7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Dear Friends in Christ,
I have to admit when I was a kid I wasn’t perfect at everything. As much as I wish I could say I was perfect, I can’t. One thing that I was absolutely horrible at and still am today is seeing the hidden picture in those magic eye pictures. Just to check that I’m still not very good at them I looked some up on the Internet, and nope still can’t see the image. All I see is the picture that is in front of me. I don’t think I will ever witness the hidden image in those magic eye photos. I’m really starting to think that they aren’t real and people just say they see the magical hidden picture. I doubt they actually exist.
Deep down inside me I know that those magic eye photos just are veiled to my eyes. I can’t see what is hidden because of the veil that is over it. It’s similar to how God was veiled to His people in the Old Testament. They were unable able to witness the glory of God with their human eyes. If they did they wouldn’t have survived and been able to share the majesty of God to others. Moses would even veil himself when speaking to the Israelites after being in the presence of God because the Israelites in their sinfulness were terrified to see the manifestation of God’s glory. Even when Jesus walked on this earth His divinity was veiled. It wasn’t like when you saw Jesus He had a glowing aura around Him. He didn’t look any different than anybody else. But in our Gospel reading for today we heard about Christ revealing His divine nature. Peter, James, and John all witnessed Jesus divinity in its full brilliance. As all this was going on God spoke from heaven once again declaring who Jesus was with these words, “This is my beloved Son; listen to Him.” God first declared this at Christ’s baptism, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Not only did God affirm this but even a centurion did at the crucifixion, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” The rest of my time this morning I want to use these three statements as our outline for where we are going.
We have these proclamations of who Jesus was yet people’s eyes are veiled to whom Jesus truly was. Even the Pharisees and Sadducees of the time didn’t recognize who Jesus was. They saw Him as somebody looking to cause trouble, somebody who blasphemed, and somebody not even worth listening to. And today people still don’t see Jesus for who He was. I’m sure if you go to Times Square in New York you will get countless ideas of whom Jesus was. Some might say He was a good person, a teacher, He was crazy, and the most heartbreaking is those who say He never existed. All of these viewpoints are veiled to the truth of who Jesus was. He was the true Son of God, just as God had pronounced at various times in Jesus’ life. As we look at those two times God proclaimed this and the centurion at the crucifixion we will see the importance of each time they were spoken.
God proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” at Jesus’ baptism. It was there at the Jordan River that Jesus’ public ministry began. It was a ministry that was all about serving others. At Jesus’ baptism God spoke that He was well pleased with Jesus. God was well pleased because Jesus fulfilled all righteousness and the law, something all mankind has failed to do. We all are about as good as fulfilling the law as I am at seeing what is in those silly magic eye pictures. And that is not very good. Jesus on the other hand fulfilled the law perfectly. It’s important to understand that when Jesus lived in this world that just because Jesus was God doesn’t mean He wasn’t born under the same laws that we are held to. In Galatians 4 it says, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law.” As Paul says not only was Jesus born under the law but also He was born of a woman. That signifies that not only was Jesus, God, but also He was man. He felt the same temptations that all people since the beginning of time faced.
Even though He faced those temptations, He resisted. He lived His life according to the God’s will. He didn’t fall into sin, which causes a separation from God. You and me and every other human being since the beginning of time can’t say the same thing. As much as we wish we could say we have done everything perfectly we can’t. We are sinners. It’s those sins in our lives that have caused a separation from God. And on our own there is nothing we could do to close that gap. We would always come up just a bit short. Christ closes that gap. Jesus is the Son of God and God is well pleased because He lived a perfect life.
The second time God proclaims Jesus as His Son was at the Transfiguration with these words, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” Moses had foretold that God would raise up a prophet to whom the people should listen. Jesus was that prophet. He alone knows the Father, who has handed over all things to His Son. Our confessions say, “All who want to be saved ought to listen to this preaching. For the preaching and hearing of God’s Word are the Holy Spirit’s instruments. By, with, and through these instruments the Spirit desires to work effectively, to convert people to God, and to work in them both to will and to do.”
What was the message that Christ was preaching? He was teaching the people that He had come to be their Savior. I love the way that Jesus puts it in Mark 2:17, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Now I’ll admit going to the doctor is one of my least favorite things to do. In fact that is my last resort when I’m not feeling good or I’m in some sort of pain from cheap shots from Pastor Meyer on the basketball court. I don’t like going because they are just going to tell me what’s wrong. But I will be the first to admit that I’m a sinner and I need a physician of the soul for that. We all are in that boat, all of us our sick with sin. Thankfully, we have a physician who is never running behind and always has time to see us, that physician is Christ. He came to heal sinners. He came to pick up the shattered pieces of our life caused by sin and He will put them back together. He is the Son of God who came to cover us in His righteousness.
He was able to cover us in His righteousness with His sacrifice on the cross. It was there that He paid our debt. It was there on Calvary where the centurion said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” The centurion may not have understood his confession, but he recognized that Jesus is true God and true man. The veil of who Jesus was, was removed from him. Jesus had to be the true God otherwise He wouldn’t have been able to resist the temptations that the devil placed before Him. And He also had to be true man. He had to be born under the same laws in which we live, otherwise His death and resurrection would have been meaningless. He had to be held to the same standards as us so He could stand in our place and receive the punishment that was owed because of our sins. He did just that on Calvary. He died in ordered that we would be saved and be covered in His righteousness.
The Bible gives to us a clear picture of who Jesus is; He isn’t veiled to our eyes anymore. We know that He is our Lord and Savior because of the veil being removed by Scripture. The three disciples that witnessed the Transfiguration witnessed in person the divinity of Christ. As they came down from the mountain top Jesus charged them with not telling anyone with what they saw until the Son of Man had been risen. The disciples listened to this charge from Jesus and it wasn’t until after His resurrection when they went all out preaching the death and resurrection of Christ. They wanted to give all people a clear picture of who Jesus was, their Lord and Savior. It’s that message that desperately needs to be proclaimed in our world today. There are still many people who have a veiled view of who Jesus was. We are able to help people remove that veil by sharing the Scriptures with them about who Jesus was and why He came into this world. All of us need a doctor to heal us from the sin of disease. We are blessed that despite our sinfulness God can use us to reveal the truth about who He was and what His mission was.