Talk 7
Uneasy Hearts and Enlightened Minds

Welcome to our life-changing journey through Matthew.

Today, I want to preach the message, “God is in the Ordinary.”

Some people think God is only in the Supernatural.

I remember my dear friend—the late Fr. Eric Santos. If there’s one thing I remember about him, he always made fun of how short he is. And he loved telling us this story: One day, a visitor, looking very important in his a barong tagalog, walked into the rectory—the parish house where Fr. Eric lived.

When the man entered the gate, he saw Fr. Eric watering his plants. At that  moment, he was only wearing a simple white shirt.

So the visitor said, “Pst, pst! Boy! Nandyan ang pari?” (Is the priest there?) Fr. Eric was miffed. He rushed upstairs to dress up, smoke shooting from his  nostrils, mumbling beneath his breath, “Papakita ko sa iyo sino ang pari!” (I’ll show him who the priest is.)

He donned his white sotana and went down.

When the visitor saw him, he said, “Ay, sacristan ka pala!” (You’re the altar boy.) Even with the sotana, Fr. Eric still didn’t look like a priest.

Because he looked too ordinary.

Friend, that’s exactly why we miss God in our lives. He’s there but we don’t see Him. Because we think God is only in the extraordinary and supernatural. We think God is only present in Church or in a Retreat or ina religious event.

But God is present in your ordinary life. In your ordinary day. In your ordinary house. In your ordinary office. In your ordinary relationships.

Adjust your expectations.
Find God in the ordinary.

Four Lessons From The Transfiguration

Today, I share 4 powerful Lessons from the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Are you ready? Let’s dive in: Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two
brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. In the last Talk, I said that in this juncture of the story, Jesus was going to spend more time with his 12 disciples. But here, He goes even more micro and zeroes on just 3 disciples—Peter, James, and John.

Lesson 1: Work On Your Inner Circle

I believe Jesus is teaching us a leadership lesson: Your greatest impact happens not when you’re with the many but when you’re with the few.

Listen carefully. If you want to impact the world, work on your inner circle. That’s what Jesus did here—He left the 9 to spend time with his core group of 3. A wise man said, “There’s something wrong if those who praise you are those who barely know you, and those who curse you are those closest to you.” (OUCH!)

Can I go practical here? Work on your family. Prioritize your kids. This quote is so true: “No other success can compensate for failure at home.”

Lesson 2: God Wants To Be Close To You

Matthew says they went up a mountain.

Whenever you read the word “mountain”, you should hyperlink that with all the mountains in the Bible: Mt. Sinai. Mt Carmel. Mt. Zion.

God revealed Himself in mountains.

Especially to original high mountain in the Bible—Eden. Yes, the Garden of Eden was a mountain. That was where God and Man talked together while walking in the garden. God and man were close!

And did you notice how Matthew says it happened “six days later”?

Hint, hint. This happened on the “Seventh Day”. Sabbath points to our “Eternal Fellowship of God.

May I preach to you today?

God wants to be close to you.

He’s asking you, “Walk with Me in My garden.

More than anything else, He wants to be in fellowship with You.

This is why God created you.

I’m a father. I’m not perfect, but I love my kids. And if you’re going to ask me, “Why did I have kids?” you can be sure that it’s not so that someone can clean the house, or wash the car, or take care of me when I grow old. A good parent doesn’t make their kids their retirement plan.

The reason why I had kids? Because I wanted to love them. Period.

In the same way, God created us because He wants to have a relationship with us. He’s invites us to live in Eden. To live in the Garden, to talk with Him, walk with Him, and be with Him.

This is just verse one. Oh, it’s so tempting to camp right here. Every single line in the Bible is dripping with meaning. But we must move on…

Jesus Glows Like Captain Marvel

Here’s what happens next: As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. (v.2)

When I read this, I think of Captain Marvel glowing with shimmering light. (Sorry, Marvel fan here.)

