Who Jesus Really Is

Knowing That Jesus Is The Son Of God, We Can Place Our Trust In Him.

Dan Franklin
Nov 19, 2023    42m
favorite_border
FAVORITE
Have you ever wondered who Jesus really is? When we know and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, we can place our trust in Him. When we go through struggles, we need to remember only Jesus can give us eternal salvation, so we need to fix our eyes on Him and trust in His promises. Video recorded at Upland, California.

More From This Message

Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Paul Seawright: [00:00:19] My name is Paul Seawright. My family and I have been attending here for 12 years, and we're just grateful for the community that it provides. Today's scripture reading comes from Matthew chapter 17, verses 1 through 8, "After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus." And this is God's word.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:35] Amen. You can grab a seat. Good morning. All right, so have you ever been in a conversation with someone who just lost out on something? Somebody who just experienced some kind of loss, but they're talking about the loss as if they didn't really want to win in the first place. We've all had this happen. You're talking to somebody, and they got passed over for a promotion that you knew that they were sort of in the running for, and then they say, well, I didn't really want that job anyway, that's a lot of extra hours, and I don't really care about status, so I'm actually kind of glad that I didn't get that job. Or if you're a student, you might be tempted at some point to say, well, you know, that that part in the play or that solo in the recital or that spot on the starting team, I didn't really want that anyway, I'm glad that I didn't get that. Or maybe sometimes there's a Saturday night and we're like, you know what, I'm glad nobody invited me out this Saturday night. I'm glad we're at home alone. Now, some of us sometimes are glad that we're home alone. I'm not saying that there's never a case where that happens, but it's like this instinctive human thing that we do when we lose in some way, we try to make it into a win. And we try to act as if I only lost because I chose to lose, not because I in some way was incapable of winning.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:04] And so here's why I want to talk about this right now, here's why we're talking about this whole idea. Last week, Phil brought us through the end of Matthew 16, and Jesus talked about losing. He talked about himself, he basically said that by any human standard, he was about to lose, he was going to be betrayed and then arrested and then put to death by public execution. He was going to lose. In fact, if you remember, when Phil brought us through it, Peter was so troubled by this that he told Jesus to stop saying that. It's like, don't say that you're going to lose, we need the final victory. But Jesus said, no, this is the path to my glory, it's through suffering.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:47] And then, as if that wasn't enough, he looked into the eyes of the 12 and he said that they were going to lose also. In fact, he said this in Matthew 16:25, he said, "For whoever wants to save their life f will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." Jesus said, if you really are going to follow me, you are going to lose, you're going to experience some losses. And we'll talk about this more as we go, but sometimes these losses are what we might call more of passive losses, they're losses that just sort of happen to us, they happen to everybody, Christian or non-Christian. You experienced the loss of somebody that you love, or health is a problem, or finances are a problem, and you experience those losses. But there are also more active losses, Jesus is talking about a choice here, saying, if you're going to follow me, there will be things that you lose. You'll be in the battle against sin, so you'll lose out on some temporary pleasures. You'll be looking to be generous, so you'll lose out on some excess income. You'll be looking to hold your integrity, so you might lose out on promotions, or advancement, or friendships. You will lose because of the choices that you make.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:06] And here's the question, and I got to imagine, put yourself in the place of the 12. You're with Jesus, and he's telling you this. He's saying, if you follow me, you will experience losses. And the thought that might inevitably go through your mind is, well, if Jesus is the King, shouldn't we be winning? Like, shouldn't we be victorious? Shouldn't we, if he is the King, shouldn't we be living like princes and princesses? Shouldn't we be the richest and the highest status and the healthiest people out there? Why would we be the ones experiencing losses? And then, if you thought about it more, the second question might come up for you. And that's the question of saying, if we are going to experience losses, is that because Jesus is choosing that for us, or is that because Jesus is just unable to deliver? The question before a lot of the disciples right now, I think, was, does Jesus lose by choice or by failure? If he loses, and if we lose, is that part of his grand plan to bring about final victory, or is it just kind of sour grapes like we have where we say, I didn't even want to win in the first place?

