Mark 9:1
Then Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God arrive with power."
Sermons
The TransfigurationR. Green Mark 9:1-8
A Vision of HomeMark 9:1-10
Christ the Light of the BodyC. Kingsley, M. A.Mark 9:1-10
Dust of Gold Gathered from a Variety of AuthorsJ. Morison, D. D., J. Morison, D. D., J. Morison, D. D., Bengel., Bengel., Dr. Brown., Hall.Mark 9:1-10
Ecstasy Cannot be ContinuedA. P. Foster.Mark 9:1-10
Elias with MosesH. M. Luckock, D. D.Mark 9:1-10
Exceptional Hours in LifeJ. Parker, D. D.Mark 9:1-10
How We Know There is a HeavenDr. Newton.Mark 9:1-10
It is Good for Us to be HereBishop Hall., T. M. Lindsay, D. D., J. H. Godwin.Mark 9:1-10
Man's TransformationR. W. Evans.Mark 9:1-10
Moses and Elias Talking with JesusJ. Parker, D. D.Mark 9:1-10
On the Holy MountW. M. Taylor, D. D.Mark 9:1-10
Secrecy Enjoined Till the Son of Man be Risen from the DeadJ. Parker, D. D.Mark 9:1-10
The Decease At Jerusalem; Or, the Power of the CrossDr. Newton.Mark 9:1-10
The Glorified SaintThomas Jones.Mark 9:1-10
The Hiding of the Higher LifeJ. Parker, D. D.Mark 9:1-10
The Influence of Heaven Here BelowA. P. Foster.Mark 9:1-10
The Lessons of the TransfigurationS. Cox, D. D.Mark 9:1-10
The TransfigurationJ. W. Boulding.Mark 9:1-10
The Transfiguration and its TeachingsDean Goulburn.Mark 9:1-10
The Transfiguration Gives Us a Pledge and Earnest of Our Personal Identity in the Risen StateH. M. Luckock, D. D.Mark 9:1-10
The Transfiguration of ChristW. J. Brock, B. A.Mark 9:1-10
The Transfiguration of ChristDr. Newton.Mark 9:1-10
The Use of Religious ExcitementBishop Walsham How.Mark 9:1-10
Transfiguration of ChristW. H. Lewis, D. D.Mark 9:1-10
A Glimpse of GloryJ.J. Given Mark 9:1-13
A brief interval of six days occurs, "days of the Son of man," of which no record remains. How much of even this brief ministry to men seems to be lost! Yet is the account of each day to be given when, to every man favored with his presence and teaching, it is said, "Render the account of thy stewardship." The silence of the record is an appropriate prelude to the sublime event which follows. "He went up into a mountain to pray." "Peter, James, and John" - "the flower and crown of the apostolic band" - were the privileged three who alone witnessed the scene, though the few graphic words of the historian, "kept and told to no man until after the Son of man had risen from the dead," have presented to the eye of the Church in all ages a clearly defined picture of it. And yet in viewing it we are dazzled by excess of light. Few and simple must be our words. "He was transfigured," a word which is afterwards explained to apply to "the fashion of his countenance." It was "altered;" so St. Luke. St. Matthew adds, "his face did shine as the sun;" while "his garment became glistering, exceeding white," "white as the light," "so as no fuller on earth can whiten them:" Beautiful addition - so naive, so simple! That Divine nature, which in the incarnate body was always transfigured before the eyes of men, now burst forth to view, radiating from within; the hidden divinity shining through the veil of the flesh until its veil of raiment became radiant with light.

I. In the history and development of the incarnate Son this event must have had. its high import. What is personal to himself, however, is almost entirely hidden. Of the "talking" we hear only one word. The two men, "which were Moses and Elijah," "the founder and the great defender of the old dispensation," "spake of his decease. Very soon after the days were well-nigh come that he should be received up, and "he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem." Henceforth his steps tend to the Cross.

II. But, whatever purpose was answered in respect of Jesus himself, the revelation most assuredly was, in the highest degree, important to the disciples, and through them to the Church at large.

1. Here is beheld the harmony, the unity, of the Law and the prophets and the Christ.

2. Here, within the "bright cloud" which "overshadowed them," though "they feared as they entered into it," they were made "eye-witnesses of his majesty;" they witnessed the "honor and glory" which "he received from God the Father."

