Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” Luke 4:1-4
When temptation comes along, how do you react? Do you give in every time? Do you fight it for a while but then grow weary? Do you go for a long time without giving in but then indulge? Everyone has felt the lure of temptations from the devil.
What is the best way to fight those temptations? Jesus shows us the power of fighting temptation with words from the Bible. “It is written,” he says, and the devil has no answer. Whatever God says in the Scripture is absolute truth, and it is powerful against temptation.
You will find that turning to a pertinent Bible passage in a moment of temptation is helpful. The Word of God is a powerful weapon against our old, evil foe—the devil. He was defeated by Jesus, and he has no answer to the powerful words of Jesus.
When you have given in to a temptation and you are feeling guilty, it is also helpful to turn to a Bible passage: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Cling to God’s words of forgiveness, and trust that the victory of Jesus over the devil is your victory as well.
Our Father in heaven, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Quickly. Name the most powerful animal in the world? I’m not sure what your answer would be, but mine is the African lion. It’s capable of killing an African buffalo, even though that animal can weigh three or even four times the weight of the “king of the jungle.” Mess with a hungry lion and you’re lunch meat!
Did you know the Bible describes Satan as a roaring lion who is eager and able to kill people—body and soul—in hell? It’s true! (See 1 Peter 5:8) Satan once was a good angel. Now he’s bad to the bone! He’s a liar and murderous enemy of God and his children.
In our verse for today Jesus was being attacked by Satan and his wily temptations for 40 days and nights in the desert. It was a battle. Jesus, being fully human as well as fully God, was tired and hungry. Satan tempted him to stop trusting in his heavenly Father to provide for his bodily needs and, instead, take matters into his own hands by turning the stones around him into loaves of bread for food. But Jesus refused. He fought back with God’s Word, reminding Satan that he was to rely totally on his Father and his providential promises.
Learn from Jesus when Satan comes alluring! Use God’s powerful Word and gospel promises like a sword to fight him off. By his blood stained cross and empty grave, Jesus has defeated Satan once and for all, and for you. Fight against him in confidence because the victory has been won and it is yours!
Jesus, thank you for defeating Satan. Help me fight the good fight, using your Word to comfort and defend me in my battles with the roaring Lion. Amen.
Divine Service II is a version of the historic liturgy of the Christian
GOD’S WORD FOR TODAYBeing
“tempted” may make us think of the way creamy alfredo sauce or rich chocolate
cake lead some to over-indulge. In God’s view, temptation to sin is a far
bigger problem. God says the one who tempts us, by our lack of self-control, is
Satan himself (1 Corinthians 7:5). Temptation happens, God also says, when by
our own evil desires we are dragged away and enticed (James 1:14). So? “Then,
after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown,
gives birth to death.” No wonder Jesus tells his disciples, “Watch and pray so
that you will not enter into temptation” (Luke 22:46).
OPENING HYMN108 “Jesus, Refuge of the Weary”
The name of the triune God and the sign of the cross remind worshipers
of their baptisms.
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Friends, let us approach God with a true heart and confess our sins, asking Him
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to forgive us.
C: Lord of life, I confess that I am by nature
dead in sin.
faithless worrying and selfish pride,
sins of habit and sins of choice,
for the evil I have done and the good I
have failed to do,
You should cast me away from Your presence forever.
O Lord, I am sorry for my sins. Forgive me, for Jesus’ sake.
The use of the keys is that special power and right which Christ gave
to His church on earth: to forgive the sins of penitent sinners. John 20:21-23
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. In His great mercy,
God made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in our sins. Hear the Word
of Christ through His called servant:
forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
LORD, HAVE MERCYMark 10:47
Kyrie: Kyrie is the Greek word for Lord. The expression “Lord, have mercy” is one of
the oldest worship responses in the Christian church.
peace, let us pray to the Lord.
the well-being of all people everywhere, that they may receive from You all
they need to sustain body and life, hear our prayer, O Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
M: For the spread of Your life-giving Gospel throughout the world, that
all who are lost in sin may be brought to faith in You, hear our prayer, O
C: Christ, have mercy.