Dan Franklin: [00:06:23] Well, what's going to happen in our story today is that I think Jesus is going to address that exact concern, that exact thing that might go through some of our minds. Because I'm going to bet that there's some of you in here this morning, and you are weary and you're losing a little bit of hope. You're wanting to keep following Jesus, you're wanting to keep following him and to trust him, and to trust that in the end, he's going to bring about final victory and that every sacrifice you make is going to be worth it, but right now, it doesn't feel worth it. And you need to see something that's going to convince you that Jesus, even if he leads us through losses, will bring about final victory. And we're going to see Jesus address that for us in Matthew 17, which is where we're going to be today. So if you have a Bible, if you're using a Bible app, or if you're using your phone, Matthew 17 verses 1 through 8 is where we're going to be.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:21] But before we get to 17, we're going to look at the last verse in chapter 16. So again, if you were here last week, Phil brought us through verses 21 through 27, which is where Jesus talks about, with the disciples, he says, hey, I'm going to lose, I'm going to be turned over, and crucified. And also, you're going to lose because you have to lose your life in order to find it. And then he ends chapter 16 with this amazing statement. He says, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” And again, just imagine you're one of the 12, and you're sitting there, Phil related this last week to it was almost like a weekend retreat with the disciples, and he closes it by saying, by the way, some of you, some of the 12 who are in this room right now, some of you will not die before you see the Son of Man, that's Jesus, coming in his kingdom. It's natural for all of us to look at this and say, well, Jesus says this was going to happen. When did this happen? When did the disciples...Because Jesus hasn't returned yet in the fullness of his glory, when did this happen? And some people say, well, it was when Jesus was raised from the dead. Which is possible. Some people even say, well, maybe this is a cryptic version of what happened in 70 AD when Jerusalem was destroyed, maybe it's something like that, and that also is possible. But most commentators agree that what happens in the story we're going through today, the story that happens right after Jesus makes this statement, is his fulfillment of this statement. They are about to get a glimpse of Jesus in his full kingly royalty, and what they're going to be left with is the distinct reality that any time we seem to be losing for Jesus, victory is right around the corner.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:24] So verse 1, let's look at this chapter together. Verse 1, "After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves." Now, if you've been hanging out around here, as we've been going through the Gospel of Matthew, we've seen this several times. Where, apparently, does Jesus love to be? He loves to be on the mountains. And some of you do, too, you're like, hey, I like Jesus. He liked to be on the mountains, this appears to be something that he does to retreat away. But it also might have some theological significance, because if you read the Old Testament, there are a lot of important events in the history of Israel that related to mountains. And so if last week's passage where Jesus gets away to Caesarea Philippi, if that was like a team building retreat with the 12, this is a breakout session.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:19] Six days later, he doesn't take all 12, he takes Peter, James, and John, and he says, you three are going to come with me and you're going to witness something. They go up to the mountain, and this isn't because Jesus had his favorites. Peter, James, and John sometimes are called the inner circle because they got in on some things that the others didn't. They were the three Jesus grabbed when he was praying in the garden right before he was betrayed. This isn't because Jesus is playing favorites, but this is because Jesus has absolutely no problem with choosing leaders, even among the leaders. And James, John, and Peter were early church leaders, and so they get in on something here in this passage.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:58] So they're going up on the mountain with Jesus, and verse 2 tells us what they saw. It says, "There he was transfigured before them." Now has anybody in here within the last month used the word transfigured. I'm guessing no. This is not a modern word, we don't read this word, you're like, what does that mean, he was transfigured? Well, this is actually kind of cool, the Greek word that this is translated from, and you can just listen to it and you'll hear it. It's the word metemorphothe. Did y'all hear that? Yeah, metamorphosis. This word, the Greek word, is talking about change, it's talking about a transformation. They'd spent all this time with Jesus, they knew him, and they'd walked around with him. But they go up on the mountain and suddenly he's transformed in a way that they're not used to seeing him.