I hope and pray this letter finds you well and keeping safe. Jesus’ ministry is continuing to develop as we examine an interesting moment, He shared with some of His disciples in Mark 9: 2-9. Have you ever been on a long walk that has involved walking up a steep hill or even a mountain? Were you able to look at the beautiful views below or were you surrounding by cloud or fog, so your view was obscured? Taking a walk or hike up a large hill or mountainside can be fun and exhilarating but can also be extremely hard work. Seeing the amazing view from the top or a viewing point can make all the hard work seem worth it. This week we read about an encounter Jesus had up a high mountain with three of the disciples.
Jesus after several days took three of His closest disciples with Him, up on what Mark describes as a high mountain. Often in the Bible, special encounters take place on mountains like when God met Elijah and on another occasion Moses. Jesus chooses to only take three of the disciples with Him, this could be that Peter, James and John were His closest or that He only wanted these three to witness what was about to take place. The text tells us that once at the top of the mountain the four of them were alone. Jesus was then transfigured before them. Mark goes on to describe what this looks like; Jesus’ clothes became dazzling white whiter than they would look if they were bleached. It is interesting that Mark tells this episode in a very matter of fact kind of way. He is straight to the point and it is almost as if being transfigured is an everyday event. Obviously, this is not true, but Mark uses no flowery or elaborate language to describe this amazing event.
After this, another amazing occurrence happened with the appearance of Elijah and Moses and again Mark describes it very plainly. Clearly both prophets died hundreds of years previous and so the disciples are described as being frightened and who can blame them? What I like about this passage is given that two miraculous events have just occurred, Peter comes out with a very practical and human response. Let us build some shelters, so forgot about the awe and wonder of the moment and let us erect some churches! Not one but three, surely one would have been sufficient if one were needed at all?
Soon a cloud envelops them, and they hear a voice from the cloud, saying ‘this is my beloved Son in whom I love. Listen to Him.’ And then as quick as it has all taken place, everything returns to normal. Jesus then warns them to keep the matter to themselves until the Son of Man has risen from the dead. Although Jesus explained about the cross to the disciples in the passage before the transfiguration, I doubt whether the disciples fully appreciate what He is saying or who the Son of Man is. We receive from this event, a glimpse into some of the supernatural moves by God and a glimpse into the glory of Jesus. Unlike the disciples when we receive glimpses of God, I think we ought to savour them and enjoy the moment, in times like this, let us pause and reflect when we are moved by nature, stirred by a beautiful piece of music, or touched by something we have seen or read, and remember we serve an amazing God.
May our Lord Jesus Christ, the Transfigured Messiah, bless us now and always,