Text: Mark 8:38; Mark 9:1-32
Event(s): Jesus transfigured on the mount, A boy is healed, Jesus again predicts His death and resurrection
Mark 9:2 “Jesus took Peter, James and John” Jesus took these three and in Exodus 24, we find that Moses took three up on the mountain as well: Aaron, Nadab and Abihu. Moses also came down from the mountain – from the Presence of God, changed.
Mark 9:4 “And Elijah appeared to them with Moses” Why Elijah and why Moses? Elijah represented the prophets and Moses represented the law. Matthew 5:17 told us that Jesus did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets, but He came to fulfill them – He came to accomplish their purpose. This also shows us that in the afterlife, Elijah and Moses were alive, and recognizable.
Mark 9:7 “This is My beloved Son, hear Him” The mistake Peter made here, was not just that he jumped into a conversation that he wasn’t a part of. (I think it’s funny that it says “Peter answered and said”, but he hadn’t been asked anything!) The greater mistake though, was that he was placing Jesus on the same level as Moses and Elijah. Yes, they were incredible servants of God, but Jesus was more than a servant; He was a Son.
Additionally, I believe, was that Peter was trying to create a place to contain Jesus. (“let us make three tabernacles”). He saw this glory that Jesus was reflecting and probably imagined that this is what the glory in the temple years prior had been like. There was even a cloud. But Peter did not yet understand that the old system of the Presence being limited to only the tabernacle and/or the temple was going away and we, actually, were meant to be the tabernacle that would host His presence. This glory that Peter was beholding – that Jesus being transformed into – would be the same glory to soon be deposited within these earthen vessels (us) who believe and call upon the name of the Lord. But even in this, God had grace and interrupted Peter to keep him from going any further. He indeed is good – even in our gravest of mistakes, and the most misdirected of our intentions.
Mark 9:9 “He commanded them that they should tell no one” There are some things to which revelation is held until an appointed time. On this side of eternity, there will always be things we do not fully understand because as 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” This should not frustrate us, but instead fills our hearts with hope. We have much to look forward to.
Mark 9:29 “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” One of the things I love about prayer and fasting is that it prepares us for what lies ahead. In the Old Testament, fasting was used almost as a reactive means, in times of crisis. But in the New Testament, now that we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us, prayer and fasting is proactive – not reactive. Notice, by the time Jesus encountered this man and his son, there was no time to stop and engage in a season of prayer and fasting before He could act. No, He had to be ready for this encounter. That’s what prayer and fasting does for us. We become more in tune with heaven and release more of the power of the Holy Spirit living within us so that we can be prepared for what lies ahead.
Today’s takeaway: I’m a part of a wonderful church who corporately, kicks off each year with a 21 day season of prayer and fasting. Those are some glorious days, indeed it is a glorious season. But I’ve learned that in order to sustain the type of fruit and heightened spiritual awareness and sensitivity I experience in January, regular seasons of prayer and fasting must be a part of my lifestyle throughout the rest of the year. But I also know myself well enough to know that I must be intentional about setting apart those times to do it. Indeed, as D.L. Moody once said, “If we say ‘I will fast when God lays it on my heart,’ we never will. We are too cold and indifferent to take the yoke upon ourselves.” I just want to encourage you to consider, for the sake of staying alert and prepared for what lies ahead, where in your year could you position seasons of prayer and fasting? They don’t have to be 21 days long, but the important thing is just to set aside that time to draw closer to God and then guard it and honor it.
Additional (optional) reading: The parallel accounts of these events can be found in Matthew 16:27-17:23 and Luke 9:26-45