M: For patience and perseverance in this life, that we may not lose the
hope of heaven as we await Your return, hear our prayer, O Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.
M: Lord of life, live in us that we may live for You.
GLORY BE TO GOD Luke 2:14
to the tune of Hymn 152 “I Know that My Redeemer Lives”)
Christians praise God by proclaiming the great things He has done to
accomplish our rescue from sin.
“Glory to God in the Highest” Christians have been using this song of
worship since the fourth century to proclaim the great things…
All glory be to God on high! Your name,
O Lord, we glorify;
We praise You for Your peace and grace, Your favor toward our fallen race.
Our grateful thanks to You we bring, for Your great glory, heav’nly King,
For all, O Father, You have done, through Jesus Christ, Your only Son.
O Lamb of God, to You we pray. You take all human sin away.
Have mercy, Lord; receive our prayer; from God’s right hand, Your mercy
You, Christ, are holy– Lord alone; the Father’s glory You made known.
by Your Spirit sing again: “All glory be to God!” Amen.
This greeting has deep roots in Christian worship and marks the
beginning of the Word section of this service.
The Lord be with you.
C: And also with you.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Let us pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Good Shepherd who laid down Your life for the
sheep. Lead us now to the still waters of Your life-giving Word that we may
abide in Your Father’s house forevermore; for You live and reign with Him and
the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
FIRST LESSONDeuteronomy 26:5-10
God’s people of God’s actions on their behalf.
He especially points out their deliverance from the misery, toil, and
oppression they had experienced in the land of Egypt. Thanksgiving for such blessings led them to
worship the Lord and to bring him the firstfruits of their crops.
shall declare before the LORD your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and
he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great
nation, powerful and numerous. But the
Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, putting us to hard labor. Then we cried out to the LORD, the God of our
fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and
oppression. So the LORD brought us out
of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with
miraculous signs and wonders. He brought
us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and
honey; and now I bring the firstfruits
of the soil that you, O LORD, have given me.” Place the basket before the LORD
your God and bow down before him.
PSALM 91hymnal page 100
Cantor sings the
first line, congregation sings the second line, all sing refrains and Gloria.
SECOND LESSONRomans 10:8-13(today’s sermon text)
proclaims to us the good news of salvation and works faith in our hearts
through which we are saved. This faith expresses
itself through an outward confession of faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in
your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus
is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will
be saved. For it is with your heart that
you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and
are saved. As the Scripture says,
“Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and
Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
VERSE OF THE DAY
Alleluia. Now faith is being sure of what we hope
for and certain of what we do not see. Alleluia.
The Gospel according to Luke chapter 4 verses 1-13
C: Glory be to You, O Lord.
begins his ministry by battling with the devil.
The devil confronts him with three temptations. Each time Jesus uses God’s Word to defeat
Satan. Jesus’ victory over Satan started
here and ended in complete and total victory on the cross and empty tomb. Thanks be to God for our Champion, our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ!
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the
Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was
tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them
he was hungry.
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God,
tell this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live
on bread alone.’”
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him
in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.
And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor,
for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord
your God and serve him only.’”
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on
the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw
yourself down from here. For it is
written: ”‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that
you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” (Psalm 91:11,12)
Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your
God to the test.’”
When the devil had finished all this tempting, he
left him until an opportune time.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
C: Praise be to You, O Christ.
HYMN OF THE DAY 406“This Is the Threefold Truth”
The Hymn of the Day is assigned to this day because of its rich content
and connection to the day’s Gospel.
Word Is Near”(Romans 10:8-13)
to believe and confess
to trust and be saved
NICENE CREED hymnal page 31
Public confession is faith’s response to God’s saving Word. Christians
composed the Nicene Creed in the fourth century to defend the Bible’s teachings
that both Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are true God, equal to the Father in
one eternal, undivided Trinity.
