Jesus Gets A Makeover

Originally Preached on Feb 14th, 2021

Message Title: Jesus Gets a Makeover
Theme: Flopped Inventions & New Discoveries
Season: Epiphany
Main Text: Mark 9:2-10
Scripture Reading: Psalm 50:1-6
RCL Scripture: 2 Kings 2:1-12; Psalm 50:1-6; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Mark 9:2-9
Focus: Jesus is transfigured before Peter, James, & John.
Function: To acknowledge how we have changed the image of Jesus & Christianity to fit our preferences and correct the gaze of our ministry.
Other Notes: Madame CJ Walker & Annie Turnbo Malone

SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 50:1-6 From the rising of the sun to where it sets, God, the Lord God, speaks, calling out to the earth. 2From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines brightly. 3Our God is coming; he won’t keep quiet. A devouring fire is before him; a storm rages all around him. 4God calls out to the skies above and to the earth in order to judge his people: 5“Bring my faithful to me, those who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” 6The skies proclaim his righteousness because God himself is the judge. Selah

INVENTOR: Madame CJ Walker & Annie Turnbo Malone

  1. AUDICENCE ENGAGEMENT: How many of you love a good before and after pictures?
    1. What’s your favorite type of before and after photo? (home reno, car, yard, weight loss, fashion makeover, hair makeover)?
      1. Weight loss
      2. Home reno
      3. Before, during, after deployment
      4. Car remodel
  2. Before and after photos tell a story. They show the passage of time and transformation of the subject. Our invention today highlights the story of before & after pictures but we must focus on two women today.
    1. Netflix recently released a mini series titled “Self-Made” and it is a historical fiction story that is loosely based off of the stories of Madam CJ Walker and Annie Turnbo Malone.
      1. History has dubbed Madam CJ Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, the first woman millionaire in the US. However, much like the light bulb and the car, the invention of a particular formula of hair care products has a debated origin.
      2. Both women claim to be the inventor of their hair growth product but the recipe has ties to use by African women 100+ years prior.
  3. Thanks to these women a few inventions & cultural implications came about:
    1. Black/African hair care products like the hot comb & hair care treatments
    2. Thriving cultural & educational opportunities for desegregated and segregated areas
      1. (Walker) Indianapolis
      2. (Malone) St Louis & Chicago
    3. A business structure that would be copied by Avon, Mary Kay, It Works, Pampered Chef and many more.
  4. Hoosiers, specifically, were impacted by Madam CJ Walker as her headquarters were in Indy. She contributed to Indy’s YMCA and helped to fund desegregated cultural events.
  5. Sources:
    1. https://www.biography.com/inventor/madam-cj-walker
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madam_C._J._Walker
    3. https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/madame-c-j-walker
    4. https://historicmissourians.shsmo.org/historicmissourians/name/m/malone/
    5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Turnbo_Malone
    6. https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/2/15/18226396/annie-turnbo-malone-hair-entrepreneur-trump-black-history

TRANSITION: Today is a special holiday. And I’m not referring to Valentine’s day. Today is Transfiguration Sunday, the day we remember a specific account in scripture. Jesus is gonna get a makeover… but it isn’t from Madam CJ Walker or Anne Turnbo Malone.

SCRIPTURE: Mark 9:2-10 2Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain where they were alone. He was transformed in front of them, 3and his clothes were amazingly bright, brighter than if they had been bleached white. 4Elijah and Moses appeared and were talking with Jesus. 5Peter reacted to all of this by saying to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good that we’re here. Let’s make three shrines—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6He said this because he didn’t know how to respond, for the three of them were terrified. 7Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice spoke from the cloud, “This is my Son, whom I dearly love. Listen to him!” 8Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. 9As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them not to tell anyone what they had seen until after the Human One had risen from the dead. 10So they kept it to themselves, wondering, “What’s this ‘rising from the dead’?”

EXPLAINATION: Jesus transfigures before Peter, James, & John and reveals his divine state.

  1. Setting:
    1. When- “Six days later”
      1. After what: Predicting his death and “get behind me Satan” to Peter.
      2. Lots of time has passed since Jesus’ ministry started (last week we were in chapter 1/16… we’re now in chapter 9/16)
    2. Who- Jesus took Peter, James, & John
    3. Where- top of a very high mountain
      1. Jewish traditional place for God to meet people
        1. (law & prophets affirm Jesus)
          1. Both guys interacted with God on a mountain
      2. “High places” were places where heaven & earth overlapped (think Greek god’s of Olympus)
  2. Story:
    1. Jesus transformed – bright clothes
    2. Elijah & Moses appeared & talked to Jesus
      1. Did the other guys hear what they were saying?
      2. What could have been the topic?
    3. Peter’s response: I like this, let’s make 3 tents/shrines
      1. My interpretation: Lets deem this moment holy and this location holy by setting up a monument like they used to do in Moses’ day
    4. Narrator “for peter did not know what to say”
      1. Connected to passage just before
    5. Voice from above “This is my son, listen to him”
      1. Echo of his baptism from the beginning of ministry
      2. Connected to passage just before
    6. Jesus responds – keep this secret until I rise from the dead
      1. PJ&J- Ugh WHAT?!?!