But when ancient Jews heard this transfiguration story, they would think of only one person: Moses. Because he too was transfigured on a mountain.

Ever since they were kids, Jews were steeped in the Hebrew Scriptures. So the transfiguration of Jesus makes them think of great story in Exodus where it says, When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the Lord. 30 So when Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses’ face, they were afraid to come near him. (Exodus 34:29-30 NLT)

This was why according to Leviticus and Exodus, high priests wore special garments with a breastplate with precious gems. And a turban with a golden plate and a holy crown. This was to capture this idea of the “radiance” that Moses had.

The Transfiguration story was a declaration that Jesus was the new Moses. And the true High Priest. Not Caiphas.

May I go deeper?

Lesson 3: God Calls You to Humility

The Apostle Peter says, “You are royal priests”. (1 Peter 2:9 NLT)

Because God created us in His image, we’re also called to be His priests who represent God to His people; And in a mysterious way, we’re supposed to shine God’s radiance to the world.

No, I’m not saying your eyes will start glowing like Captain Marvel.

I’m saying your imperfect love can radiate God’s perfect love to others.

When I was sick with Covid, it was Marowe’s love that healed me. She too had Covid. She had slight fever. But 14 people in our compound had Covid, and she cared for us. She was radiant with God’s Love.

I also received so much healing love from friends. They called me, messaged me, organized prayer sessions, sent food and medicines.

I repeat: They were shining with God’s Love.

And God used them to heal me.

God calls you to be a priest—to represent Him in this world.

The Two Greatest Legends Appear

Back to the Transfiguration story, something wild happens: Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. (v.3) When you apply for a job, companies usually require two referrals. Well, Jesus couldn’t have gotten higher referrals than these two Legends. Having them there to back Jesus up was monumental.

Here’s a little background: Judaism had two foundations—The Torah (Law) and the Prophets. And Moses and Elijah were the twin peaks of Judaism, because Moses was their greatest Law Giver and Elijah was the greatest Prophet.

They were a huge confirmation that Peter was right when he confessed, just a few days ago, “You are the Messiah (Mashiyach), the Son of the living God.” (16:16)

Speaking of Peter, Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (v.4) In Mark and Luke, the two writers whisper to the reader, “Peter really didn’t know what he was saying.”

Hey, if I see my Boss glow like an light bulb, and then see two dead guys appear beside him, I’d freak out and speak gibberish too.

That’s when the Father speaks up, confirming who Jesus was: But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” (v.5, emphasis mine) In the past, the “cloud” was a symbol of God’s Presence. In Exodus, while escaping Egypt as slaves, God’s Presence was symbolized by a “pillar of cloud”.

All these—The radiance, Moses, Elijah, the Father’s voice, cloud—were but a glimpse of the supernatural, and so here’s the last message for today.

Lesson 4: Behind the Mundane is the Miraculous

During the Transfiguration, God pulled away the thick curtain that separates the visible and invisible, even for a few moments, to show to Peter, James, and John what was really happening in the spiritual realm.

But notice how it all ended: The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground. 7 Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus. (v.6-8)

After all that star-studded light show, all that was left was the ordinary Jewish carpenter from the dusty town of tiny Galilee who made farm tools.

No glowing face. No Heavenly Legends beside him. No bellowing baritone voice from a magical cloud. Just ordinary Jesus.

Which is exactly God’s message to you today: Behind the ordinary is the extraordinary. Behind the natural is the supernatural. Behind the mundane is the miraculous.

Because God is present in the mundane. When you’re washing the dishes, or doing the laundry, or making your client calls, or helping the kids with their homework, or caring for your elderly Lola with Alzheimer’s… God is present there.

And next time you pray in your bedroom, or living room, or dining room, through your faith, pull back the curtain that separates the visible from the invisible, and see that you’re being transported into God’s Presence. God’s House. God’s Heart! And though you only see the old walls, old ceiling, and old furniture of your home, in reality, you’re surrounded by Angels and Saints and God Himself.

God is in the ordinary.

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