3. They heard the "voice," and heard it "come out of heaven," which bore testimony for all to receive: "This is my beloved Son." In this lay the "honor and glory" which "he received." So thought that one of the three who declared, "It is good to be here," and who would fain have built tabernacles on this "holy mount." This testimony had already been borne when, at the baptism, "a voice out of the" same "heaven" declared to him, "thou art my beloved Son." Here the witness is of him to others: "This is my beloved Son;" and with the additional word of command, "Hear ye him." Once again afterwards, when the Father glorified his Name, there came "a voice out of heaven" directly speaking to him; though, as he declared, "this voice hath not come for my sake, but for your sakes." How truly might he say of all that he received, "not for my sake, but for your sakes"! Now, not to Peter only, but also to James and John, is it revealed," Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Now they with him share this blessedness which "flesh and blood" could not impart; now we, and with us all the Church, rejoice in the knowledge of this primary truth. How our hearts long to see his glory and hear the heavenly voice, and dwell on "the holy mount" of vision! And yet, how "good" soever it might be, it is better for the cultivation of our hearts in righteousness, and far better for the suffering, sinful world, that we go down into the valley to struggle with the evil spirit, and by faith and love and obedience glorify our living Head, and seek a meetness for those "tabernacles" which are not made by human hands. - G.







And after six days Jesus taketh with Him Peter.
The transfiguration of our Lord admonishes us of a change which we are to undergo in this life. We must be conformed in our souls and spirits, and the use of our bodies, to the image of the Son of God (Romans 8:29), while we are here, so that we may be conformed to the body of His glory hereafter (Philippians 3:21). O, then, what a stake have we in our treatment of this body. We must keep it in all holiness, even on its own account, and not only because it ministers to soul and spirit. In this same body we are to meet the Lord, and upon the use of it depends the condition in which we shall meet Him, in glory or contempt. We must serve Him and do His work in it now, if we hope to serve Him in it in His heavenly and everlasting kingdom hereafter. But how can we serve Him in it, if we employ it in the service of a different and contrary master? And how can we keep it pure and undefiled as His peculiar vessel, if we be not watchful against the advances of that master, who has so many natural friends in its house? For has not Satan fast friends in its corrupt affections and sinful passions? Look at the man who has clouded his reason, palsied his limbs, by strong drink. See the disgusting, degrading spectacle of his helplessness; hear the revilings, the folly, the blasphemings of his imperfect speech. Can such a one entertain any serious thoughts about the body that shall be? Can he be living in the hope of being glorified together with Jesus Christ? See another man. His body is seen anywhere else but in this place, where is the assembling of the body of Christ in one body, one spirit, to give glory and worship to our great Head, with one mind, with one mouth; to stand before that throne where sits the Son of Man at the right hand of God, in that body which suffered and rose again. What can he care about the most precious privilege of the body that shall he; the standing face to face before his Saviour in a like body, amid the company of His saints in glorified bodies? In the same manner we may go on and deal with sins less open and gross than these, and show how inconsistent they all are with any hope of a joyful resurrection in a glorified body; and how necessary is the bath of tears of repentance to all who commit them, that so their sins may be washed out for the sake of Jesus Christ, and they may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless. Now, therefore, while yet it is the season, let us do the things which concern the body that shall be. Our present body is the seed of the body to come. It may be as unlike it, as the small black shapeless seed of the tulip is to that beautiful flower. Still it is the seed, and according as we sow it, we shall reap. If it go into the ground laden with sin, ignorant of God's service, the mere corrupt remains of what has been expended in folly, in idleness, in unprofitableness, in rebellion against the commandments of God, in neglect of duties, in abuse of privileges, then it will come out of it a vile and noxious weed, which shall be cast into the everlasting fire. But if the sinner shall turn away from his sin, and by a change of heart and life conform to the example of Christ; if he will take his body out of the service of sin, and conformity to the world, and use it in the service of righteousness; if he will thus, in this world, be transformed into the likeness of the body of Christ, in all temperance, in all purity, in all deeds of holy living, then he will have "sown to the Spirit"; and of the Spirit he shall, through the Lord and Giver of life, reap life everlasting. In a body, no longer of flesh and blood (which cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven), in a spiritual body, compared with the glory and powers of which the most beautiful body in the flesh is corruption, the strongest and most healthy is the impotence of death; he shall stand on the everlasting mount of heaven, transfigured from this mortal body in the raiment of a body shining as the sun, white as no fuller on earth can white, and gathered into the company of the sons of God, such as Moses and Elias, and beholding the Son of God in eternal glory face to face, shall say with the joyful cry of the song of the full sense of thankful blessedness, "Master, it is good for us to be here."