*The original text here reads “catholic,” a word meaning “universal.”
The Church consists of all believers in heaven and on earth, of every time in
Moved by God’s love in Christ, we offer Him our first and best gifts,
purely out of thanks to Him.
PRAYER FOR LENT(read by
– For those hospitalized, ill, shut-in and
facing trials: George Alexander, Gene & Sharon Crook, Harley & Liola
Crown & son Terry, Agnes Dassow, Jerre Duerr, Reinold Eckelberg, Elaine
Emond (Mark’s mother), Earl Ewert, Marjorie Fabian, Mike Farrell, Kellen Grucza
(Judy Fandrey’s daughter), Dawn Hirn (Linda Krause’s niece), Xzander Jahr, Bob
Klapper (Sandy’s husband), Arden “Bill” Klimke, Linda Krause, Pete
Laun, Lilly Mann, LuAnn Reber, Mark & Peggy Russell (Elsa’s son &
daughter in-law), Al & Darlene Schmidt (Dawn Marcelain & Candace Sonnenberg’s
parents), Carol Schumann, Dennis Schwanke (Mary Isberner’s friend), Amanda
Stalker, Jennifer Strauss, Dennis & Ramona Wacholtz, Donny Weber (Betty’s
son), Larry Wegner (Bob’s brother), Heidi Weishaar (Sharon Kekow’s daughter),
Paul Weldon, Millie Wildt (John’s wife) – (added this week: Larry Wegner)
– For missions
– For our K3-K5 teacher Sara Borck who
received the Lord’s call to teach Kindergarten next fall at Good Shepherd Ev.
Lutheran School–Omaha, NE
– For today’s teacher call meeting at St.
– For our communicants
THE LORD’S PRAYERMatthew 6:9-13
Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name,
kingdom come, Your will be
done on earth as in heaven.
us today our daily bread.
us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
the kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours now and forever.
The words of the Preface mark the beginning of the Sacrament section of
the service and lift the worshiper’s hearts in praise. The opening sentences
are among the oldest in the Christian liturgy.
The Lord be with you.
C: And also with you.
M: Lift up your hearts.
C: We lift them up to the Lord.
M: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
C: It is good and right so to do.
M: It is good and right that we should at all times and in all places
give You thanks, O Lord, holy Father, almighty and everlasting God, through
Jesus Christ, our Lord, who came as the Light of the world so that the world
may have light and life through Him. Therefore, with all the saints on earth
and hosts of heaven, we praise Your holy name and join their glorious song:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLYSanctus Isaiah 6:3; Matthew 21:9
to the tune of Hymn 131 “All Glory, Laud, and Honor”)
Sanctus means “Holy.” Used possibly as early as the second century,
this canticle was in wide use among Christians in worship by the fourteenth
O holy, holy, holy; Lord God of
pow’r and might,
Your glory, earth and heaven; In
countless ways recite.
Hosanna! Come and save us, Lord God
of hosts on high,
And in Your grace and mercy; Receive
our fervent cry.
Hosanna in the highest! How truly
blest is He;
Who in God’s name is coming; To set
His people free!
He comes to bring salvation; and with His blood outpoured,
Deliver us from bondage-Hosanna,
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Jesus took bread and “gave thanks” (Matthew 26:26).
Blessed are You, O Lord of heaven and earth. We praise and thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, and
we remember the great acts of love through which He has ransomed us from sin,
death, and the devil’s power.
By His incarnation, He became one
By His perfect life, He fulfilled
Your holy will.
By His innocent death, He overcame
By His rising from the grave, He
by Your grace and instructed by Your Word, we approach Your table with
repentant and joyful hearts. Strengthen us through Christ’s body and blood, and
preserve us in the true faith until we feast with Him and all His ransomed
people in glory everlasting.