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:53] And verse 2, tells us how he was transformed, it says, "His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light." And if you're familiar with the Bible, one thing that you may have picked up on is that when God manifests himself in some way, when God is showing himself in some way, almost always he shows himself through light. You got Moses at the burning bush. You have the pillar of fire that leads the Israelites. You have the Shekinah glory in the temple. You even have the first words of God in the Bible which are, let there be? Let there be light. We start with light, God is light. In fact, that's what John says in First John chapter 1 verse 5. He says, "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." And so Jesus is transformed, and the form that it takes is bright light. His face, his skin, and his clothes became like they were bleached, they are shining in their brightness. Imagine being Peter or James or John because the story really is told to us from their perspective, they are seeing Jesus like they've never seen him before, they are seeing him in his glorious brightness. They're probably at this point right now saying, man, when we tell the other nine, they're not going to believe what we're telling them. They are seeing something truly amazing.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:29] And by the way, if you think that this is an amazing thing to witness, it gets even more amazing because you get to verse 3 and we read, Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. They're not only seeing Jesus, and in a sense, the veil torn back and him and all of his glory, they see two Old Testament heroes of the faith, Moses, and Elijah, talking with him. Moses is the great prophet and deliverer who led the Israelites out of Egypt when they were slaves there, and led them into the new land, and gave them the law, and established them as a nation. And then Elijah came much later, Elijah was the main prophet, the most prominent prophet during the time of the kings of Israel. And he would boldly tell God's Word to those in power, even when they didn't really want to hear it. He also was involved in a whole bunch of miracles, including the most famous one that some of you will know is that he had a public showdown with the prophets of a false god named Baal. And they did a little contest and they said, you know, let's see which God is the real God. And so all of you prophets of Baal, you'll ask Baal to call down fire from heaven to consume a sacrifice on the altar. And then I'll ask Yahweh, I'll ask the God of the Jews, the one that they believe is the one true God, and I'll ask him to call down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice on this altar. And the prophets of Baal, you can read this in First Kings 18 if you want to later, they try and they try and they try and nothing happens. And then Elijah, before he prays, soaks the altar with buckets of water so that nobody could think this fire just happened. And then he prays, and God sends fire from heaven in this amazing public confirmation of his power, that's Elijah. And now Moses and Elijah are with Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:34] Now, this is an amazing vision, they're seeing two prophets from long ago. And in fact, some of you I don't know if you're thinking this, some of you right now might be thinking, how did Peter, James, and John know they were Moses and Elijah? Did they have the, like, hello, my name is nametag on? And I'll just tell you, I don't know how they knew. I do think that there are some indications in the Bible that God is able to do something physically, especially when we think of the idea of eventually as having glorified bodies, that he does something with us physically, where there's something about us that makes us recognizable, even if it's not simply through the features that we had, there was some way that they understood that that's Moses and that's Elijah talking with Jesus right now. Now, people have debated, well, there's all these Old Testament heroes. Why these two specifically? Like, why specifically Moses and Elijah? Why not Abraham? Why not David? Why not Esther? Why is it these two? And there are two main theories on why it's these two. The first theory is this Moses largely represented to the people of Israel, the law. He brought the law of God, and he established them as a nation with the law of God, so here is Moses reflecting the law. And then Elijah was the great prophet during the time of the kings, so he represents the prophets. And the Jews really referred to the whole Jewish belief, the whole Old Testament, as the law and the prophets. And so some people say, here's what's going on. Jesus said back in Matthew 5 that he came to fulfill the law and the prophets, and here's his public vision, where the law and the prophets are basically shaking hands with him.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:24] The second theory is that Moses and Elijah were both sort of forerunners to Jesus, they both were sort of ones who went before him to pave the way. If you go all the way back to the book of Deuteronomy, there's a prophecy that Moses gives to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 18:15. He says, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him." He says God's going to bring a prophet like me, and Israel had lots of prophets, but at the time of Jesus, they were all waiting for the one they referred to as the prophet. The prophet like Moses, and that was Jesus, and now here is Moses as the first prophet, there with the prophet. And there is also a prophecy about Elijah in the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi chapter 4, verse 5, we read, “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes." And so there are indications in the Gospels that the Jews were also waiting for some sort of return from Elijah. And Jesus makes clear, actually, later on in this chapter, that in a figurative way, John the Baptist fulfilled that prophecy, he came in the spirit of Elijah and prepared that way. But also, we've got this story, and the actual Elijah is right there. And so you might be thinking, well, which one is it? Is it that this is the law and the prophets? Is it that they're forerunners? And for me, I'm like, I don't see any reason why those are at odds with each other. I think those are both realities. Here's Jesus with the law and the prophets, and with two public endorsers who had come before him, pointing to his majesty and his glory.