(R. W. Evans.)

I. THAT SECLUSION IS NEEDED FOR THE HIGHEST DEVOTION.

II. THAT A DEVOTIONAL SPIRIT SEES NEW GLORY IN CHRIST AND IN HIS WORD.

III. THAT DEVOTION IS NOT THE WHOLE LIFE.

IV. THAT DEVOTION FURNISHES SUPPORT FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE DUTIES AND THE ENDURANCE OF THE TRIALS OF LIFE.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

There were other wonders in that glorious vision besides the countenance of our Lord. His raiment, too, was changed, and became all brilliant, white as the light itself. Was not that a lesson to them? Was it not as if our Lord had said to them, "I am a king, and have put on glorious apparel, but whence does the glory of My raiment come? I have no need of fine linen, and purple, and embroidery, the work of men's hands; I have no need to send My subjects to mires and caves to dig gold and jewels to adorn My crown: the earth is Mine, and the fulness thereof. All this glorious earth, with its trees and its flowers, its sunbeams and its storms, is Mine. I made it — I can do what I will with it. All the mysterious laws by which the light and the heat flow out forever from God's throne, to lighten the sun, and the moon, and the stars of heaven — they are Mine. I am the light of the world — the light of men's bodies as well as of their souls; and here is My proof of it. Look at Me. I am He that 'decketh Himself with light as it were with a garment, who layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters, and walketh upon the wings of the wind.'" This was the message which Christ's glory brought the apostles — a message which they could never forget. The spiritual glory of His countenance had shown them that He was a spiritual king — that His strength lay in the spirit of power, and wisdom, and beauty, and love, which God had given Him without measure; and it showed them, too, that there was such a thing as a spiritual body, such a body as each of us some day shall have if we be found in Christ at the resurrection of the just — a body which shall not hide a man's spirit when it becomes subject to the wear and tear of life, and disease, and decay; but a spiritual body — a body which shall be filled with our spirits, which shall be perfectly obedient to our spirits — a body through which the glory of our spirits shall shine out, as the glory of Christ's Spirit shone out through His body at the transfiguration. "Brethren, we know not yet what we shall be, but this we do know, that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:3).

(C. Kingsley, M. A.)

The spirits, good and bad, are all about us. There are no communications from the spirits, but they are here and interested in our affairs. The angels are here. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" And the fallen spirits are here as well. Who dare say that there are not demoniac possessions today? They are not common in Christian lauds. but I cannot regard them impossible. Men sometimes become satanically ugly from no other apparent cause than that they give loose rein to their passions, gratify them without restraint, and so lose, in time, all power of controlling their passions by any consideration of self-interest. The assassin Guiteau was such a man, and there is little doubt that Guiteau was possessed of devils. We are told that our "adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." No doubt that the unseen world enwraps us, while we must guard ourselves most sedulously from the superstition and deception too often connected with the truth.

(A. P. Foster.)

Be patient in the darkness; you cannot have the light all the time. Peter would have three tabernacles. No, no! it was not best. We can have no continuing ecstasy. It would rack the soul to pieces. Many have glimpses, but no eye can look steadily on the sun. We must console ourselves with memories and anticipations. These supreme moments which come to us occasionally in the Christian life are foretastes of the heavenly bliss.

(A. P. Foster.)

Years ago, after a weary climb up the flank of a high mountain, a friend led me by a path through the woods to the head of a gorge. On either side, to right and left, stood the huge mountain, while before us, at the end of a mighty gulf, was an enchanting vista. Five or six miles away a village was full in sight, nestling among the hills, surrounded with lovely green, and encircled with glories such as only a setting sun can paint on the western sky. There was our home. Now, beyond doubt, the vision on Tabor was to the wearied disciples, whose feet already had begun to tread a dark and dangerous road, far more wonderful and delightful. It was to them a glimpse of home. Far off, indeed, it seemed, and yet there at the end were glories ineffable.