WORDS OF INSTITUTIONMatthew 26:26-28
1 Corinthians 11:24-25
As he speaks the Words of Institution, the minister
both proclaims the words of Jesus to the congregation and sets apart the bread
and wine for the Lord’s use. The sign of the cross reminds us of Christ’s
Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night He was betrayed, took bread; and when He
had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take and
eat; this is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”
He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all
of you; this is My blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for you for
the forgiveness of sins. Do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
peace of the Lord be with you always.
LAMB OF GODAgnes Dei John 1:29
Jesus is God’s Lamb (Agnus Dei),who was
offered as a sacrifice for sin once for all.
Emmanuel & St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church we practice closed communion. If
you are a guest at worship today and interested in receiving the Lord’s Supper,
please speak with the pastor prior to the service.
DISTRIBUTION HYMNS 743“O Gracious Lord, I Firmly
Am Believing” (printed on bulletin pg. 15)
“Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me”
The Scriptures teach us that the celebration of the
Lord’s Supper connects us intimately with Christ and with one another as
Christians who are united around a common confession of faith.
SONG OF SIMEONNunc Dimittis
to the tune of Hymn 166 “The Day of Resurrection”)
The Nunc Dimittis (“Now Dismiss”) is also known as the
Song of Simeon. Through God’s Word and Sacrament, we have seen Jesus Christ,
and like Simeon we find divine peace and comfort through faith in the Savior.
O Lord, now let Your servant depart
in peace, assured:
For I have seen Your promised
incarnate, saving Word—
Light that will enlighten all gloom where Gentiles dwell;
The brilliant, crowning glory of
those in Israel!
All glory to the Father, all glory
to the Son,
All glory to the Spirit, forever
three in one;
For as in the beginning, is now,
shall ever be,
God’s triune name resounding through
We give You thanks, O Lord, for the foretaste of the heavenly banquet that You
have given us to eat and to drink in this sacrament. Through this gift You have
fed our faith, nourished our hope, and strengthened our love. By Your Spirit
elp us to live as Your holy people until that day when You will receive us as
Your guests at the wedding supper of the Lamb, who lives and reigns with You
and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
The blessing of Aaron has been spoken to God’s people
for over 3500 years. The Lord said, “So they will put My name on (them) and I
will bless them.” Numbers 6:27
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face shine on you and
be gracious to you.
The Lord look on you with favor and give
CLOSING HYMN 389:3-4“Rock of Ages,
Cleft for Me”
Activities for the week of March 10-March 16
Worship with communion
John’s Sunday School
John’s Adult Bible Study
John’s Worship with communion
Call meeting at St. John’s
Information Class at St. John’s begins
Bible Study at St. John’s
John’s School Chapel
Bible Study at St. John’s
School Teen Confirmation Class at St. John’s
Supper at St. John’s
John’s Lenten Devotion
John’s School Teen Confirmation Class
Care Center Devotion
(6th of 13 weeks) in St. John’s lower level
Board meeting at St. John’s
Study Club at Ripon
School Outreach Workshop
Theme for Next Sunday March 17, 2019
2: “Christ Was Rejected, Yet Resolute in his Mission”
John’s Sunday School
John’s Adult Bible Study
WEDNESDAY LENTEN DEVOTIONSJoin us as we gather for Lenten Devotions: 3:30pm at Emmanuel and
6:30pm at St. John’s under this year’s theme: “Three Words of
Truth.” A soup supper will also be served from 4:30-6:15pm in the
lower level of St. John’s. “Jesus, I will ponder now on your holy
passion…” (Hymn 98)
LENTEN SUPPER This week, March 13, 2019, St. John’s
Sunday School is hosting. Supper starts at 4:30pm in St. John’s lower level.
WHAT’S ON THE
MENU?: BBQ sandwiches, baked beans, lettuce salad, cheese, pickles, potato
chips, assorted desserts and beverages. A free will offering will be available
and proceeds will go towards Easter for Kids.
