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 The Transfiguration

The following is from a Sermon given by Dr. Richard A. Bennett at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa in the fall of 2006.

It will appear in six (6) posts.


By Richard A. Bennett, presented at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa- Fall, 2006

The Lord Jesus Christ carries the Titles- “ Son of God” and “Son of Man”.

The Transfiguration story is presented to us in Matthew Chapter 17, Mark Chapter 9, and Luke, Chapter 9. Each of these synoptic Gospels contains the record of our Lord Jesus Christ as He ascended the Mount of Transfiguration.

The PERSON of the Lord Jesus Christ is mentioned in Johns Gospel, 15:26 where we read: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”

It is the purpose and the Ministry, the Supreme Ministry, of the Holy Spirit to testify of the person and the glory and the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. But the very next verse tells us “27. And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.”

When the man of God speaks of Jesus, or the child of God speaks of Jesus, he is merging with the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who is committed to testify of Jesus. As Christians, we merge with the Holy Spirits ministry as we seek to uplift and to honor and glorify and bow down before our risen conquering Christ.

Let’s look at a few verses from Matthew Chapter 17.
“1. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2. And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 6. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. 9. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. 10. And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.”

The description of this same event also appears in Mark Chapter 9, and Luke, Chapter 9.

Let us look at the significance of what happened on the Mount. We are going to see what actually did happen on the Mount, and then we are going to see the setting of what happened on the mount—what were the circumstances that led up to the Lord Jesus taking the Disciples up to the Mount of Transfiguration? And then we will look briefly at the sequel—what happened after the Lord Jesus came down from the Mount? His coming down from the mount is probably as significant an event as what it was when He came down from Heaven as a baby in Bethlehem.

The Significance of the Transfiguration on the Mount

Jesus Chirst is the one and only child in all of human history that was BORN innocent. No other child has ever been born innocent. You look at your little baby- you see their chubby cheeks, and their fingers, you cherish them, you love them and you adore them. However, what you are looking at is a little baby liar. What they are is not what they appear. They appear to be the very paragon of virtue, but in actual fact they are part of Adam’s fallen race. And some of us mistake the cry, thinking they want milk, or that they are hurting, when they have learned how to get attention. They will use their cry and they will deceive us. And they will do anything to become the center of attention. Self centeredness is born into the human race, but not so with the Lord Jesus. We have a Christmas Hymn (Away in a Manger) that tells us that a little Child laid in a manger, and no crying he makes:

“The cattle are lowing
The poor Baby wakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes”

It is true to say that the Lord Jesus Christ never sought self-centered attention. He was always man as God created man to be.

We think of Him as God the Son. We have sang God the Son, and God the Man. We will look at Him as God the Man. What He did so often was explained not in terms of His Deity, but in terms of his PERFECT humanity that was totally and completely DEPENDENT on His Father in Heaven.
The Lord Jesus not only taught that we are to humble ourselves, but HE humbled HIMSELF.
John 5:19 “ Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself…”

Now as God, Jesus could do anything of Himself. As God, He had the sovereign right to decree anything that He so wished. The part of His humiliation when He became man is that he said [b][color=0033FF]“I can do nothing of Myself”[/color][/b]

God bless,


 2007/3/5 21:11

 Re: The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration (Continued- part 2)

It is interesting that the terms “nothing” and “no” appear several times in connection with the Lord Jesus Christ’s appraisal of Himself throughout the Gospel of John. John 5:19 [b]“….The Son can do nothing of himself…”[/b]

In John 5:30 “30. [b]I can of mine own self do nothing[/b]: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”

Notice- [b]“Nothing of Myself” AND “not my own will”.[/b]

In John 5:41 “41. [b] I receive not honour from men”[/b]

In John 6:48 “[b]…..For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will,[/b] but the will of him that sent me.

John 7:16 He tells us “[b]……My doctrine (teaching) is not mine,[/b] but his that sent me

John 7:28 “[b]….and I am not come of myself,[/b] but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.”

John 8:28 “[b]..and that I do nothing of myself;..”.[/b]

John 8:42 “[b]…neither came I of myself,[/b] but he sent me”

John 8:50 “[b]…And I seek not mine own glory:..”[/b]

John 14:10 “[b]…the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself”[/b]

As God, Christ could have spoke of Himself. As God, His will was sovereign in the Universe. As God He could have done anything and taught anything at any time. [b]But part of His becoming part of the human race was that He renounced right of independent action. And as man He became obedient and dependent on His Father in Heaven.[/b]

The interesting thing is that the Lord Jesus Christ said to you and to me (twice- in John 17 and later on He said [b]“as the Father hath sent Me into the world, even so send I you into the world”.[/b]

He said as I came into the world as man and renounced the right of independent action, and realized that as man I can do nothing of myself, though I was never less than God, NOW I am sending you into the world and I am asking you to live that same exemplary way by renouncing the right of independent action.

