Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida-Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military
Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. (Matthew 17:3)
Our planet has been visited by beings from beyond our universe—not by creatures from outer space, but by saints and angels. One time, the visitors came with along with bright lights in a night sky. That was over the fields of Bethlehem. Once, one of them came bringing death to every household in a nation. That was in Egypt. Those were angels. They have visited our planet countless times. Most often they are not seen. Thousands upon thousands are here with us today.
People of God (saints) coming back from the dead to appear on earth are not as common. We know only of two who did this. When Moses appeared at the transfiguration of Jesus, he had been dead for thousands of years. Elijah is a different story. He also left our planet long before Jesus walked the earth. But he skipped the dying part and was transported to heaven by what appeared to be a chariot and horses on fire.
Saint Matthew now reports that these two heroes of faith once stopped in to talk with Jesus in plain sight of three disciples. Science fiction cannot match the amazing realities that the Word of God reveals. We are not alone on this planet. We have been visited by people who have passed on from this life. We continue to be visited by beings much more advanced than we, who come from a place no telescope can see and no spacecraft can reach. It’s called heaven. They are called saints and angels.
Our tiny minds grasp neither the greatness of God nor the wonders of his creation. Even though modern technology allows us to see things our forefathers never imagined; even though we are startled by the size and power and complexity of the universe we live in; many still believe that life is finite. Humans still want to think that if our minds cannot comprehend it, it cannot be. We still tend to fear that physical death ends life.
How silly! How the angels must laugh at our foolish conclusions! How sad they must be to see people refuse to admit to the presence and power of the Creator God! How tragic the rejection of his plans! He is there, and he is not silent! He calls out to us in his Word! He reveals himself in the wonders of his creation. He has sent his ambassadors to warn us of dangers, and offer hope and life. He has sent his Son to rescue us. That’s what Moses and Elijah came to that hilltop to talk about with Jesus.
We look in at the scene in wonder. That says something about us and our future. One day we will join those saints and angels in their homeland. We will come there to stay. We will not be mere visitors.
We pray: I’m but a stranger here; Heav’n is my home. Earth is a desert drear; Heav’n is my home. Danger and sorrow stand Round me on every hand. Heav’n is my fatherland; Heav’n is my home.
There at my Savior’s side—Heav’n is my home. I shall be glorified; Heav’n is my home. There are the good and blest, Those I love most and best. And there I, too, shall rest; Heav’n is my home. Amen.