From Here to Eternity-Feb. 19, 2012

“You Are For Me” by Kari Jobe was our message in music before the sermon.  It is a beautiful song and was beautifully done.  The basic message of the song comes from Romans 8:31, ” What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?”  It is in this knowledge that we can find hope day-to-day as we seek him.

The disciples needed this same hope as they hear from Jesus that he is going to die.  Imagine if you can the difficulty of hearing from the person themselves that they are going to die and that to follow him they may also be facing death.  Mark 9:2-9 reports six days later, confused and bewildered, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with them up on a high mountain where they were alone.

In this alone time with Jesus he was transfigured before them, becoming dazzling white beyond anything on this earth.  These weary disciples after hearing the horrible news that Jesus, their master, would have to die they are allowed to see him in all his glory.  The glory that he left to enter this world and the glory to which he would return.  Also appearing with him were Moses and Elijah.  He was talking with them.  These exalted men of faith had been dead for many years are now talking with Jesus as if they know him.  They do because Jesus was before they were, he is God in the flesh.

The men were a little scared and Peter says, “it is good for us to be here.  Let us put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  Peter in the fear and wonder of the moment recognizes it is good to be where Jesus is, but we can not always remain on the mountain top and build houses to Jesus and the great men of faith.  It is in those moments that we are refreshed and reminded of the power of God in Christ.

The a cloud appeared and enveloped them and a voice saying, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!”  It is good and appropriate to worship Jesus, but in our worship often we forget that worship begins in recognizing Christ for who he is and then forming an obedient response.  The voice of God, like at Jesus’ baptism, confirms that Jesus is God’s Son, whom he loves, and that he should be listened to and obeyed.

In today’s society those who profess believe want to do so by building a place to come and “worship” Christ, and separate the rest of our lives from this place of worship.  As Peter acknowledges, rightly so, it is good for us to be here, it is not intended that we always remain here.  The command of God was to listen.

What is it then the Jesus is saying?  John 14:1-14 Jesus knows that what is about to happen is difficult for his disciples to take in.  So he offers them comfort, and tells them he will prayer a place for them, not vice versa as in passage in Mark.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in me.”  Don’t be trouble, trust God who on the mount of transfiguration confirmed who just was and instructed them to listen and trust Jesus.

Jesus then tells them that it is he who will be preparing a place, not for himself, but for those who know him, and love him.  That he will prepare this place and return and take them to be with him.  He tells them they know the way.  Thomas said they didn’t know where he was going so they couldn’t know the way.  Jesus tells them, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  There is only one way to the Father and that is through Jesus.

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”  We are often like Philip just wanting a little more proof and wanting to see the Father and missing the reality of Jesus and the Father as one.  Jesus then says, “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”  In this moment we are reminded of the words of God, this is my Son, listen to him.  Believe me, as almost the same as saying listen to me, trust what I am saying, and at the least trust what you have seen.  This seeing is proof but faith is about maturing to the point of trusting Jesus before the proof, based on his faithfulness and proof in the past.  Little faith is required if the burden of proof must be met before trust or belief can occur.

It is this crisis of belief that could cripple these effective witness of these disciples.  If they can’t trust Jesus is who he says and have faith that he is God, and that he and the Father are one.  How then will they be able to ask, in faith not proof, for God to work in a situation if they do not have faith that he can or will.  This is of the utmost importance because of what Jesus says next to them.

He tells them that anyone who has faith in him will be doing what he Jesus himself had been doing.  It is impossible without faith.  Jesus tells them he will do whatever they ask in his name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  This is not a blank check to ask for anything and it be done.  It is understood that those who know him, will be seeking and asking for things that would bring glory to the Father, as he says, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.

In our time of need we can know that God is for us, we can trust his word, and we can trust his Son.  When life gets tough we look to the glorified risen Jesus for hope.  We can worship him in all things.  We do not need to build a place for him, because he already resides in our hearts, rather we need to listen to and obey him.  We can find comfort in Jesus and hope for tomorrow, for he is preparing a place for us rather than us for him.  In that place we will be with him.  What a glorious hope we have in him.  In the time that we have on this earth, until we find ourselves with Christ in that place, we need to be living as he did trusting the power of God at work in his life, and living to bring glory to God in all that we do.

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