God leaves not His people in the midst of many and sore trials, without vouchsafing to them occasional periods of spiritual refreshment. The sight then given to them of the King in His beauty left a heavenly savour upon the souls of the disciples, which abode with them to their dying day.

I. THE GLIMPSES OF CHRIST OBTAINED, AND THE FORETASTES OF GLORY EXPERIENCED, IN THE SANCTUARY. Between that holy mountain and a Christian sanctuary many points of resemblance are discoverable.

1. The mountain summit is a secluded spot, removed from the din and turmoil of the earth; the house of God is a spot from which worldly affairs and associations are excluded; where the things of time and sense fall into the background.

2. The holy hill was made by Jesus a place of prayer. God's house is a house of prayer. It is chiefly in the holy converse with God which is there carried on that the furrows of care and sorrow are obliterated from his brow, the earthliness of his spirit is worn away, and its features made to glow with a tinge of heavenly lustre.

3. The holy hill was a mountain of testimony. A two-fold testimony was here borne to Jesus. Jesus alone remained: a token that He fulfilled the Law and Prophets. Also, "This is My beloved Son." In the preached word in the sanctuary man bears his testimony to Christ: a suffering Redeemer should be presented to the mind of the people in God's house of prayer. Also the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ — "He shall testify of Me."

4. In both places alike slumberers are awakened — "Peter and they that were with Him were heavy with sleep, and when they were awake they saw His glory": a beautiful emblem of the Word of God reaching down to the sinner's heart through the joints of a harness of insensibility, and rousing him from the death-like trance of sin to an apprehension of spiritual truth. When such an one is awakened, his attention is first engaged with the Saviour's glory. The Light of the World is the central object on which his eye fastens. But after the soul has once apprehended the beauty and excellency of Christ, its views of Him in all His offices are continually enlarged. Fresh glimpses of the King's beauty are vouchsafed to it from time to time in the sanctuary.

II. THE DESIGN WITH WHICH SUCH GLIMPSES OF CHRIST AND FORETASTES OF GLORY ARE VOUCHSAFED.

1. One main design of the transfiguration in reference to the apostles was to strengthen their faith in their Master's Divinity.

2. Another design was, doubtless, to nerve and prepare the apostles for endurance in the cause of Christ.

III. THE TEMPORARY AND TRANSIENT CHARACTER OF THESE GLIMPSES OF CHRIST AND FORETASTES OF GLORY WHICH THE PEOPLE OF GOD EXPERIENCE HERE BELOW.

1. Much as we could wish to retail that enjoyable sense of God's presence, yet it is God's will that after we have refreshed our spirits by these foretastes of glory, we should, "in the strength of that meat," descend once again to the plain and encounter, for a few years more, the buffetings of the world. The soul cannot always be in its pleasant places, nor, while this life lasts, does God intend that it should. There is a daily round of duty which it is the Lord's will that we shall execute as His appointed task. Genuine apprehensions of Christ's love are incentives to exertion, not to sloth and self-indulgence.

2. The questioning which, when our Lord approached the multitude, was being carried on between the scribes and His disciples. The first sounds which greeted His Divine ear on reaching the plain were sounds of debate. Nothing grates with more harshness on the ear of one accustomed to hold communion with God, and to live much in a spiritual atmosphere, than religious controversy. Those who are called to controversy should be much in the sanctuary, and submit a willing ear to the testimony of Jesus.

(Dean Goulburn.)

I. WHAT THE DISCIPLES SAW — "He was transfigured before them."

1. The unveiled glory of Christ.

2. The glorified attendants from the world of spirits.

3. The bright cloud of the Divine Presence. Not a dark cloud as under the old dispensation, but a cloud of light.

II. WHAT THE DISCIPLES HEARD.

1. An affecting conversation.

2. An approving testimony.

3. An authoritative command.

III. WHAT THE DISCIPLES FELT.

1. The blessedness of heavenly society.

2. A solemn awe — "sore afraid."

3. The Saviour's touch.

IV. PRACTICAL INSTRUCTIONS.

1. This manifestation was given to disciples.

2. This communication was given whilst they were praying.

3. To prepare them for future trials.

(W. J. Brock, B. A.)