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:12] You've got to imagine this is quite an event for the disciples. This is quite an event for Peter, James and John. And so at this point, Peter speaks up, and if you know Peter, you might be thinking, uh oh, because Peter is sometimes referred to as the apostle with the foot-shaped mouth. Peter frequently was the first to speak, and he frequently misread situations and said the wrong thing. You remember Phil talking last week about how Jesus had to refer to Peter as what? As Satan, because he misunderstood about the suffering. So here's Peter speaking up, but I just want to reassure you, if right now you're thinking Peter is probably going to mess this up and say the wrong thing, I just want you to know, yes, he definitely is, that is what happens in verse four. Verse 4, "Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Now we're here in the United States in 2023, and we read this, and we might be thinking, that's weird. Like, why shelters? Why is this going on? But we can't necessarily see that this is wrong, it just seems weird. Mark and Luke both tell this same story, and for both Mark and Luke, they spell it out for us. They tell us Peter didn't know what he was talking about, he was freaked out, he was overwhelmed, and he was trying to figure out the situation. They both tell us overtly, and Matthew just assumes we're going to get it, they both tell us Peter misread the situation. He somehow misunderstood what was going on.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:52] And so let's ask the question, let's look at verse 4 again. What was Peter's mistake? Like, what was the problem with what he said? And there are two problems with what Peter said here. The first problem is this, Peter's statement reveals that he thought that what he was seeing right now was the new permanent reality. Peter was looking at this and he was saying, well, this is great, guys, it's all happening; Jesus is here shining in his glory, he's about to be crowned as king, and he's clearly about to take over Israel. We got Moses and Elijah there with him, this is headquarters now, let's make three shelters. We'll get together and we'll make plans for our next move. Right now is the new permanent reality, guys, it's happening. And Peter somehow didn't remember that six days before, in the previous chapter, Jesus had said that his glory was only going to come after what? After his suffering and after his death. He said, I'm going to be turned over to the Jewish authorities, I'm going to be put to death before resurrection and glory, and that all was just out of Peter's mind at that moment. Maybe he thought Jesus had changed his mind and come around to his way of thinking. It's like, this is great, now we don't need to do that death and arrest or anything. Guys, it's happening, let's launch. He had misunderstood that this was a vision, this was a glimpse of what was to come.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:21] And there's a second problem with what Peter said here. And the second problem is that through his statement, he takes Elijah and Moses, and he puts them on the same level as Jesus. Peter says, guys, this is great, we've got Jesus, and Moses, and Elijah, let's make a shelter for each of them. Because you know what? With this three-headed monster, no one's going to stop us, nobody can get in our way. We've got Jesus, and Moses, and Elijah, now I know we're going to be okay. Now I know everything's going to work out. Now, I know that every perceived loss is going to turn into a victory. Now I know we're going to be okay because we've got Moses and Elijah and Jesus. Peter misreads the situation by elevating those two to the level of Jesus, when they were just there as endorsers, they were just there to point the finger at him.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:14] And just in case you're listening to me right now and you're like, is that really what's going on? Is that really the misunderstanding? What happens in the next verse reveals that it definitely is the misunderstanding that Peter had, because somebody else speaks up now in verse 5, "While he was still speaking..." Peter doesn't even get through his statement, While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”. And here's what I want you to notice, the Father, as he now publicly speaks from heaven, he doesn't say, hey, Peter, James, and John, these are my three guys. These are my three guys, I've got Jesus, I've got Moses, and I've got Elijah, these are my three guys, they are going to save you all. He doesn't do that at all, he puts a giant spotlight on one of those three guys. He points all attention to Jesus, and he says, no, no, no, this is my Son, whom