sermon

Foresight

Rev. Dr. John J. Lolla, Jr.

February 18, 2018

 Text: Mark 9:4, O.T: II Kings 2:1-12, N.T.: Mark 9:2-9

            Foresight is both exciting and troubling.

Foresight is what every investor wants to have wealth. When you know the future, you possess knowledge about how to use the present to gain the great reward.

Foresight is also what every investor needs to preserve wealth. When you know the future, you possess knowledge about how to protect from loss the wealth you’ve accumulated.

Unfortunately, knowing that you’re about to lose your wealth is the other side of foresight. This kind of foresight is troubling. But if you possessed such foresight, you could develop strategies to recover the wealth you’re about to lose, or avoid losing it in the first place.

Jesus’ disciples didn’t know it. But they were about to lose the wealth of talking with Jesus daily. Just over the horizon the forces of darkness would gather before the Cross to take Jesus from them.

If they had known that Jesus was leaving them, they could have begun to strategize about how to preserve what He was teaching and showing them about God. But they didn’t understand the wealth behind what they were seeing. Nor were they aware of the wealth in Jesus’ messages that the day of darkness was coming. So, they weren’t troubled. Nor were they aware of their need for foresight.

Because Jesus’ disciples had no clue about the value of foresight, they weren’t concerned about preserving the wealth of Jesus’ presence with them. They seemed like most people. They were pretty unconcerned about the future, as well as the present. They argued over trivial matters, and got caught up in their petty opinions that missed the point about Jesus’ purpose. They let the value of Jesus’ purpose slip away from them.

Because the disciples weren’t looking ahead, or beyond the immediate grind of living, they weren’t concerned about obtaining the wealth that Jesus was offering them. They liked the privilege of being with Him. They tolerated going on His mission trips without food or money to support themselves. They saw the miracles He performed and enjoyed the enthusiasm that people had for Jesus.   They even liked being called one of His disciples.  It made them feel important.

But they were more interested in satisfying their daily needs than hearing Jesus’ message of God satisfying their eternal needs. In short, the disciples lacked foresight.

When you live in a valley, you can’t see beyond the walls of the immediate world around you. It’s only when you get above a valley’s walls that you can see beyond the immediate world to what lies ahead.

Jesus finally had it with the disciples. He had heard and seen enough of the pettiness, the self-righteousness, the false security with which His disciples lavished themselves. He decided to give a few of them foresight.

Jesus took Peter, James the Son of Zebedee, and John to a mountain top. To this point, they’d been comfortable with Jesus being a great rabbi – a teacher of the law – and a gifted physician – a healer of diseases.

Jesus had been doing a good job satisfying their immediate needs, and the needs of hundreds throughout Galilee. Jesus was about to shake their complacent satisfaction. Or rather, His Father in heaven was about to give them foresight.

Suddenly, Jesus was revealed in His glorified self – the same glorified self they would see after His resurrection from the dead. There He stood in radiance, beside the prophet Elijah and Moses – the two great prophets of Almighty God. The true wealth of knowing Jesus was beside them!

Elijah was the only prophet to raise a person from the dead. [I Kings 17: 22]. Moses was the only prophet to encounter God face to face [Exodus 17]. Both had been gone long ago. But there they were – visitors from the kingdom of heaven. And there was Jesus beside them!

At that moment, Peter, James, and John were given foresight of eternal life. Elijah and Moses were alive. Jesus was glorified in His resurrection form. In that moment, they were given foresight of the wealth that Jesus had come to give. They were also given foresight that God would preserve that wealth through Jesus. Finally, they were given foresight that God had already created the strategy for Jesus’ followers to recover life from death – the true wealth of humankind.

All of this was revealed in Jesus’ transfiguration, and God declaring, “This is my Son, whom I love. Hear Him!” Jesus was showing and telling them about what lies ahead. They were receiving foresight.

From a mountain top, you can see beyond the valley of the present. You can glimpse what lies ahead. From God’s mountain top, you can see beyond the valley of the present to glimpse what lies ahead.

Every day we can become so immersed in the immediacy of life that we don’t use the foresight God gives us in Jesus Christ. We become caught up in petty disagreements, drive ourselves crazy over satisfying temporary desires, make plans for a future we construct, and never consider that we’re giving away the wealth Jesus has given us through foresight.

It’s like being a football player who is so obsessed with winning a fight at the moment, that you get penalized for the petty-ness of near-sightedness and jeopardize the victory that was in your grasp.

My football coach called it snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Jesus Christ has shown us the end game that lies ahead. He has revealed to us the Father’s strategy to overcome the loss of what the world believes is wealth, in order for us to gain the true wealth of eternal that is in Christ. Jesus shows us how to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Don’t snatch defeat by living in the valley of present day satisfaction and complacency. Use the foresight from God’s mountaintop to invest your life today in the victory that lies ahead!

That begins with how you live each day.

Live each day as if it is the last day you have to live – with your wife, your husband, your children, your parents, your friends, your neighbors, your community. If you live each day as if it were the last day you have to live, what are you going to do differently.

If you live each day as this is the day to celebrate your arrival into God’s kingdom, what would you do?

Are you going to invest so much passion in things that aren’t related to praising God with gladness?

Are you going to spend so much time doing things that have nothing to do with eternity?

Jesus has given you foresight to anticipate the day of His coming. He has revealed to you what’s at stake for you when He arrives to take you home. He has uncovered for you how precious each second of your life is.

More importantly, He has revealed to you the glory of what lies ahead when the hour glass runs out of sand for your life on earth.

Live each day for the wonderful day that’s coming in God’s Kingdom!

Live each day with a sense of urgency and immediacy that you have left nothing undone you ought to have done before the Lord comes to take you into His glory!

Reconcile with the people with whom you know you need reconciliation. Forgive as Christ has forgiven you. Bless them, do not curse them. For the measure you give is the measure you will get.

Bless those God has given you as a gift. They are strengthened through your blessing. Even those who have persecuted you were given to you for a purpose – to lead you to dependency upon God, and love for Jesus. God works for good in everything for those who are called according to God’s purpose. This is the foretaste of the Kingdom’s wealth! Grasp it!

Serve with gladness those God has given you to serve. They are God’s blessings to separate you from those who reject the poor, the weak, the oppressed. Rejoice and give thanks for them for through them God sees your heart!

These are the things we ought to be considering with our foresight!

Jesus has shown us the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Life each day as if it’s your first day in the Kingdom of Heaven, offered you by God’s love.

See the wonder and joy that is found in the precious little signs of God’s presence that reveal the greatness of His Kingdom!

Value the preciousness of God’s Light that shines in a family member’s sacrifices of life or a neighbor’s smile of welcome!

Give away the gift of yourself for the glory of God – these are the things we do when we enter the Kingdom of Heaven that God promises us in His love.

These are things we can see through the foresight Jesus has given us!

Rejoice and be glad, for this is the last day of this life and the first day of the next and you are prepared!

Thanks be to Christ!

Amen.

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