THANK YOUEmmanuel council is seeking volunteers to assist, with Emmanuel member
funeral luncheons in the Parish Hall. All men and women are welcomed to help in
any manner possible with the many required activities including food
procurement, food preparation, and luncheon serving. Any members who wish to
assist with this important service are asked to contact Sue Stelter at
608-297-2761, or by email at email@example.com or on a sign up in the Parish Hall.
EASTER FOR KIDS DONATIONSPlanning for 80 childrenfor
Saturday, April 13, at St. John’s. MONETARY GIFTS are needed most and help
purchase: crafts, Easter pails, candy/prizes, outdoor advertising banner,
snack & lunch, basket stuffers. DONATE home-crafted items for baskets. VOLUNTEER to bake for the baskets. VOLUNTEER to work at the event. Please contact Linda Wachholz 608-369-2635.
still collect plain print-free ice cream pails.
Please do not purchase plastic eggs, grass, or baskets,but
we recycle by accepting gently used items you would like to share. A
donation box is located in the linkway.
EASTER FOR KIDS COORDINATOR I am looking for someone to assist with the planning this year who
would be willing to take the lead in the future. If you would be interested in
working with me this year, please call me 608-369-2635. Thank you! –Linda
REGISTRATION FOR EASTER FOR KIDSAny child, age 3 through Grade 6, is welcome to attend Easter for Kids
at St. John’s on Saturday, April 13. This is an outreach program–it would be
great if St. John’s & Emmanuel kids who attend would invite a non-member or
unchurched friend! Register online www.stjohnsmontello.org beginning Monday, March 4. Get registration forms at both churches, in
Monday Magazine, on church & school Facebook. This year’s theme is “Parade
& Praise for the King!” Story rhyme
time, singing & movement, crafts, egg coloring, snacks, & of course, a
parade will bring the true meaning of Easter to the children. Register
by Friday, April 5.
SPRING MISSION OFFERINGSare being collected
by the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society through Sunday, March 31.Containers are located in the entrance
at St. John’s and in the parish hall at Emmanuel—Please give your gift at the church where you are a member. 75% of
gifts given will support Beaver Dam Circuit projects—HM/Campus Ministry New
Starts & WM/Haiti. 25% of gifts
given will support home & world mission projects described on the poster by
the container and will be presented at the next LWMS Convention, June 27-30, in
Des Moines, Iowa. Gifts welcome from
all who love missions!
CHRISTIAN ONE-LINERS(from a WELS member): “He who angers you, controls
MEN’S BIBLE CLASS -A strange thing happened
on the road to Damascus, and thank the Lord that it did! God reached out and
saved the man we know as St. Paul. God still reaches out through him today. We
are reading about it in the book of Acts. 6:30PM on Tuesdays, in the
NEW MEMBERSHIP CLASSI’d like to start a new membership class next Sunday 3/10 at 11:30am
at 6pm and/or 3/24 at 6pm here at my office. We will study the basic
teachings of the Bible using the 20 lesson study guide entitled: New Life In
Christ. Call or text me at 608-408-7830 if you are interested. –Pastor
PLAN YOUR MISSION JOURNEY WELS Mission Journeys, the official WELS program for short-term
mission trips, provides an opportunity for all WELS members to walk together in
the Great Commission. Through church- or school-based volunteer trips to WELS
mission fields at home and abroad, members have the opportunity to engage in
Christian service. With the Lord’s blessing, these trips will inspire a
lifelong journey of service and outreach for all who volunteer. Want to learn
more about how you can get involved? Visit wels.net/missionjourneys.
WOMEN’S MINISTRY CONFERENCE WELS Women’s Ministry will be holding a conference this summer, July
18–20, at Luther Preparatory School, Watertown, Wis. The theme of the
conference centers around “living stones” and how Christian women are called to
be a part of something bigger. For more information on the Women’s Ministry
Conference and to register, visit wels.net/wmconference.
