power and compassion was a difficult transition for the disciples.

Now we have the written witnesses and studies from century after century, and still some nominal Christians need to be reminded of the basics.

18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 

The voice from God also came to the inner circle when Jesus was transfigured.

I have to talk about metamorphosis, the Greek term we translate as Transfiguration.

Just to show how hard something is to believe - and it happens all around us. A caterpillar wraps himself in a cocoon when he is nice and fat from summer eating. We did this with Monarch caterpillars in our kitchen. We put in a stick in the glass jar, kept feeding them, and one day, they were suspended from the stick and all wrapped up in silk.

Needless to say, silk is very special. The type that came from China was so valuable that monks stole some of the caterpillars and established them in Constantinople. Silk was very precious.

But here is the routine miracle, if we can call it that. We all say, "Yes, it turns into a butterfly." But lo, it is more complicated than that. The caterpillar dissolves itself into liquid. At some point the cocoon can be opened and only liquid is inside. But within that are organelles that reconstitute a caterpillar into a butterfly that can dry out and fly away. The green coffin with golden nails turns the color of the Monarch while it is maturing. Then it opens up to dry out and fly away. 

That medium stage fascinates me, because it is beyond my comprehension that caterpillar liquid can become a butterfly. If we examine all the processes that run our gardens, the same can be said, over and over. But this one we can see before our eyes.

And so the apostle Peter is teaching us, "I saw this happen, and it was a reprise of the baptism of Jesus. This is why I have such confidence in this message of the Gospel."

That took them to the opposition, where the Gospel also lodged and grew, tiny in size at first, but global now.

I invite evolutionists to like my page on Creation Gardening. They are the best writers I know and we are Facebook friends. They are unlikely to accept, to read, to follow, but they have been invited.


19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

There is no lack of certainty in this message, because 12 apostles traveled with Jesus and witnessed the miracles and recorded His teaching. Judas did not take heed and was replaced.

Those who have seen, heard, and experienced the Truth are not likely to be dissuaded, but there are temptations. That is why God gives us so many places where the same Truth is taught in different ways, with different words. Also, God prepares us, as He did the Apostles, with various trials and difficulties, so the Truth is known with certainty.

That is why Christians today must learn the basics themselves, since others are too caught up in pleasing man to know and learn the foundations of the faith. I was told once, "You do not stick to the memorized talking points. You knock people off balance and that drives them crazy."

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Here is one of the most important passages in the New Testament. Clergy and professors (all denominations) want to say, "This is something I have found by myself." And people are excited because it is new and different. Their itching ears are pleased, and the new dogma becomes more appealing for being different. Rather than weakening their tenacity, it grows when anyone says, "I never heard such nonsense before." 

The opposite approach is from the Bereans, who tested what the apostles taught from the Old Testament Scriptures, which was pleasing to those leaders. 

Acts 17
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.