1. One design of the transfiguration, undoubtedly, was to give the disciples some idea of Christ's future appearance, when He should come in His kingdom.

2. But, again, another purpose of the transfiguration was probably to honour Christ and His gospel.

3. But, again, we have in this narrative, in strong contrast with the glories of the transfiguration, the weakness of poor humanity.

4. But why, let us again ask, has our Church selected such a portion of Scripture as this to be read at this season? It seems, at first view, very inappropriate. What have we to do in Lent with the glories of the transfiguration? Why, when we are called to humble ourselves in prayer and confession of sin, are we directed to such a portion of God's Word as this? Because the most remarkable feature in this transaction was, that amid the splendours of that transfiguration, the death of Christ has the most prominent place.

(W. H. Lewis, D. D.)

Vivid emotions are, by the law of their being, transient. They cannot last. Possibly, their very intensity is, roughly speaking, the measure of their evanescence. Souls cannot live and work on day by day with the emotions at high pressure. Now, what is to be said of these Occasional times of excited feeling?

I. THAT NO MAN MUST TAKE RELIGIOUS FEELING FOR RELIGION. But after that, what? That all such excited feelings are false, and hollow, and perilous, and must, therefore, be at once suppressed? That plain, simple obedience to God's will is all in all, and, therefore, all deep emotions are evil and to be avoided? Surely, no. Surely, the true thing to be said is this, that God gives these periods of strong feeling as mighty helps to our weak and wavering courage; that they are a spur to the halting obedience, and a goad to the reluctant will. True, these feelings must be guided and regulated and led into practical channels, else, of course, they will run to waste, and leave behind them only the barrenness of a field, over which the flood has rushed headlong in its devastating course. I am not speaking of ungoverned and fanatical excitement, but of deep and powerful religious emotion, when I say that God gives it to carry us by its force over the earlier difficulties of the new and converted life, or to nerve us to resolutions and set us upon courses of action, which would, probably, be impossible to the calculating calmness of dispassionate reason. But I think, my brethren, these times of unusual religious fervour have another use. They open to the soul visions of a state of love, and joy, and heavenly mindedness, which, if afterwards they turn into nothing but regret and longing, nevertheless, leave behind them a blessing. It is good for the weary toiler, conscious of his cold, shallow heartedness, the poverty of his faith, and love, and hope, to be able to say, though sighing as he says it: — "I have known the blessedness of a bright, triumphant faith. I have understood what it is to pray with holy fervour." Can it be well to say, "I have known," when it were so much better to be able to say, "I know"? Yes, I think it is well; for, if he be wise who says it, he will know that these higher, deeper, keener feelings cannot be always with him. He will gather up the truths and the duties they have brought to him, as we gather up the bright shells and gem-like pebbles on the seashore when the spring tide has ebbed. Those will be kept, when the surging waves that bore them to our feet have retired. He will regard the swelling of his emotions, when the sun of God's grace has melted the snow of his chilled heart as the overflow of a river; and he will no more expect the flow of his religious feeling to maintain the fulness and force to which it has at times risen, than he would expect a river to be always at the flood. Let us once realize that these more vivid religious emotions are occasional helps and not permanent states, that they reveal to us what might be, but for the weakness and earthliness of our nature, and are in themselves no proofs of high attainments of grace, and then we may thank God for them, and not be afraid or ashamed to say, "I have known," when we dare not say, "I know."