3-33-6 Ash Wed.
St. John’s Altar
St. John’s Greeters Schedule
& Doris Smith
& Linda Wachholz
& Evie Blada
& Jean Henke
March 10E(with comm.) SJ
Ninnemann, Jim Stuempges, Paul Dahlke
Smith; Chief, Gordon Krause, Richard Freitag, Gerhardt Voigt, Mitch Simon
March 13(Lent 3:30pm) E(Lent 6:30pm) SJ
Stelter, Gary Wegner, Joe Heller
Kapp; Chief, Karl Whitrock, Matt Borzick, Glen Bubolz, Al Rosenthal
Buchholz, Noah Buchholz, Brian Ninnemann
Wachholz; Chief, Christopher Smith, Calvin Wojtalewicz, Zeb Zuehls, Mark
March 20(Lent 3:30pm) E(Lent 6:30pm) SJ
Stelter, Bruce Stelter, Joe Heller
Wacholtz; Chief, Kevin Kaul, Scott Ritz, Ken Borzick, Ben Emond
March 24E(with comm.) SJ
Sommerfeld, Bruce Stelter, Joe Heller
Yates; Chief, Thomas Wojtalewicz, James Henke, Paul Van Treeck, Martin
March 27(Lent 3:30pm) E(Lent 6:30pm) SJ
Stelter, Bruce Stelter, Joe Heller
Smith; Chief, Lee Ollendorf, Aaron Kendall, Chuck Boetcher, Jim Eisermann
Stelter, Paul Wuerch, DuWayne Sommerfeld
Smith; Chief, Corey Kaul, Jerre Duerr, Robin Smith, Del Henke
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen. Luke 9:28-36
Sometimes in our lives we have what are called “mountain top experiences.” They are experiences that are so great we never want them to end. Some brides and grooms feel that way on their wedding day. They are surrounded by the people that they love the most. They look their best. Everyone is happy and smiling. They never want the day to end. But it does end. They need the wedding day to end so that they can get on with their married life and the future that awaits them.
In this lesson from Luke chapter 9, Jesus and three of his closest followers had a mountain top experience. For a moment the disciples where given a glimpse of Jesus in his greatness as the Son of God. It was awesome. Jesus’ clothes were as bright as a flash of lightning. Jesus conferred with Moses and Elijah, two of the great figures from the Old Testament. Peter didn’t want the experience to end. This is why he proposed that they build three shelters. He was hoping to capture and hold the greatness of this incredible moment.
But like all other mountain top experiences, this moment had to end. Jesus knew that he had very important work waiting for him on a different mountain. That was Mount Calvary, the mountain on which he would be crucified for the sins of all people. It was important for Jesus’ disciples and it is important for us to remember both mountains. The mountain on which Jesus showed his glory reminds us that he is the true Son of God. Mount Calvary reminds us that Jesus is the Lamb of God who willingly gave his life to make the payment for your sins and the sins of the entire world.
This week the season of Lent begins. It is a time when we focus on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. As we focus on his passion, let us not forget his great power. He is the Son of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Dear Jesus, I worship you as the glorious Son of God who came from heaven to sacrifice yourself as the Lamb of God to take away the guilt of my sins. Bless me with the truth of your Word and the joy of your salvation. Amen.
What an event this was! Jesus reveals a glimpse of glory! Wow! Moses and Elijah are there in glorious splendor! Wow! The Father speaks from the cloud! Wow! Peter, James, and John get to see and hear it! Wow! To be there must have been amazing! It’s no wonder Peter said, “Master, it is good for us to be here.” And it’s no wonder he wanted to stay! This was amazing!