INTERPRETATION: We place expectations on Jesus.

Disclaimer: I wrestled with this topic and ask you to wrestle with me.

  1. When you picture Jesus, how often do you picture Jesus looking like a glow stick? You know what, Let’s take a moment to illustrate Jesus together.
    1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: If you were to draw a picture of Jesus (when he isn’t a glow stick), what would he look like?
      1. Think about context: Jesus was from the middle east, yes, a diverse area of land but likely Jesus looked more like a modern day Arab than the renaissance paintings we have of Jesus
      2. AI picture of Jesus & Forensic Jesus-
        1. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2020/07/jesus-according-to-ai.html
        2. https://www.archyde.com/they-recreate-the-image-of-jesus-with-artificial-intelligence-unusual/
        3. https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-general/reconstructing-jesus-using-science-flesh-out-face-religion-004942
    2. AUIDENCE ENGAGEMENT: If Jesus was here now, how do you think Jesus would compare to the Jesus we teach in Sunday School? What would his parables be focused on?
      1. Could we have modified Jesus to fit our preferences?
  2. The Disciples & their faith:
    1. If you read the different Gospels next to each other you will notice little differences. Mark’s gospel presents the disciples as clueless people.
      1. Look at Peter’s response to glowstick Jesus- Woah! Let’s build some tents!
      2. The narrator says “he didn’t know what he was saying”
        1. Matthew 17:1-8 – doesn’t make this notation, Peter has a Jewish response. Let’s build a sacred space for this sacred thing.
        2. Luke 9:28-36 – does claim Peter didn’t know what he was saying, Jesus’ goal was to head to Jerusalem and Peter wasn’t ready for what was coming.
        3. Frequently, in the other gospels, the disciples get background information that others don’t get. They seem to get “secret knowledge” that puts them ahead of the crowd. However, in Mark’s gospel the disciples struggle.
      3. In Mark’s gospel the disciples struggle to follow Jesus’ teachings and show their faith. Just after this scene, they rejoin the rest of the disciples who weren’t able to perform miracles. Honestly, Mark’s version of the disciples seems very human.
  3. Jesus’ ministry is defined by God not by human expectations.
    1. Jesus is different than we picture him & his ministry goals look different than humans would plan. I think, if Jesus were here today, humans would work Jesus to death answering small prayers. We would be satisfied with individual stories of healing instead of looking for the greater systemic healing.
      1. Last week, Jesus took some time to rest and moved on to the next city EVEN THOUGH there were still more needs in Capernaum. Jesus could have spent his entire life in Capernaum and never actually fulfilled his ministry.
    2. The transfiguration is a transitional point in Jesus’ ministry between teaching, healing, and casting out demons AND the Great Healing on the cross. (PF)
      1. “My Dad, a pastor, always felt that the Trans            figuration was a “trigger event” and readying for the journey to Jerusalem. He also saw the baptism as the “trigger event” for the ministry on earth.” (FB)

APPLICATION: To acknowledge how we have changed the image of Jesus & Christianity to fit our preferences and correct the gaze of our ministry.

  1. In what ways could our image of Jesus hold us back from our own growth as Christians?
    1. My Burden
    2. Focusing on the things that will not spread the hope of Christ.
      1. I know some people who are no longer believers or don’t attend church because Christians focus on the wrong thing while ignoring the tenants of our faith.
    3. Not focusing on the healing needing to happen in this world.
      1. Sometimes, earthly healing is needed for people to hear the message of God & discernment.
  2. We make God in our own image instead of remembering that we are made in God’s image. We have also made Christianity fit our own image.
    1. We focus on some parts of the scriptures and ignore other parts.
      1. We eat shrimp and pork. We eat dairy and meat together. Sorry, bible says no cheeseburgers. Especially not bacon cheese burgers because pork isn’t kosher. Neither is mixing dairy with meat.
      2. Men shave their beards & side burns
      3. Our fabrics are mixed.
      4. Women, when was the last time you pitched a tent outside when you were on your period?
    2. We choose some laws to maintain and judge others by while ignoring laws in the same list.

CONCLUSION:

Jesus may not have needed the magical hair products available from Madam CJ Walker and Annie Turnbo Malone but he still was transfigured and this transformed his ministry. The disciples saw a fuller picture of Jesus. This new perspective changed the trajectory of ministry for the disciples.

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