Hope is Here / 17. Hope is Here // 1 The Transfiguration - Joel Virgo // Matthew 17:1-9

17. Hope is Here // 1 The Transfiguration - Joel Virgo // Matthew 17:1-9

This Sunday we began our new spring term series ‘Hope Is Here’. We will be looking at the book of Matthew from where we previously left off as a church, launching into chapter 17.
Often in our lives we will ask, “Why is God so quiet?” We wonder where He is in our present situations, and why He doesn’t answer our questions or speak into our pain. The Bible sympathetically acknowledges this experience. We see people asking this same question in places like the Psalms and in Job.
We also see Pilate questioning Jesus in a similar way at His trial before His crucifixion, asking why He will not answer his questions. Jesus responds in John 18:37, saying ‘Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice’. Part of what He means in saying this is that He is always speaking but our hearts are not always inclined to listen to what He has to say. While the Bible recognises the difficulty and confusion of feeling like God is silent, it also insists that God has spoken and is still speaking.
In this week’s passage we read the story of the transfiguration, which can act as a visual representation of God’s plan that has been worked out through history. Moses and Elijah are brought together and Jesus comes into their story and completes it. He is the one that the law and the prophets pointed towards, everything that had been was about Him. Jesus is the revelation of the living God, we can get to know the Father through the Son and this is how He communicates with us… but we must listen!
There are so many other voices and opinions that we can be exposed to and if we try and listen to them all, we can’t really hear any one. We have to choose to put aside the other voices and distractions that take our focus away from Jesus and concentrate just on Him and what He is saying. When we do this our eyes are opened to the triviality of things that we once cared about because Jesus is all that matters and everything that we need.
At times it can still feel as though God is quiet. We tend to look for experiences and feelings in order to be sure of His presence, when in reality He has always been there. When we have done so much of our lives with Jesus it can be easy to forget who He really is. In the passage Peter is excited when He sees Elijah and Moses but when the cloud lifted only Jesus was left. Our desire for novelty takes our attention away from what we already have in front of us.
When the letter of Hebrews was written, the people were going through persecution and hardship. In response to this, the writer of the letter spends the first chapter describing the glory and greatness of Jesus. Then in Hebrews 2:1 they say ‘Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard’. When we go through hardship we must look back at the thing that we have already been told.
The Bible is the word of God and so when we read and study it we hear His voice and see glimpses of Christ, who we will one day see in full.

Put aside distractions and make the decision to stop listening to voices that aren’t Jesus’ so that you are able to clearly hear what He is saying.
Talk less. God’s presence trivialises all of our concerns and opinions and so we need to spend less time talking and more time listening.
Read the Bible because that is God’s word. We want to hear God speak to us but He already has!

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