But there is one more “wow.” The biggest “wow” of all is that Jesus does not stay. Jesus walks back down that mountain. Why? He walks away from the Mount of Transfiguration, so he can willingly walk to another mountain, to Mt. Calvary, where he suffers and dies. Can you imagine? The glorious, all-powerful God-man was willing to set aside the full use of his glory and power, and instead was willing to carry a cross. And for what purpose? To save you! To save me!
So what is the ultimate point of the Transfiguration? Is it merely for Jesus to show off his power? No, Jesus doesn’t need to show off. Is it merely for us to be scared, seeing our sinfulness? Is it merely for us to get a small glimpse of life eternal, as we see Moses and Elijah chatting with Jesus as Jesus reveals his glory? While it surely shows us those things, there’s more.
The ultimate point of the Transfiguration event is to show us Jesus’ love! Yes, Jesus has all power and glory. He is the all-powerful God. But Jesus also left that mountain to go to Mt. Calvary because he loves you dearly! What could this lead you to say but, “WOW!”
Lord Jesus, lead me to look with even more gratitude to your sufferings and death, knowing that you did all those things for me! Assure me over and over again that you love me. Amen.
What would it be like to be the child of someone powerful, rich, or famous? Could there be some advantages if you had been born into, say, the Kennedy or Bush families? What if one of your parents was Bill Gates, Lebron James, or Christian Yelich? Being born into a situation like that would bring certain advantages.
What would it be like to be the Son of God? That’s one we can’t even imagine! Jesus is so, so different from us. He is almighty, we are weak. He is eternal, we are mortal. He rules the universe, we have a hard time ruling our own thoughts or emotions. Perhaps the worst difference is that he is perfect, while we are sinful. Those sins mean we deserve to have God say to us, “I never knew you. Depart from me.”
But why did Jesus, God’s Son, come to this earth? He didn’t come to rub the difference in our faces. Rather, he came so that he could repair our relationship with God. Jesus came to this earth to live a perfect life and to die a perfect death for us—to win forgiveness and eternal life for us.
And, he accomplished his goals! He lived, died, and rose from the dead! Salvation has been won!
And God loves to give his salvation away, to sinners like you and me. One way he does this is through Holy Baptism. When a person is baptized, they are baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To put it differently, God puts his name on that person. They are now “Tom, God’s-Son,” “Beth, God’s-daughter,” because they are now part of God’s family.
Every believer in Christ is part of the most important family ever—the family of God—and can know that, “I am God’s beloved child, too!”
O Father, assure me that I am your child today, tomorrow, and that I will be for all eternity. Amen.
As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Luke 9:29-31
What an amazing day Transfiguration Day was! Peter, James, and John got to see a glimpse of Jesus’ glory! A cloud enveloped them, and a voice spoke from the cloud! It’s no wonder that we hear that Peter, James, and John were afraid, yes, terrified!
But then there was Moses and Elijah. Do you get the impression that Moses and Elijah were terrified, or even a tad nervous? It sure doesn’t seem that way, does it? There they were, in glorious splendor, talking face to face with the glorious Jesus! There seems to be no fear, no worry, no anxiety!
And someday, it will be that way for you, too! When God takes you to heaven, God will remove sin—and all its effects—permanently. Never again will you be bothered by a guilty conscience, never again will you fear, never again will the back ache or your heart be filled with sorrow, because sin will be gone! While at this point in our lives God has declared that we are holy and righteous, when we get to heaven we will be perfect and holy! And because of that, you—yes, you—will be able to talk with Jesus, face to face, not with fear, but with confidence and joy!
Thank you, Savior, for this glimpse of heaven! Lead me to eagerly anticipate the day you will take me there! Amen.
Several years back a man in Asia sued his ex-wife because she had given birth to what he described as a very ugly baby. He thought she must have had an affair, because he couldn’t imagine how a good-looking guy like himself could be the father of such an ugly child.
Then the truth came out. Before the man and woman met, she’d had about $100,000 worth of cosmetic surgery, which dramatically altered her appearance. She had never told him about the surgery. The man won the lawsuit.