II. HOW FAR IS RELIGIOUS EMOTION TO FORM ANY PART OF OUR DAILY RELIGIOUS LIFE; OR, IN OTHER WORDS, HOW FAR ARE THE FEELINGS TO BE REGULARLY EMPLOYED IN THE SERVICE OF GOD? What shall we say as to ordinary religious emotion? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Assuredly, as I repeat, our feelings were not given us for the purpose of being crushed out. Our religion is not one of mere dry duty. The very fact that love holds so prominent a place in it is a proof that, at least, some amount of religious feeling is necessary for a true religious life. But I would ask this: If we read our Bibles candidly, does it not seem that a greater amount of religious emotion is expected to find place in the daily life of Christian men than is commonly felt or commonly supposed? St. Paul was a most thoroughly practical man, eminently a man of action, always up and doing. He surely was one who would scorn to let feeling take the place of obedience, or to suffer the simple daily duties of life to escape under the cloak of heavenly aspirations and high-flown sentiment; yet, if anything is plain in his Epistles, it is that the life of duty, however rigid and self-sacrificing, without love, joy, peace — a life of obedience, in other words, without emotion, would utterly fail to satisfy him. Has, in a word, even excitement no work to do, no end to answer, in the daily Christian life? Take any keen, eager, impulsive, excitable person, may I not believe that God gave such person the power of quick impulse and eager aspiration for some worthy end? What is that end, my brethren? Is it to enjoy a ball, or a novel, or a sport? One would really think so when one hears of so many people who, themselves keenly enjoying all manner of worldly amusements, and throwing themselves into them heart and soul, as we say, when they see others as keenly and engrossingly giving themselves to religious occupations, settle the matter with a self-satisfied smile by saying, "Oh, it is all excitement!" Might it not be a better way of looking at it if they should think and say, "I don't know how such an one can enjoy so much religion. I only know I don't and can't. I wish I could. I wish I could take delight in high and holy things."

(Bishop Walsham How.)

The practical question for us to consider is this — How does the transfiguration fit into our lives? What should be its effect on us?

I. IT CONFIRMS OUR FAITH IN CHRIST AS THE TRUE REDEEMER OF MEN. II. IT SHOULD ANIMATE US TO FOLLOW CHRIST IN THE WAY OF THE CROSS. Our Lord, after announcing that He must needs die, taught His disciples that they must die with Him and like Him; that they, too, must deny themselves and take up the cross; that they must lose their life in order to save it; that to gain the whole world and lose their own souls would be but a sorry exchange; and that, if they were afraid or ashamed thus to follow Him, He would be ashamed of them when He came in the glory of His Father and of the holy angels (St. Matthew 16:21-28; St. Mark 8:31-38; St. Luke 9:21-26). Self-sacrifice is the law of the highest life; we can only rise into the life of love as we deny and crucify the self in us; we must die to the flesh if we would live and walk in the spirit; the body must die before we can rise into a sinless and perfect life. In one word, religion must be a life-long effort, a life-long sacrifice. Not in mere enjoyment, even though it be an enjoyment of worship, of growth in knowledge, or of quick spiritual response to fine thoughts and pure impulses, but by toil, by self-denial, by really spending ourselves in the service of God and man, by a constant reaching forth after still higher and nobler aims, do we rise into the life and follow the example of Christ Jesus our Lord. Try yourselves by this test, then. Ask yourselves whether your religion has yet become a sacred and inspiring reality to you, making toil, pain, sacrifice, death itself, welcome to you, if you may thus win Christ and be found in Him.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

Reasons are not far to find why these two should be brought back together from the other world to take part in the scene.

I. THEY WERE THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE QUICK AND DEAD. Moses had died; Elijah had ascended alive into heaven. They were types of the two great divisions which shall appear before the same Lord when He comes in the glory of which that was a glimpse and foretaste, the dead and the living both standing before the judgment seat of Christ.

II. BOTH HAD PASSED FROM EARTH IN MYSTERY: the first buried by the hand of God in some unfrequented valley apart from his countrymen; the other not dying, but vanishing instantaneously in the midst of life. Both had disappeared, no more to be seen by mortal eye till, in far-distant times, the same Hand that had carried them away should bring them back on the Mount of Transfiguration. It suggests the mighty truth, that, however we are taken, whether lost to men in the depth of the sea, or consumed by the devouring fire, it matters nothing to the Great Keeper of His people, Who will bring all back again at the last day.

III. But the chief motive, no doubt, was TO UNITE THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE THREE GREAT DISPENSATIONS OF DIVINE GOVERNMENT — the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel.

(H. M. Luckock, D. D.)

