Glory Be To Thee And You!
The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Fellowship of the
Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Exodus 24:12,16-18 “Now the LORD said to Moses, ‘Come up to Me
on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone
tablets with the law and the commandment which I have written for
their instruction.’ And the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai,
and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called
to Moses from the midst of the cloud. And to the eyes of the sons of
Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming
fire on the mountain top. And Moses entered the midst of the cloud as
he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty
days and forty nights.”
This morning we celebrate the Transfiguration of our Lord. As such all
three readings have at their core, the glory of God.
In the Old Testament lesson we heard, “The glory of the LORD rested on
Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He
called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. And to the eyes of the sons of Israel
the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the
mountain top.”
In the Epistle lesson St. Peter wrote of himself and James and John, “We
were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from
God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic
Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased.’” 1 Peter 1:16-17
As for our assigned Gospel lesson from the Gospel of St. Matthew, the word
“glory” isn’t used by Matthew to describe what the three disciples saw, but the
description fits the definition. Verse 2, “And He was transfigured before them;
and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.”
When St. Luke describes what the Peter, James, and John saw, he used the
word glory twice. “And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were
Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure
which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his
companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake,
they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him.” Luke 9:31-33 It is a
theological fact – where God is, there is His glory.
The word “glory” is one of those words that when asked to define it causes a
bit of a confusion. What is glory? Is it honor? Respect? Fame? Is it a private
thing or only associated with public acclaim or notice? How does someone earn or
get glory? Even the Scripture uses the word differently.
In the Old Testament, “glory” in regard to human beings is spoken of in
reference external specific manifestations and conditions. In regard to human
beings, “glory” refers to stations in life, one’s possessions, strength, or length of
Joseph’s glory (Gen 45:13) was found in his position in Egypt, second in
command. David’s glory was his position as king in Judah. Joshua’s (Num 27:20)
was his place of authority over the people of God. Jacob’s glory (Gen 31:1) was
his number of his servants and livestock (Gen 30:43).
Glory is also the wealth of the wicked rich (Psalm 49:16-17). The glory of a
husband is an industrious and ideal wife (Prov 31:24-25). “The glory of young
men is their strength” (Prov 20:29). Job’s righteous was his glory (Job 29:20).
The long life of the elderly is called glory (Prov 16:31).
The word “glory” takes on a more formidable meaning when it is applied to
God. God’s glory is something that appears (Exod 16:10). It can be seen (Num
14:22). It is revealed (Isa 40:5),which means that it exists prior to and apart from
any manifestation of it. Jesus Himself teaches this in John 17:5 when He prayed,
“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had
with You before the world was.”
The Old Testament word for “glory” is kvothe. Kvothe, it means heaviness,
weight. [The New Testament word is doxa] To have glory is to be “heavy laden”
with some aspect or acclaim. In the case of the Lord God Who descended upon
Mount Sinai, He is heavy laden with holiness and righteousness, which manifested
itself as a consuming fire on the mountain. That is what the children of Israel saw.
They saw, though hidden inside the cloud for their own protection, God heavy
laden with holiness and righteousness.
For sinners that is a terrifying sight. It is “an all consuming fire.” Thus, if a
sinner, Moses included, stood in the Almighty’s presence, unmasked, it would
result in death. Moses once ask God if he could see God’s unmasked glory.
Exodus 33:18-23 “18 “Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ 19
And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will
proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will
be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.’ 20
But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!’ . . . and
it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of
the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take
My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.’”
In this form the glory of God looked awesome, as in awe inspiring and
frightening. That is the same kind of thing that happened on the Mount of
Transfiguration. The glory that is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy
Spirit, that is the divine nature of God was hidden in the flesh and blood of Jesus
the Nazarene. But on the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John are
permitted to get a glimpse, that is they see God’s back side.
6 “When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and
were terrified. 7 And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, ‘Get up,
and do not be afraid.’”
But as I said, the word glory and subsequently the glory of God can be a bit
confusing because of how it is used and applied in both the Old and New
Testaments. In His High Priestly Prayer Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has
come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You.” (John 17:1)
Listen to how Jesus speak of His impeding glory in John 12:23-24, “The
hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it
dies, it bears much fruit.” Here the glory of the Son of God, Jesus Christ is
manifested by His death, which will result in your resurrection.
But there is more. There is something else that must be said about the glory
of God. It is always tied to God’s Word. Where God is there is His Word and
where the Word of God is there is God and where God and His Word are presence
there is His glory, kvothe and doxa.
Look at all that is happening in Exodus 24. Moses has offered a sacrifice
and sprinkled the blood of the covenant on the people. He was speaking God’s
Word to them and he was going up the mountain to receive God’s Word. “Moses
came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the judgments, and all
the people answered with one voice, All the words which the Lord has said, we
will do.”
What did we hear in the Epistle lesson? “For when He received honor and
glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the
Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased.” And
we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the
holy mountain. We also have the prophetic word made more sure.”
The Gospel reading. The glory of the Lord was seen by the disciples and
God commanded them to “Listen to Him.” Where the Word of God is, there is His
glory. Where God’s glory is, there is His Word.
The Word is Jesus Christ – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among
us, full of grace and truth and we beheld His glory as the only begotten of the
Jesus came in grace and truth. Jesus is the true Son of God, filled with
splendor and glory, but that glory was hidden in His humanity. It was hidden in
His work as the suffering dying servant on the cross. This is the kind of glory that
takes faith to comprehend. All will see the glory of God and Christ on the last day,
but only faith “sees” glory in the cross. In other words, the glory of God can been
seen on the Mount of Transfiguration and in Holy Week and Good Friday.
One last thing to note here. Moses and Elijah appeared in glory too. Their
glory was the imputed glory of Christ that had made them clean. All Christians,
you included will one day appear in the same way.
1 Corinthians 15:42-43 “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown
a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is
raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.”
And again in 2 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face beholding
as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image
from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
Colossians 3:4 “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also
will be revealed with Him in glory.”
In the doxology and Gloria Patri, and Gloria in Excelis and in proper
worship the Church and Christians give glory to God, that is they respond to Him
with public acclamation. We give God honor, respect, adoration, devotion, and
due weight back to God, because He first gave His glory to us.
We love because He first loved us. We give glory to Him because He first
gave Christ’s glory to us. He gave us the holiness, the heaviness, the weight of
Christ to us. Psalm 115:1 “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Thy name give
glory Because of Thy lovingkindness, because of Thy truth.”
“Glory be to Thee oh Lord,” we sing. And glory has been given to thee, that
is you, oh saints of God.

Transfiguration 2017
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