How much of our activity is independent? How much we think that what we have to do is to have a committee meeting, to have a quick Word that God will bless our ideas, and then begin to promote our own plans and projects and ask God to bless them? Without any dependence upon the Lordship and Headship of Jesus Christ, we somehow fail to live by faith. [b][color=0000FF]FAITH AND HUMILITY ARE TWO LIFE-GIVING COUSINS.[/color][/b]

 2007/3/5 21:46

 Re:The Transfiguration (Continued)

The Transfiguration (Part 3)

PRIDE AND INDEPENDENCE ARE TWO DEADLY COUSINS. The man who is independent is the man who is self-sufficient. The man who feels he can handle it. He feels he has the adequate resources- intellectual, physical, mechanical. He feels that whatever task that is put before him he can just have self confidence to achieve that what has been set before him. BUT NOT SO WITH THE LORD JESUS. He could of done it as God, but He said as man “I humbled myself, though being in the form of God, I thought it not robbery to be equal with God, yet I made myself of NO REPUTATION and HUMBLED MYSELF AND BECAME OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH, EVEN THE DEATH OF THE CROSS.

There is one thing that I would like to say to the Evangelical Church throughout the free world today—and that is that we need to realize that true blessing doesn’t begin with the top blowing off, it begins with the bottom falling out. It begins when we realize our insufficiency and inadequacy and in spite of all our training and techniques and talents and abilities, that we say [b][color=0033FF]“OH LORD, WITHOUT YOU I CAN DO NOTHING”[/color][/b]” . [b]The Lord Jesus said that of Himself![/b] And He was the Son of God. [b][color=0033FF]BUT HE (CHRIST) SHOWED MAN HOW MAN SHOULD LIVE. He said that as the Father has sent me, so send I you.[/color][/b]

Though Christ was born innocent, His innocence had to be tested. No man becomes Holy until his innocence is tested. And that is why we read that the Lord Jesus Christ was the one who said “I was suffered to be tempted”. In Hebrews we read: “He was tempted, like as we are”. And as He traversed life He continually said YES to God, and continually said NO to sin. So HIS innocence matured into Holiness. Dr. Arnold, the Principal of Rugby School, in England many, many years ago had this to say---“I was never sure of a boy who merely said he loved God. I was never sure of him until he also said I hate sin”.

[b][color=0033FF]I wonder whether we find that our expression of love to God as somewhat perfunctory and shallow and artificial. Because somehow or another though we express our love to God we still in our hearts have a little flirting of thoughts and approval and desire to those things that God has forbidden.[/color][/b] But the Lord Jesus, innocent, moving to holiness, living a life of dependence on His Father—He was the one who ascended the Mount of Transfiguration. When you see Him on the Mount of Transfiguration, you don’t see the light of the Glory of God shining upon Him from without, but you see the light and the light and the glory of perfect humanity shining through Him from within. You see God as God created man to be. That is why the father looked upon Him and said [b][color=0033FF]“this is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”.[/color][/b]

 2007/3/5 21:56

 Re: Tje Transfiguration (Continued)

The Transfiguration- Dr. Richard A. Bennett, Sermon given in the fall of 2006 at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, CA.

part 4

We are not told what Adam looked like when God created him in His image. And we are not told how long it was before Adam fell, and what happened in those days when Adam and God walked in the Garden, and God communed with him. There is an interesting verse in Isaiah that tells us that God named the stars. When did He name the stars? What kind of instruction did He give to Adam & Eve before the fall. The fact that in many different cultures and many places around the world, stars are called by the same name indicates that they have one common source. But the fact was, that Adam walked with God before the serpent seduced him. If Adam had not sinned, once his worth had been accomplished, once he had learned what God wanted to instruct him in the conducting of the supervision of the planet earth, he would have gone straight to heaven—BUT HE DIDN’T!. You know what happened. Sin beguiled Adam and Adam disobeyed God and obeyed the devil-and Sin and death came upon the earth.