And doubtless one reason for the preservation of our identity is for mutual recognition — that we may know hereafter those whom we have known in the flesh. It puts before us a powerful incentive to make friends on earth with whom we may spend not only the life here, but the eternal life in heaven. Again, the scene opens up a further field of thought, when we recall the fact that St. Peter was able to recognize Moses and Elijah, though he had never seen them in the flesh. Shall we, then, recognize the great saints in the world to come, whom we have learnt by the study of their lives and work to know as though we had seen them face to face? There was clearly something — it, may have been some lingerings of the splendour which illumined his face after communing with God, which painters have tried to express by the familiar "horns of light" — we cannot tell what it was, but it satisfied the apostle that the form was none other than that of Moses. Will there be nothing by which, in like manner, we shall recognize the Baptist, or the Beloved Disciple, or the Blessed Virgin, or Mary of Magdala? Will the student of theology, who has read the mind of St. , or pictured the fiery Athanase, with his feeble frame but lion heart, confronting the world for the great mystery of the Blessed Trinity, find no means of identifying them when they meet hereafter? Will there be nothing to mark painters like or , or poets such as Dante, or Tasso, or Milton? It must surely be that marks of recognition, in all who have witnessed for God and moulded the minds of men by their words or works, will not be wanting.

(H. M. Luckock, D. D.)

If any earthly place or condition might have given warrant to Peter's motion, this was it.

1. Here was a hill — the emblem of heaven.

2. Here were two saints — the epitome of heaven.

3. Here was Christ — the God of heaven.

(Bishop Hall.)Peter and his fellows were so taken with the sight of the felicity they saw, that they desired to abide on the mount with Jesus and the saints. What moved them shows what will delight us when this transient world is over, and God will gather His people to Himself.

1. Here was but Hermon; and there will be heaven.

2. Here were but two saints; there, the mighty multitude no man can number.

3. Here was but Christ transfigured; there, He will sit at the right hand of God, enthroned in the majesty of heaven.

4. Here was a representation for a brief interval; there, a gift and permanent possession of blessedness.

(T. M. Lindsay, D. D.)The transfiguration teaches us that

(1)Special manifestations of favour attend entire submission to the Divine will;

(2)outward splendour is the proper accompaniment of inward excellence;

(3)Christ is attested to men as the object of Divine approval and delight;

(4)therefore they should love and trust, honour and obey Him;

(5)first lessons are to be retained, that further may be received;

(6)prophecy teaches that suffering belongs to the present service of God.

(J. H. Godwin.)

The Saviour was strengthened for conflict. Moses and Elias talked with Him, not concerning the dark aspects of His death, but its wonderful effects.

I. THE TRANSFIGURATION WAS A PREPARATION FOR THE DISCIPLES. They saw some manifestation of their Master's glory. How greatly this would strengthen them. Was a source of comfort in after times.

II. The transfiguration has its PRACTICAL LESSONS FOR US.

1. The mountain of prayer is always the mountain of transfiguration. If we would have our trials and sorrows transfigured, we must get up into the mount of converse with God. Here we see them in their dark aspect, only there can we learn how to glory in tribulation.

2. The hour of prayer is often a foretaste of future joy.

3. Let us always remember the decease which Jesus accomplished at Jerusalem. Christ's death is our one all-powerful argument with God. All blessing to the world, and to us, comes through that precious death. In heaven much of our converse will be of "the decease," etc.

(J. W. Boulding.)

Every faculty, thought, and emotion shall reflect His holiness, truth, and love. The leafless tree, trembling in the cold blast of the winter winds, is the image of what we now are; the same tree covered with foliage, blossoms, and fruit, is the symbol of what the sanctified soul shall be. The dark sorrowful cloud hanging heavily in the atmosphere represents our present state; that cloud penetrated by the rays of the morning light, fringed with gold, made luminous and beautiful by the splendour of the rising sun, is the expression of the glory that shall be revealed in the spirits of redeemed men. The mind shall be illumined with the pure light of knowledge unmingled with error; the heart shall be filled with all the emotions which constitute perfect bliss; the imagination shall soar to the highest regions and present nothing to the soul but visions of truth and beauty. The whole nature shall be in harmony with itself, with God, with the holy intelligences of the spirit world, and with all the circumstances in which it shall forever exist.

(Thomas Jones.)

The decease was the keystone of the arch of glory.

(J. Morison, D. D.)In the interior of Christ's being there must have been an infinite fulness of heavenliness, of all that constitutes the essential glory of heaven.

(J. Morison, D. D.)Hear ye Him, for His words embody the very thoughts, desires, and determinations of the Divine Mind.

(J. Morison, D. D.)The name of the mountain is not mentioned, and thereby superstition is prevented.

(Bengel.)The cloud shows that human nature cannot bear the glory of God without admixture or interposition.

(Bengel.)Ah! bright manifestations in this vale of tears are always departing manifestations.

