The Place, The Face, & The Case – Transfiguration…

Alaska-near DenaliJesus took the three disciples (what happened to Andrew?) up the mountain…   The key is that Jesus claims all of it as his own ‘turf’ – the good and the bad.  He makes it all his own! The Hebrew Bible characterizes “mountain” thus:

  • It’s the place where Abraham took Isaac to sacrifice…

Genesis 22:2f            He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac…

  • It’s the place where Moses first encountered the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob…

Exodus 3:1f            Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.

  • It’s the place Moses communed with God… It’s where God “dwells”… The place from which God gave Moses the tablets of the Law (“Instruction”)

Exodus 24:15–18            Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.   The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud.   Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.   Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

  • It’s the place Israel looked to for help, Mount Zion, Jerusalem & the Temple

Psalm 121:1f            I lift up my eyes to the mountains— from where will my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

  • It’s the place where God celebrates final victory…

Isaiah 25:6f            On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.  And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations – death…


  • YET, it’s the place of idolatry, pride, self-will, which is idolatry…

Isaiah 2:11–15           The haughty [high] eyes of people shall be brought low, and the pride of everyone shall be humbled; and the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.  For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud [high] and lofty, against all that is lifted up and high;  against all the cedars of Lebanon, lofty and lifted up; and against all the oaks of Bashan;  against all the high mountains, and against all the lofty hills

Jeremiah 19:4f (NRSV) — 4 Because the people have forsaken me, and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah have known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent, 5 and gone on building the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal,

YET, it’s the place of temptation – the high mountain – to stray from his mission & ministry

Matthew 4:8            Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor;

  • AND it is the mountain of instruction – “The Sermon on the Mount” – and learning to forsake harm, violence, and war… A timely instruction for us today

Isaiah 11:8f           The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.  They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 2:3–5             Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

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