Summary: Following the Transfiguration the disciples were confused about everything they had witnessed and the Lord's departure. He offered clarity in their confusion. There is wisdom through the Word, but we must seek it.
Confusion after the Transfiguration
Mark 9: 9-13
Our text follows the miraculous encounter on the Mount of Transfiguration. Three of the disciples were privileged to accompany Jesus on the mountain as He was transfigured before them, revealing His glory. They had walked with Jesus for several years, but they had never seen Him in all His glory.
No doubt this was an experience these men would never forget – an event that comes once in a lifetime. However, as wonderful and miraculous as it was, the disciples were having trouble processing everything they had experienced. (I am certain we would have responded in much the same way.) As they make their way down the mountain, still talking with Jesus, their confusion and lack of understanding increases.
Our journey with the Lord is a journey of faith. We are blessed to have the written Word to guide our lives, but we also are trusting in one we have never seen. The Holy Spirit offers continual guidance as well, but we too find ourselves confused, lacking understanding at times. We must seek the Lord and His wisdom in those times of confusion and uncertainty. As we examine the lessons within the text, I want to consider the thought: Confusion after the Transfiguration.
I. The Admonition of Jesus (9-10) – As Jesus and the disciples descend from the mountain, He admonished them regarding their miraculous encounter. Consider:
A. The Declaration (9a) – And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. We cannot imagine the excitement of these three men at this moment in their lives. They had experienced the unhindered glory of the Lord and witnessed Him speaking with Moses and Elijah. They surely understood that they were greatly privileged to be allowed to witness such an event. But, as they were coming off the mountain, Jesus charged them with a very specific request – they were to tell no one of the events they had encountered, at least not yet.
Likely this added to their confusion and lack of comprehension of the day’s events. They had encountered a great miracle; why would Jesus want them to remain silent about it? Regardless of their confusion, Jesus had given a command and they were expected to abide by it.
Although this reveals a simple truth for our lives, it is certainly worth our consideration. We are expected to follow the guidance and leadership of the Lord, even if it doesn’t make sense to us at that particular time. We will not always understand what the Lord is doing, but we must remain faithful. The flesh often dislikes particular passages of Scripture, but that doesn’t give us the right to ignore them or refuse to abide by them. We must be willing to submit our lives wholly unto the Lord.
B. The Duration (9b) – And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. While Jesus had admonished the disciples to remain silent about the transfiguration, they were not expected to remain silent forever about the matter. Once Jesus had been crucified and risen from the dead, they could tell others of this miraculous encounter.
Why would Jesus not want the disciples to speak of this until after His resurrection? Jesus knew that many were ready to make Him their King. Like the disciples, many were confused regarding His earthly ministry and purpose for coming. He had not come at this time to be crowned King of Israel and establish His kingdom. He had come to die upon the cross as the atonement for sin. Had the disciples spoken of the glory they had encountered on the mountain, the peoples’ desire to make Jesus their King would have intensified. Speaking of the revelation of His glory at this moment in time would have hindered the work Jesus knew He must accomplish. He was committed to the Father’s will, and that included dying to atone for sin!
C. The Confusion (10) – And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. Following the admonition of Jesus, the disciples became confused. They pondered His words, and asked one another what Jesus meant about rising from the dead. Clearly we know that Jesus spoke of the resurrection following His crucifixion, but the disciples had yet to grasp that truth.
In their defense, the resurrection had not yet happened. However, this was not the first time Jesus had spoken to them concerning His impending death and resurrection. In fact, just a few days prior He spoke of being rejected by the Jewish elite, dying at the hands of sinful men, and after three days rising again. These comments brought the rebuke of Peter. They had heard these words before, but as of yet they could not understand or receive them. It appears the disciples had a case of “selective hearing.”