I love, I'm well pleased with him. Listen to him. He's redirecting any misunderstanding that these are three great leaders, to there is one Son, and you pay attention to him. This story is not about three great heroes of the faith coming together, it's about two great heroes of the faith coming and pointing further attention to Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:50] And the disciples respond in verse 6, the way we all would respond. It says, "When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified." Just think for a second about what they've been through, Jesus is glowing, Moses and Elijah are there, and the Father is speaking from heaven, this is too much, and they fall down terrified. And I love verse 7, "But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” I mean, one of the reasons why I love this is because in the gospels, whenever it talks about Jesus touching somebody, it's typically to heal them. He goes up and he touches the leper, or he touches the eyes of the blind man. I just love the image of Peter, James, and John just on their knees, on the ground, terrified. And just one by one, he comes up, puts his hand on their back or their hand on their shoulder, and he says, it's okay, you can get up, you don't need to be afraid. He's bringing a different kind of healing and instruction to them.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:48] And then verse 8 finishes our story very curiously. Verse 8 says, "When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus." And so for starters, this is just a factual statement. It's like, all right, the vision or whatever this was, it seems like from what happens later on, it was a vision. This vision is over, Elijah and Moses are gone, and Jesus apparently is back to the way that they normally saw him, and he's no longer shining in his brightness. The vision is over, but there's something significant about how Matthew ends this verse. In fact, in the Greek, it says here in the NIV it says they saw no one except Jesus. In the Greek, it's even more emphatic. In fact, the English Standard Version, I think, really nails us when it says, "When they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only." Not a three-headed monster that's going to save them, they saw no one but Jesus only. And that is an absolutely appropriate way for this vision to end because God the Father wanted them to be focused on who? Jesus only, only Jesus is the Son whom the Father loves and is well pleased with and wants us to listen to. Only Jesus is the Savior who gave his life for the sins of the world, so that we could become children of God. Only Jesus is the one who conquered sin and death so that we could have eternal life, and so that death doesn't get the final word. Only Jesus is the good shepherd for the sheep, leading us along to true life, and only Jesus is able to lead us through the fires of refinement in every loss that we suffer so that we come out like gold on the other side. They look up and what do they see? Jesus only. And that's what the Father wanted them to walk away with, we are going to fix our eyes on Jesus only.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:02] And in some ways, you've got to imagine, what was the takeaway from this? Well, what was it that Peter and James and John came away with this as? And once again, you have to think of it in terms of that they're about to suffer, they're about to have losses, they're about to have times where they feel like they're at the bottom of the totem pole as far as society, they are about to be low. And Jesus wants to make sure that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that when we suffer loss for Jesus, glory and victory are always on their way. So right now, you might be losing, Peter, right now, you might be in prison. Right now the whole Jewish nation might have turned on you. Right now your family might not be sure what to make of you. Right now you might be poorer than you were when you started with Jesus. But when we suffer loss for Jesus, glory and victory are on their way. And for Peter and James and John, if they wanted to believe that, they just had to remember this glimpse that they got of the final victory of Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:03] And I can guarantee you one thing, I know for a fact that Peter never forgot about this, because Peter talks about this event in one of his letters. In Second Peter, chapter 1, starting in verse 16, he writes to a group of Christians, and he says, "For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty." Now let's see what majesty he's talking about. Verse 17, "He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Well, that was in our story, and some of you might know that's also what the Father said at his baptism. So maybe Peter is talking about the baptism here, but no, he's not. Verse 18, "We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him..." Where? "...on that sacred mountain." Peter says, all right, believers, right now you're going through some trials, you're going through some troubles. But I want you to know, we didn't just pass along to you a message that we made up or that we thought was a good idea, we were eyewitnesses to the fact that Jesus gets final victory, and we were eyewitnesses to it because God declared it to be the case when we were with him on that mountain. In fact, I don't have it up on the screen, but I'll read you the next verse in Second Peter, verse 19, "We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." He says, just as we're holding on to that vision of the risen Jesus, of the glorified Jesus, you hold on to the scriptures that tell us the message about Jesus. He wanted to make sure that all of them remembered that when we suffer loss for Jesus, glory and victory are always on their way no matter how dark things seem.