Transfiguration

Preached: March 2, 2014

Marvel at our Lord’s Double Glory
Psalm 110:1-7

Other listening options or try the podcast at iTunes (You will be leaving our website.)

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The word of God through which the Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus is Psalm 110.

Of David. A psalm.

The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth.

The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. He will drink from a brook beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head. (Psalm 110:1-7 NIV84).

This is the word of our Lord.

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

Our God is good, yet we struggle with sadness. Our God is almighty, yet we suffer through our problems. Our God is in control, yet so many bad things happen. So, how easily doubts infiltrate our hearts and minds! You’ve heard their whispers: “If God is so good, then how could he let that happen?” “If he’s almighty, why didn’t he stop it?” “If he’s in control, why am I going through this?”

How deadly doubts are! Doubt is the opposite of faith. Faith stands firm on the solid rock, the sure foundation. Doubt wobbles like Jello and then sinks into quicksand. Deadly!

Rather than give up and despair, there’s three ways people deal with doubt. Many try to avoid doubt by not thinking too much about God. And I’m not just talking about people outside the church. Many church-goers and religious people simply go through the actions. They don’t think any more deeply about God’s truths than what they thought when they were ten. But even if this manages to stifle doubt, it also starves faith. How deadly!

A second approach tries to confront doubt with human reason and logic. But God’s ways are so far above our minds that any explanations that seem to reason doubt away misrepresent God. This too is the broad and easy path that leads to destruction.

But what about God’s way to deal with our doubts? His way assures us with his promises recorded in his Word. In the Psalm before us, the Lord God twice lets us overhear the heavenly words spoken by the Father to the Son. What a marvel! Us lowly, sinful, mortal creatures overhearing the lofty, holy, eternal wisdom of God spoken in human words! We gasp in wonder and marvel in amazement at what the Holy Spirit gave David to write down in this Psalm, so that you and I who live three millennia later may still read it and believe. For in these words the Spirit reveals the double glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So dear Christian friends, drive out your doubts by diving ever more deeply into God’s word where the Spirit reveals God’s heavenly councils. Drive out your doubt by marveling at our Lord’s double glory. Marvel at Jesus’ glory, his glory as our conquering King and his glory as our everlasting Priest. Rather than doubt, marvel in amazement at his double glory.

A. His glory as our conquering King

“The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty” (Psalm 110:1-3 NIV84).

Does Jesus really rule over all things? Is he in control? The news tells us of one disaster after another. Some are obviously man-made, but couldn’t Jesus have stopped them anyway? And what about the natural disasters that cause so much pain and loss? Is Jesus in control?

Reality shouts at us, “This world is out of control!” Reason surmises that God must limit his interaction with the world, for how could an all-powerful God permit such evil without being at least partially guilty? Doubts grow.

But faith listens. We hear the Lord God, the Almighty Father, speaking to our Lord Jesus Christ: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet” (Psalm 110:1 NIV84). The right hand is the place of power. The right hand man exercises all the authority. So also Jesus. All power in heaven and on earth has been given to him. He exercises complete authority to carry out his Father’s will. Despite what you see in the world around you, do not doubt. Jesus is in control. Reason can never harmonize his full control with the evil that exists. But faith takes God at his word. As our conquering King seated on the almighty throne, Jesus is in control. You confess that every time you declare in the Creed that he is seated at God’s right. Jesus is in control. He is our conquering King, seated on the throne.

Then what about the evil in this world? What about Satan and his demons? What about the wickedness of humanity? What about death itself? They are all subject to our Lord Jesus Christ, serving his ultimate purpose. They are his footstool. They are under his feet. He tramples them in the dust. Notice how the Psalm says that his rule extends even into the midst of his enemies. He has the dominion. He is the conquering King.

He has conquered our hearts. You and I began life as his enemy. “The sinful mind is hostile to God” (Romans 8:7 NIV84). That’s what we were. But his Gospel penetrated our hearts and changed us into his willing troops, ready each day to battle for our Lord. In Baptism you were reborn into the Lord’s army. Through the water and word you were clothed with his holiness, his prefect life freely credited to you. Stand firm with the full armor of God. Satan’s arrows of doubt cannot pierce it. For Jesus is your conquering King. What glory is his! Marvel at the glory of our Lord.

See that kingly glory, that divine glory, shining through as he stands on the Mount of Transfiguration. Marvel with Peter, James, and John. Listen as the Father speaks, and do not doubt. What glory belongs to our conquering King! Marvel at his glory. Marvel at his double glory. For he has the glory not only of a king but also of a priest.

B. His glory as our everlasting Priest

What a different kind of glory that is! The world can have some sort of concept of kingly glory that conquers and rules. But Jesus’ glory as our everlasting Priest is a glory the world cannot even begin to comprehend. In fact the world rejects his priestly glory as shame and weakness.

After those brief moments when Peter, James, and John see the divine radiance shining through Jesus, he then hides that glory and descends from the mountain. He lowers himself even to the shame of death on a cross. For, dear friends, only through the cross does his priestly glory shine. Marvel at the wonder of this double glory.

Again, the Lord God condescends to let us overhear the heavenly council as the Father speaks to the Son: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever’” (Psalm 110:4 NIV84).

A priest stands between God and man. But who could truly stand between the holy God and us guilty sinners, except the God-man, Jesus Christ? So the eternal Son became flesh, one with us in order to make us at one with God.

But what sacrifice could reconcile us to God, making us at one with him? What sacrifice could atone for our sins? What sacrifice did this Priest offer? Nothing less than himself. Nothing less than his holy, precious blood. Only the blood of God the Son paid the price to atone for our sins. Only the death of God the Son, Jesus Christ, our Brother—only his death in our place as our Substitute reconciled us to God.

No other priest is like him. No other sacrifice is like his. Every other priest must offer sacrifices for himself. Jesus offered himself for a sacrifice. No other sacrifice can pay for even one sin. His one sacrifice paid for every sin. All other sacrifices were offered again and again as countless priests succeeded each other. Jesus alone is our Priest forever. His one sacrifice is sufficient for all eternity. He is our everlasting Priest. Marvel at this hidden glory.

So dear friends, when the troubles of your life tempt you to doubt God’s love and question why he doesn’t use his kingly power to make things better, look to the altar of the cross. See the sacrifice that was nailed to it. See the glory hidden there. He is your everlasting Priest. Remember him and proclaim his death as you taste the bread and wine that bring you his body and blood to eat and drink. His one sacrifice on the cross stands before God forever. His one sacrifice has paid for your sins in full and is the eternal proof of God’s love for you. For Jesus is the everlasting Priest.

Do not doubt it, for you have the Lord’s word on it. So earnestly and fervently does he desire for you to be sure and certain that he not only lets us eavesdrop on what he said to his Son but he also takes an oath, swearing that this is the truth. That’s how sure he wants you to be that Jesus is your everlasting Priest.

Marvel at his glory, his double glory. Jesus is your conquering King, who is in control over all. He is your everlasting Priest, whose glory is hidden in the shame of the cross. Doubts will flee, as you marvel at your Lord’s double glory. Amen.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Pastor Gregg Bitter

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
859 5th Street
Hancock, MN 56244
(320) 392-5313

Top