But now there is another man, whose name is Jesus. He was born innocent. He was tested and proved and Holy, and was approved of God. And He said to Peter, and to James and John—let’s go up to the Mount of Transfiguration, over in Northern Caprnium. It was a place of few villages. Probably it was Mt. Hermon that they ascended and there God’s approval was showered upon Him. “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” and just as Adam could have gone to heaven had he not disobeyed God and obeyed Satan, once his work on earth had finished, so Jesus could have gone straight to heaven from the Mount of Transfiguration. The “Perfect Man”, the man whom God had created man to be, approved of the Father, having moved from innocence to Holiness now to a glorified state- metaphorised , not the caterpillar contining the life, but now the fluttering butterly who could have winged his way in splendor and holiness into the presence to renew His eternal fellowship with His Father in Heaven.

Let’s leave the mount of Transfiguration for a moment, and look at the setting of the transfiguration. Let’s see what happened before Peter & James & John accompanied the Lord up the mount. We can find it in the previous chapter, chapter 16. There we read that the Lord Jesus was about to change His entire ministry. It was a new beginning for the Lord Jesus and His teaching. For three years He had been teaching and demonstrating among the Disciples and the people that He was indeed the Messiah. However, the Jewish people believed that when the Messiah would come He would come as King, to be Reign and rule, and to bring in the Kingdom. But no one had made the confession that He was the Messiah. And He said to the Disciples-" who do men say that I am?" Peter answered, “thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”. That is what the Lord Jesus had been waiting to hear for three years. And He said “Peter, flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father which is in Heaven, He has revealed this to you”. And the Lord then, knowing that men, at least one, recoginised that He was the Messiah. Then, for the first time, Christ began to talk of the cross. That was totally opposite from what those who expected the Messiah to come could possibly comprehend. And what do we hear? We hear that Peter looked into the face of the one whom he had proclaimed to be King, and rebuked him. Can you imagine? Jesus, the Messiah, the King, the Ruler, and now Peter is going to tell Him he is wrong! He said Lord “not that”. He said “Lord, I want the Crown, I don’t want the cross. He said I want the popularity, I don’t want the rejection. Lord, I want to be esteemed, but I don’t want to be with you if you are going to be rejected. Peter had said YES to the CHRIST and NO to the CROSS.

[b][color=0033FF]Isn’t that the position of modern Evangelism today? Don’t we so often come and worship the Lord in adoration and praise, and say “yes Lord, You are Christ, You are Lord of All, but Lord don’t tell me that if I should reign with you I must suffer with you. Don’t tell me that if I line up with the despised and the rejected Jesus of Nazareth that I might be despised and rejected myself. Lord, You don’t understand.”[/color][/b]

 2007/3/5 22:03

 Re: The Transfiguration- Continued

The Transfiguration- Sermon given by Dr. Richard A. Bennett at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, fall, 2006

Part 5

I said to someone the other day “if every Christian School Teacher went to School and said in their before they went, whether it is better to listen unto God or unto man judge ye, we cannot help but speak the things which we have seen and heard. You cannot muzzle our mouth in talking about JESUS. I want to tell you there would either be revolution or revival! Because so often we don not want to be identified with the One who is despised and rejected. And when this thing begins, we are talking about JESUS, not about “a plan of salvation”, but about a SAVIOR. It begins by talking about the SON OF GOD and THE SON OF MAN.
So, let’s go back to the Mount and listen to what the father says when He approves His Son—He gives a word of attestation “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased”. God also gives a Word of exaltation—“Hear ye Him” Who was He saying that to? Could He have been saying that to Peter who didn’t want to hear Him? Could it be God the Father who is saying to Peter and those on the Transfiguration Mount- “Listen to what He has got to say” If any man would be my Disciple said Jesus,” let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake and the Gospel’s, the same shall find it.”

Father in Heaven, tells us all here tonight, LISTEN TO WHAT JESUS SAYS AND BEGIN TO LEARN THE PRINCIPLE OF TRUE, REAL, RADICAL DISCIPLESHIP. But it is much easier for us to cuddle together in a cozy fellowship. To smile at one another, and enjoy one another’s company and outside the world is going to hell, and all we talk of Jesus is when we are together. But we are not prepared to lose a friend, that they may be offended if we tell them that Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the father but by me.”
I think I can honestly say that in the course of my life time, the number of people on the streets, in airports, in taxicabs, in Grocery Stores and Banks is in direct proportion to the number of people that I have lost their friendship forever and ever because I spoke to them of Jesus. And beloved if you are not prepared to lose a friend you will never win a soul. It is not a question of how to win friends and influence people, it is how to present Jesus, the great divider of men, and take the consequence.