(Dr. Brown.)How can we hope ever to be transfigured from a lump of corrupt flesh if we do not ascend and pray?

(Hall.)

There are exceptional hours in human history, when men utter words which attest the grandeur of the human mind, when the countenance burns with the fire of intelligent enthusiasm, and the voice reaches a tone of purer music than is born of earth; and in those exceptional hours we see somewhat of the dignity of human nature. Multiply this by infinitude, and we shall know something of what the disciples saw when Christ's "face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light."

(J. Parker, D. D.)

The hiding of the higher life will be in proportion to its compass and elevation. The young Christian talks more of his experience than the old Christian, just as a rill may make more noise than a river. An ordinary mother talks much of her child; but the mother of Christ "kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I. CHRIST'S LIFE NOT TO BE TOLD IN FRAGMENTS.

II. THE PARTS OF CHRIST'S LIFE ARE MUTUALLY EXPLANATORY.

III. THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST, THE GREAT RECONCILING AND ALL-EXPLAINING FACT IN HIS MINISTRY. His profoundest words would have had no meaning had He not known that He would rise again from the dead.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I. DEPUTED MEN ARE STILL LIVING.

II. DEATH DOES NOT DESTROY THE INDIVIDUALITY OF MEN.

III. THE GREATEST OF DEPARTED MEN ARE INTERESTED IN THE WORK OF CHRIST.

IV. IMMEDIATE PERSONAL COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DEPARTED SPIRITS AND MEN YET IN THE FLESH IS POSSIBLE.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

To what may we compare this wonderful change? Suppose you have before you the bulbous root of the lily plant. You look at it carefully, but there is nothing attractive about it. How rough and unsightly it appears! You close your eyes upon it for a brief space. You open them again. But what a change has taken place! That plain, homely-looking bulb has disappeared, and in its place there stands before you the lily plant. It has reached its mature growth. Its flower is fully developed, and blooming in all its matchless beauty! What a marvellous change that would be! And yet it would be but a feeble illustration of the more wonderful change that took place in our Saviour at His transfiguration. Here is another illustration. Suppose we are looking at the western sky, towards the close of day. Great masses of dark clouds are covering all that part of the heavens. They are but common clouds. There is nothing attractive or interesting about them. We do not care to take a second look at them. We turn from them for a little while, and then look at them again. In the meantime the setting sun has thrown his glorious beams upon them. How changed they now appear! All that was common place and unattractive about them is gone. How they glow and sparkle! Gold, and purple, and all the colours of the rainbow are blending, how beautifully, there! Are these the same dull clouds that we looked upon a few moments before? Yes; but they have been transfigured. A wonderful change has come over them. And here we have an illustration of our Lord's Transfiguration. The first wonder about this incident in His life is the wonderful change which took place in His appearance then.

(Dr. Newton.)

A Sunday school teacher was talking to one of her scholars about heaven, and the glory we shall have when we reach that blessed place. He was a bright boy, about nine or ten years old, named Charlie. After listening to her for a while, he said: "But you have never been there, Miss D., and how do you know there really is any such place?" "Charlie," said the teacher, "you have never been to London; how do you know there is such a city?" "O, I know that very well," said Charlie, "because my father is there; and he has sent me a letter, telling me all about it." "And God, my Father, is in the heavenly city," said Miss D., "and he has sent me a letter, telling me about the glory of heaven, and about the way to get there. The Bible is God's letter." "Yes, I see," said Charlie, after thinking awhile, "there must be a heaven, if you have got such a nice long letter from there." The lesson of hope is the first lesson taught us by the transfiguration.

(Dr. Newton.)

A heathen ruler had heard the story of the cross, and desired to know its power. When he was sick, and near his end, he told his servants to make him a large wooden cross, and lay it down in his chamber. When this was done, he said: "Take rue now and lay me on the cross, and let me die there." As he lay there dying, he looked in faith to the blood of Christ that was shed upon the cross, and said: "It lifts me up: it lifts me. Jesus saves me!" and thus he died. It was not that wooden cross that saved him; but the death of Christ, on the cross to which He was nailed — the death of which Moses and Elias talked with Him, that saved this heathen man. They knew what a blessing His death would be to the world, and this was why they talked about this death.

(Dr. Newton.)

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