Mark – God is On Our Side!
Years ago there was a commercial that ran consistently about a trusted brokerage firm. It became so popular that comics used it in skits. Everyone knew the tag line. EF Hutton was an American stock brokerage firm founded in 1904 by Edward Francis Hutton and his brother, Franklyn Laws Hutton. Later, it was led by well known Wall Street trader Gerald M. Loeb. Under their leadership, EF Hutton became one of the most respected financial firms in the United States and for several decades was the second largest brokerage firm in the country.
Their commercial ended with, “When EF Hutton speaks, people listen.” The scene would show a busy, noisy, crowded place such as a restaurant. When someone from EF Hutton began to speak to a “client”, all the racket stopped, voices were silent so they hear what he had to say.
IF ONLY, people today would stop talking and doing, be still and lean in to hear what God has to say, the world would take on new direction with greater purpose. Revolutionary, right? Lean in and hear what Jesus, Son of God, has to say to his disciples who are trying hard to understand. God is on our side. We need to listen to Him.
Mark 9, NLT
Jesus went on to say, “I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God arrive in great power!”
2 Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. 4 Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus.
5 Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified.
7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” 8 Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them.
9 As they went back down the mountain, he told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept it to themselves, but they often asked each other what he meant by “rising from the dead.”
11 Then they asked him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes?”
12 Jesus responded, “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. Yet why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be treated with utter contempt? 13 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they chose to abuse him, just as the Scriptures predicted.”
GOING DEEPER…(With the help of Warren Wiersbe)
It takes faith to accept and practice this lesson on discipleship, so six days later, the Lord gave a dazzling proof that God indeed does transform suffering into glory. (Luke’s “about eight days” is inclusive of the day of the lesson and the day of the glory, Luke 9:28.) He took Peter, James, and John to the top of a mountain (it may have been Mount Hermon), and there He revealed His glory. This event was a vivid confirmation of His words as recorded in Mark 8:38 as well as a demonstration of the glory of the future kingdom (Mark 9:1; John 1:14; 2 Peter 1:12–21). The message was clear: first the suffering, then the glory.
Moses represented the law and Elijah the prophets, both of which find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ (Luke 24:25–27; Heb. 1:1–2). Moses had died and his body was buried, but Elijah had been raptured to heaven (2 Kings 2:11). When Jesus returns, He will raise the bodies of the saints who died and will rapture the living saints (1 Thess. 4:13–18). Jesus will one day establish His glorious kingdom and fulfill the many promises made through the prophets. Christ’s sufferings and death would not prevent God from establishing His kingdom; rather, by solving the sin problem in God’s world, the cross would help to make the kingdom possible.
The word transfigured describes a change on the outside that comes from the inside. It is the opposite of “masquerade,” which is an outward change that does not come from within. Jesus allowed His glory to radiate through His whole being, and the mountaintop became a Holy of Holies! As you meditate on this event, keep in mind that He has shared this glory with us and promised us a glorious home forever (John 17:22–24). According to Romans 12:1–2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18, believers today can experience this same transfiguration glory.
Peter’s suggestion reflects again human thinking and not divine wisdom. How wonderful it would be to stay on the mountaintop and bask in His glory! But discipleship means denying self, taking up a cross, and following Him, and you cannot do that and selfishly stay on the mount of glory. There are needs to be met in the valley below. If we want to share the glory of Christ on the mountaintop, we must be willing to follow Him into the sufferings of the valley below.
The Father interrupted Peter’s speech and focused their attention, not on the vision, but on the Word of God: “Hear him!” The memory of visions will fade, but the unchanging Word abides forever. The glorious vision was not an end in itself; it was God’s way of confirming the Word (see 2 Peter 1:12–21).
Discipleship is not built on spectacular visions but on the inspired, unchanging Word of God. Nor do we put Moses, Elijah, and Jesus on the same level, as Peter hinted. It is “Jesus only”—His Word, His will, His kingdom, and His glory. The three men were not allowed to tell the other nine what they had seen on the mount. No doubt their explanation after His resurrection brought great encouragement to the believers who themselves would experience suffering and death for His sake.
The disciples now understood God’s plan much better, but they were still confused about the coming of Elijah to prepare the way for the Messiah. Jesus made two facts clear. First, for those who had trusted in Him, this “Elijah” was John the Baptist, for John had indeed prepared the way before Him. John had denied that he was Elijah come from the dead (John 1:21, 25), but he did minister in the “spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:16–17).
Second, there would be a future coming of Elijah, just as Malachi had predicted (Matt. 17:11), before the time of great tribulation. Some students connect this with Revelation 11:2–12. The nation did not accept John’s ministry. Had they received John, he would have served as the “Elijah” God sent, and they also would have received Jesus. Instead, they rejected both men and allowed them to be slain.
When Jesus speaks to us, through His Holy Spirit, LISTEN to Him.
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
Thank you for Your Word. Thank you for loving us so generously, compassionately, and relentlessly. Thank you for speaking to our hearts, minds and souls as we pray for wisdom and guidance. Thank you for speaking to us with warnings and corrections so that we can avoid falling for what the world shouts so loudly. Thank you for times like this each morning to just go silent and listen to You speak. Thank you.
In Jesus Name, Amen