You Are My Child; In You, I Am Well-Pleased

Text: 2 Peter 1:16-21 

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

"This is my Son, whom I love; with Him, I am well-pleased."

These were the words spoken on that mountain one day long ago when sunlight poured from the face of Jesus. That day, Jesus' clothes were filled with light. And suddenly, a bright, radiant cloud came over them with a voice sound from deep in the cloud, 

"This is my Son, whom I love, the focus of my delight!"

Dear friends, that day, Jesus' glory over sin and death was on display. Furthermore, God the Father showed His complete and total approval of the person and work of Jesus. It was a grand display of divine glory and a grand announcement that God the Father was well-pleased with Jesus. 

Now, keep in mind that when the Father said that he was 'well-pleased,' this was not a mere emotional sentiment or a favorable job review, 

"Jesus, I like who you are and your personality. You've got great charisma and nice charm. It's neat what you are doing for the whole human race. Keep it up; go get 'em, Tiger."

No, this is not what is meant when the Father said that He was well-pleased. Instead, when the Father publicly announced from that bright, radiant cloud, "I am well-pleased," He was showing total and complete approval of the person and work of Jesus. To be well-pleased with Jesus meant no distance between Jesus and the Father. It also meant that nothing else was needed; Jesus was doing exactly what needed to be done, and He was exactly whom He needed to be. The Father publicly affirmed His approval of Christ, and the divine glory of Jesus was confirmed to the disciples that everything they needed hinged on the person and work of Jesus.

And so, as we consider our readings from the Gospel of Matthew and 2 Peter, we would do well to be encouraged by the words of the Father being well-pleased with Jesus. Furthermore, we should be taken aback by the appearance and glory of Jesus – Him shining like the radiant sun. 

But if this is all that we take away from today, I'm afraid we have missed the Gospel that speaks and shines forth for you and me.  

You see, dear friends, when we look into this world, we see a dark world of death and decay, as well as a long list of disapproval. I am certainly not trying to be a pessimist. Rather, I am trying to be realistic. This world that we live in is a vale of tears. In other words, this world is sunk in tribulation after tribulation, hardship after hardship, with tears that come down like rain. As a person in the hospital said to me this last week, 

 "Pastor, life is cruel, and it is tough. It isn't fair."  

Indeed, there is a daily grind in this world. Every day that we live, these bodies don't shine but deteriorate. And to make things worse, there is such a critical spirit in this world. Whether it is your school, your job, or your local neighborhood, there is not a day that goes by where you and I are not slandered behind our backs or fail somehow in our duties and responsibilities to others. The point is, when we look deeply into this world – the vale of tears – we see a world of death and decay. And when we listen to this world, what we hear is a very critical world that takes special notice of all life's failures. Though we never support or encourage suicide, part of me gets it. Back in 2008, when the American novelist, David Foster Wallace, killed himself, many people said, "I get it." 

If the only thing in this life is decay and death, and if the only thing the world does is speak disappointment and disapproval into your ears, what is worth living for? What is so important to keep on truckin'?

I suppose this is the part of the sermon that I could say, 

 "Jesus is light in the darkness. Look at Jesus. There's always a bright spot in every dark cloud."  

 I could also say, 

 "Listen to what the Father said about Jesus. In this world of disapproval, the Father approves of Jesus."  

While this is fine and dandy and refreshing to hear, what does it have to do with you and me? Dear friends, listen up! It actually has everything to do with you and me.  

In today's Collect – our opening prayer – we prayed that we would be made co-heirs with King Jesus in heaven. In other words, Jesus had a body just like yours and mine that was subject to the suffering of this world. However, with His body, Jesus lit up with glory. That is to say, when we look at the transfigured Jesus in full glory, we get a small glimpse of the future glory of our bodies when we are resurrected from the grave. Did you hear that? Seeing sunlight pouring from Jesus' face and light coming from Jesus' body gives you a sneak peek of what it will be like on the great last day when death will no longer have any dominion over your body. 

Baptized Saints, yes, this life is hard and full of decay and death. However, there is hope beyond this life. Seeing Jesus full of glory gives you a sneak peek that you, too, will have a glorified body at the great resurrection. And so, this means quite literally that we can despise death and look upon death as a tiny sleep for just a little while.  

Baptized Saints, what do you have to fear in death and suffering when Jesus shines like the sun for you and is white as light to enlighten you? Nothing! There is nothing to fear in life or death when you compare it to the future life you have in Christ with a resurrected and glorified body. The appearance of Jesus lighting up like the sun proves that sin has been overcome for you and me. It proves that death has been overcome for you and me.  

 And there is more for you. In today's Collect – our opening prayer – we thanked God that the voice from the bright cloud wonderfully foreshowed our adoption by grace. In other words, when you were baptized, you were not baptized into nothing. No, you were baptized into Christ. Your Baptism not only connects you to the transfigured Christ – clothing you with the brightness of Christ – but your Baptism makes the words spoken to Jesus - words that are spoken to you as well.  

Baptized Saints, do you realize that God the Father is well-pleased with you this day? He is well-pleased with you, not because of what you think, say, or do. No, He is well-pleased with you because you have been hidden with Christ. Obviously, you and I are not God's son as Jesus is, but God still says of you through Christ: 

 "You are My child, My beloved. In you, I am well-pleased."

And so, because your Jesus is not only your Savior from death but also your Savior from sin - that means that there is no distance between you and the Father. Even though this world rarely speaks any words of kindness, you need not worry, for in Christ, God delights in you as His redeemed child. In Christ, nothing else is needed for God's approval. In Christ, you have the Father's good pleasure.  

Baptized Saints, what slander of the world do you have to fear when you have the full favor of God in Christ Jesus? Nothing! There is nothing to fear in the rants, slander, and rhetoric of mankind when you compare it to the approval of God that you have in Christ this day. Again, the approval of the Father is your approval because Jesus belongs to you, and you belong to Him in your baptisms.  

Baptized Saints, in Christ's transfiguration, you have the promise of eternal life beyond the grave. Through Christ, you have God's approval beyond the world's critical slander. In Christ, we see God's glory and hear God's voice. In Christ, you have God's glory and God's voice,  as you journey through this vale of tears with hope, assurance, and joy.  

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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