And I often say to Dorothy, the fun begins after the benediction has been pronounced. When we are let out there in a godless throng, and when your heart is broken and the tear drops splash from heaven and you see through their magnifying effects, and you will see not a noisy neighbor who puts their television too loud, you will see not an irritable bus who somehow or another always gets in our way, but through that magnifying effect of God’s tear drop you see a living soul for whom Christ died.
This is my beloved Son, hear ye Him. So what happened next? Well on the Mount one of the things they spoke of when Elijah was there was of his “Exodus”. They spoke of His departure, they spoke of his crucifixion. From that moment on Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem. What a blessing for you and me, that the Lord Jesus Christ came down the Mount. What awaited Him when He came down the Mount? We read it in Lukes Godpel, we read of a father with an “only son”. This could be translated “only begotten son”. And on the Mount was the Only begotten Son of the Father meeting a human father with an only begotten son. But the fathers only begotten son was demon possessed. He was foaming at the mouth. He was frothing. He was being cast into fire and into water, and was living a life of hell on earth. If the Lord Jesus hadn’t come down the mount, that demon possessed boy could never have been made well. And the only begotten son of a grieving father would have gone to his grave part of the kingdom of darkness.

On the the mountain, the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Satan met, in a conflict. What the disciples had not been able to do because of the weakness of their faith the Lord Jesus Christ now, as God, dependent upon his Father, having received the Testation of the Father, having known the Father was well pleased, and all the Disciples now knew that He was well pleased, He cast out the demon and the little boy was healed.

 2007/3/5 22:08

 Re: The Transfiguration- end

Part 6

This is the conclusion of Dr. Richard A. Bennett's sermon, given at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa in the fall of 2006

But beloved, if the Lord hadn’t come down the mount. If He hadn’t set His face to Jerusalem, if He hadn’t gone to Mount Mariah and to Calvary, you and I would forever be consigned to the realms of darkness. And I want to suggest to you that His coming down the Mount, when He could have gone straight to heaven is as significant as His leaving heaven and coming down as a babe in Bethlehem because He knew what awaited Him when he came down from the Mount. When He left Heaven, that unclouded communion of the Triune Godhead that had forever existed, eternal tranquility, eternal peace, eternal togetherness, eternal love, flowing from member to member, flowing from person to person without a ruffle, without a discord and HE LEFT IT, AND HE CAME DOWN TO THIS SIN CURSED WORLD. [b][color=CC0000]But even as a man in this sin cursed world He maintained His communion with The Father. A great while before daylight, He communed with God, His Father. [/color][/b]

And even in this sin cursed world He said “I can do nothing of myself.--- [b][color=0033FF]Father, Father, Father, I AM DEPENDENT ON YOU . And then He came down from the mount to the greatest severance of pain that is beyond description, for there came that moment that He cried “My God, My God”-----I wonder why He said “My God” twice? Could it be that He was saying “My God” addressing the Father and they saying “My God” addressing the Holy Spirit. That tranquility of Spirit, the eternal One in a Triune Nature was now to be severed. WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME. AND DARKNESS COVERED THE FACE OF THE EARTH, AND HE WHO KNEW NO SIN BECAME SIN FOR YOU AND ME. At that moment all of the unthinkable, unprintable, filthiness of hell itself surged across His spotless soul and He was alone. But not forever. You see, Peter wanted Him to reign as King, but he could never reign over men until He had redeemed men. And in order to be the ruler, in order to be the Messiah, in order to be the LORD, he had to become sin for you and for me. MY GOD, MY GOD WHY HAS THOU FORSAKEN ME? With the stone rolled away the Lord Jesus emerged from the tomb and carried a PERFECT HUMANITY into heaven. We read in the Book of Hebrews “He was our forerunner”. He was the one who pioneered the way, and because He lives, we too shall live. Hallelujah.[/color][/b]

[b]What a Savior! In the Book of Revelation we read “put on the white rainment that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear”. That is the plea of the glorified Christ. The White Rainment that was resplendent on the Mount of Transfiguration is yours and mine today, for the asking.[/b] [b][color=CC0000]Lord Jesus in this sinful environment, clothe me with Your purity, that when I see You I shall be as thou art, for behold what manner of love the father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the CHILDREN OF GOD when He doth appear, and when we see Him, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is![/color][/b]


I pray that this sermon has blessed you, as much as it has me.

God bless,


 2007/3/5 22:26

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