Mark 9:1-13 – The Transfiguration

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Mark 9:2

  1. These three disciples were part of Jesus’ immediate circle (Mark 5:37, Mark 14:33).
    1. Jesus often spoke in parables to large crowds, but when he was alone with his disciples, he explained in more depth (Mark 4:34).
  2. A mountain is an ideal place to meet God because it allows you to be alone without being disturbed by people walking by.
    1. Moses met God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:12-18).
    1. Elijah met God on Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8-18).
  3. For a brief moment, the three disciples saw the glory of Jesus, as it was before he was born and as it will be after his death and resurrection (John 17:5).
    1. In Philippians 2:6-7 we read that “Though he was in the form of God, he did not count his existence as God as a victory, but gave himself up by taking the form of a servant when he became a man.”
      1. So Jesus took the form of a “servant” when he became a man, but now the disciples see Jesus in his “form of God”.
    1. When the atonement through death on the cross was completed, Jesus received his glory back (Heb 2:9).
    1. Jesus gives of his glory to his disciples (John 17:22).
    1. Jesus will return to earth in full majesty and glory (Mark 13:26).

Mark 9:3

  1. At the end of his life, John saw Jesus again in all his glory, and even then he describes Jesus as white: “His head and his hair were white as wool, like snow, and his eyes like flames of fire” (Rev 1:14).

Mark 9:4

  1. Moses and Elijah have met God on two mountains, now they will meet Jesus on this mountain.
  2. Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the Prophets.
    1. The Law (i.e. the five books of Moses, was at the beginning of the Old Testament, and the Prophets was at the end of the Old Testament). “The Law and the Prophets” is an expression similar to our English “from cover to cover” and stands for “the whole Old Testament”.
      1. Jesus showed the Emmaus pilgrims that it is written about the Messiah throughout the Old Testament (Luke 24:27).

Mark 9:5

  1. Peter was horrified by what he witnessed, but still considered it good and wanted to make sure that Moses and Elijah stayed as long as possible.
  2. Peter didn’t like Jesus’ talk about his suffering, and now that he sees Jesus’ glory, he wants more of it (Mark 8:31-33).
  3. Israel celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles by dwelling once a year in tabernacles to commemorate the wilderness wandering (Leviticus 23:42-43). 

Mark 9:6

  1. Peter was afraid and didn’t know what to say, two clear indications that should have made him realize that he really shouldn’t say anything.
    1. Peter was often the spokesman for the other disciples (Acts 2:14).
    1. Peter was energetic, brash and thoughtless, yet he was chosen by Jesus to be the leader of the disciples. This shows that God can change a person for the better.
  2. Peter had a recurring habit of constantly telling Jesus what Jesus ought to do (Mark 8:32), but as he developed in his discipleship, the more he did what Jesus told him to do instead.

Mark 9:7

  1. The glory of God has many times before appeared in the form of a cloud (Exodus 16:10).
  2. This is the second time the Father speaks of the Son (Mark 1:11).
  3. With Moses and Elijah beside him, Jesus is highlighted as even greater than the Law and the Prophets when the disciples are invited to listen to Jesus.

Mark 9:9

  1. That the disciples often misunderstood Jesus’ mission is clear, not least from this chapter. That’s why Jesus tells his disciples to be quiet about what they have seen until Jesus has risen again.
  2. The rest of the Jewish people had also misunderstood Jesus’ mission and at times wanted to make Jesus king of Israel by force (John 6:15).
  3. Jesus did not seek human glory but was focused on his mission; to reconcile humanity (John 5:41).

Mark 9:11

  1. The disciples knew that Malachi had prophesied that Elijah would come and prepare the Jewish people for the Messiah and now they wonder if this has happened with the incident on the mountain (Mal 4:5-6).
    1. Jesus informs his disciples that Elijah has come, but that it was John the Baptist who was this Elijah (Mark 1:2-8).
    1. However, the fact that Elijah has come does not mean that the Messiah will not suffer; on the contrary, Jesus teaches that the Son of Man will suffer much and be despised.
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