We may not all hide $100,000 worth of plastic surgery from our spouse, but we all hide some things. Rarely are we willing to fully reveal ourselves to others.
Jesus, interestingly enough, was willing to reveal himself to his disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration. What a gift! They finally saw him for who he really is—the eternal, all-powerful God of the universe. This revelation would no doubt be a great comfort to them later when they witnessed his suffering and death and, even later, when they experienced their own suffering and death.
We can be thankful that, in the words of the Bible, Jesus has also revealed himself to us as the one true God. What a comfort this is when we experience our own suffering—knowing that this same, all-powerful God is with us. What comfort this will one-day be when we face our own death—knowing that this same, all-powerful God has conquered death and will give us eternal life.
Remind me, O Savior, of what you revealed on the holy mountain. Comfort me today with the knowledge of who you really are. Amen.
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Luke 9:28-29
Each of the accounts of Jesus’ transfiguration begins with a statement that this happened about a week later than what had just been written about. So, God wants those events connected. And just what had happened about a week earlier?
It started out great! Jesus asked Peter, James, and John who people thought he was, and eventually Peter confessed oh-so-clearly that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God! But when Jesus began talking about his suffering and death, Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked him. In response, Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:23).
So, now it’s a week later, and you’re Peter, on this mountain, and Jesus’ face suddenly changes so that it is shining like the sun and his clothing become as bright as a flash of lightning. If you’re Peter, what are you thinking? Are you thinking, “Oh no! A few days ago, I was rebuking him! Look at him now!!! What was I thinking?”
How easily we question God in an improper way, even “rebuke” God. True? Yes, it’s true. We have the audacity to tell God that he is not handling things correctly in our lives or in our world. How dare we!
What is amazing is that Jesus didn’t cut Peter off and eliminate him from the disciples. Jesus continued to love Peter. He even invites Peter to come to the mountaintop, to view his glory.
And amazingly, Jesus continues to love you and me too. Despite our failures, Jesus continues to love us. And someday he will invite us to the heavenly mountaintop where we will experience his glory forever.
Lord Jesus, thank you for not rejecting me! I long to see your glory! Amen.
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. Mark 9:2-9
Can you really blame Peter for wanting to stay on that high mountain? After years of following Jesus, now he was finally allowed to see his true glory as the Son of God. Jesus’ face shone like the sun and his clothes were gleaming white. Then, as if it couldn’t get any better, Moses and Elijah, two heroes of the Old Testament show up and by their very presence put God’s stamp of approval on the Savior’s life and mission. There was no more worrying, no more wondering, no more doubting. Just Jesus revealing himself as God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.
Who would want to leave such a place? This is religion just how we want it—power, glory, peace. Peter wanted it all right then and there. But isn’t this what we want too? No more uncertainty. No more rejection. No more broken hearts, pain, failure, disappointment, loneliness, or death. Just glory. Just basking in Jesus’ glory and experiencing the peace that transcends all understanding.
But Jesus had to leave that mountain. He had to leave because his mission was not finished. He needed to carry out God’s plan of salvation and die for sinners, so that this glimpse of glory that Peter and the others experienced on the mountain could last for an eternity in heaven. So driven by love, Jesus descended that Mount of Glory and walked willingly to that Mount of Shame where he suffered and died for our sins.
Like Peter, we may want the glory right now. We might want to be done with all of the pain and suffering and sadness of this world, but it’s not time yet. Right now it is God’s will that we live by faith in his Son. Through the Word we too have witnessed Jesus’ glory on the mountain, and even more than that, we have seen his glory as our risen and ascended Lord. This glimpse of glory is what sustains us through difficult days here on earth and assures us of an eternal glory that will never end with Jesus in heaven.
Dear Lord of glory, help me to patiently bear the difficulties and sadness of this world as I keep my eyes fixed on you and await the eternal glory to come. Amen.