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:19] So when I was a senior in high school, there was a member of my senior class, I knew him a little bit, I didn't know him super well. His name was Mike, and he was in a horrible accident where he got electrocuted and was in the hospital, it was not looking good, nobody thought he was going to make it. But one of the things that happened as a result of this is prayer started breaking out at our school, and especially amongst those of us who were believers. There was a lot of prayer, and it wasn't just private prayer in our rooms or even private prayer when we were at youth group, we were praying right there at the school. We would gather around at lunchtime, and we would link arms, and we would pray for God to save Mike's life and deliver him from this. And we'd get together before school and we'd pray, and I remember at the time, you know, 17-year-old me, I was so convinced I knew exactly what God was going to do. It's like, here's what God is going to do, God is going to rescue Mike. Nobody thinks that he's going to, but God is going to rescue Mike, he's going to live, he's going to recover, and then once he recovers, people are going to come to faith in Jesus. Because they're going to see it, and they're going to be like, this is undeniable, God has shown his power and his glory through healing Mike, definitely, God's going to heal Mike, and people are going to come to faith as a result of it. And about a week later, Mike died. Which naturally was a tragedy, but it was also really confusing for a bunch of young believers who trusted in the ultimate power of God. And we're saying, why didn't he heal him? And again, that question creeps in, to say this is a loss, at least immediately, this is a loss. Is this a loss because God chose this for a greater purpose, or is this a loss because God is simply incapable of bringing the kind of victory we were asking for?

Dan Franklin: [00:33:15] A year later, I was at college, and I got word that a gal who I knew, her name was Danielle, who was a part of the current senior class, so the year after mine, she had been born with a heart problem and had suddenly died, had suddenly dropped dead. It was two years in a row that at my school, we lost a senior during the year, and I knew Danielle a little bit. And so I came back for the memorial service, and my youth pastor Chuck was the one leading the service. And at that memorial service, Chuck told a story that I think none of us knew this story. And his story started a year before when Mike died, and when Mike died, Chuck scratched the plan that he had for youth group that week, and he decided to just talk with all of us because he knew we were confused and hurting and in distress. And so he talked to us about what the Scripture says about death, and we talked about hope, and we talked about prayer, and he just really looked to shepherd us through that. I knew that I was there. I remembered that. What I didn't know was that after youth group ended that night, Danielle was there because a friend had brought her, and she went up to Chuck and she said, what do I need to do to be saved? And she prayed to receive Jesus right there. God, you are going to heal Mike and bring about people to come and be saved. And God said, I'm going to bring about the victory, but it's not how you think. God ultimately is bringing his final victory, even when we're experiencing losses.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:51] And I want to say this, I know some of you right now, you're like, Dan, that's a sweet story, but I've experienced a loss, and I haven't seen any fruit of it yet. I don't know what God's doing, I don't know who's coming to faith in Jesus, I don't know what greater good is coming. So that's a nice story, but we don't always get that. And you're right, we don't always get that glimpse. I felt like that was a little bit of a glimpse of God just saying, hey, next time you're tempted to doubt, remember this. And maybe the Transfiguration, in a way, is a glimpse, so that next time we're tempted to doubt, we remember. And we remember that when we suffer loss for Jesus, victory and glory are always on their way.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:37] Now I want to pause, and I want to say something else. Remember Peter's mistake, remember Peter's mistake being like we got Jesus and Moses and Elijah, that thinking, hey, if I have Jesus, plus these two guys, everything's going to be okay. I just want to say we are all like Peter, we laugh at him, but we are all like Peter. And we're all like Peter in the sense that for most of us if we're saying, how do I know things are going to be okay? We say because I have Jesus, and. I know I'm going to be okay in the end because I have Jesus and a great family. I know I'm going to be okay in the end because I have Jesus and a nation with a great national security force. I know I'm going to be okay at the end because I have Jesus and a great job that's going to cover me for the rest of my life with all my expenses. I'm going to be okay because I have Jesus, and a great set of friends, and a great social network. I'm going to be okay because I have Jesus, and I also have my intellect, or my skills, or my abilities. I know I'm going to be okay because I have Jesus, and. For any of us thinking that right now in this room, the Father is speaking to us through this passage, and what he's saying to us is, no, no, no, not Jesus, and this is my beloved son. Listen to him. And after we're done cowering on the ground and we lift our eyes to look up, you know who we see? Jesus only, our only Savior, and our only hope.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:13] But here's what I also want to say. Some of you right now are tired and you're losing hope, you've suffered some losses. And there are losses that we all suffer, there are losses that are common to human beings, and you might be weary from those. You might be dealing with health issues, or financial issues, or estrangement from people that you love. And you might just be tired, saying, why doesn't God fix this? If he's all-powerful, if Jesus is all victorious, if he's the King, why is my life not going more smoothly? And then there are some of you that you're experiencing the active losses when we decide to follow Jesus. Man, you are in the battle against sin. You are fighting the good fight. But right now, all it feels like it's got you is the loss of some temporary pleasures that would make your life better. You're in it right now, and you're being generous with your money, but right now, all it seems like it's got you is the loss of some extra income for some passing pleasures. You're keeping your integrity and following the truth before Jesus, but all that it's got you right now is the loss of promotion, loss of reputation, loss of friendship, and loss of opportunities. Maybe, you're under 18, and right now you're choosing to obey your parents. And really, the only reason you're choosing to do it is because Jesus tells you to. Like, I don't know about these two, but Jesus tells me to obey, and so I'm going to obey, and right now, it doesn't seem to be getting you anything. Maybe right now you're in a marriage where you're like, the only reason I'm still in this is because Jesus tells me to be, but it feels like I'm losing out on a better life by staying faithful here. Some of you are tired and you're discouraged and you're starting to wonder, are these losses that I'm experiencing, is this because Jesus is secretly at work bringing about his ultimate glory? Or is it because he just can't deliver? And God in his grace gives us this amazing story, this amazing glimpse, so that we can always know that when we suffer loss for Jesus, glory and victory are always on their way. We wait with patience. We stay faithful. We keep trusting him, and we remain obedient. We don't lose heart because whenever we feel like we're suffering loss for Jesus, glory and victory are always on their way.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:44] And you know, if what God wants is for us to read this passage and put the spotlight on Jesus, to fix our eyes on him, then I think what we get to do next is probably the best way we can do that, and that's that we are going to celebrate communion together. So if you're helping out with communion, you can head to the back as we prepare for this. But when we celebrate communion, we're doing something that Jesus told us to do so that we can remember who he is and what he did for us. We're putting the spotlight on Jesus, and we're remembering that he gave us this visual, this physical picture of what he'd done so that we eat bread, remembering his broken body for us. And we drink from the cup, remembering his shed blood for us. We put the spotlight on him to remember him.

Dan Franklin: [00:40:36] And so here's what I want you to know, what we're going to do. In a moment, we'll sing a song together, and while we're singing the song, the elements will be passed out. Hold on to those, because after the song, we'll take those together in unison. But here's what I want to invite you to reflect on during this time. Communion is a wonderful time for remembrance, remembering the price Jesus paid for us, it's a time for reflection, it's a time for confession and repentance. it's a sober celebration of our forgiveness of sins. But it's also a time today where whatever loss you're experiencing right now and, in your mind, you're saying, I'm not sure it's worth it, I'm not sure it's worth it, I'm not sure where the payoff is. For you to bring that burden to Jesus by faith that even though you're experiencing a loss for him right now, victory and glory are on their way.

Dan Franklin: [00:41:34] So let me pray for us as we prepare for this time. Father, I want to pray especially for anyone whose heart is just really heavy with something that they've experienced as a loss, and where they're tempted to believe that you simply didn't come through, please give us eyes to see the glory that you're bringing, the victory that you're bringing. As the risen, glorious Savior shining in your brightness, affirmed by the law and the prophets, help us to continue to walk in faith, help us to be comforted, help us to keep trusting, keep moving, and keep believing that you will bring about your ultimate glory and victory in our lives as we suffer whatever loss happens. In the meantime, Father, we pray that you are honored and that we are helped through this time. In Jesus' name, Amen.



Recorded in Upland, California.
Read More

Next in this Series

View all in this series
Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848