Summary: Peter, James , and John were blessed to journey with Jesus up on the Mount of Transfiguration. They experienced much there, but learned that Jesus alone was enough!
His Glory Revealed
Mark 9: 1-8
As we continue through the gospel of Mark, I want to offer a reminder that the breakdown of Scripture in specific chapters and verses was not an act of divine inspiration. The chapter and verse divisions were added by the translators for ease of Bible reading, study, and memorization. We cannot separate the opening verses of chapter nine from the preceding verses in chapter eight. Verse one is a continuation of the conversation Jesus had with the disciples.
Consider what Jesus had just shared with His disciples. He had revealed that He would be betrayed and die at the hands of sinful men. Jesus had offered hope through His assurance of resurrection, but this seems to have fallen on deaf ears. He followed the revelation of His coming death and resurrection with a challenge for the disciples to take up their cross and follow Him. Clearly this was a sobering and shocking conversation for the disciples. Knowing of their dismay and confusion, Jesus offers a word of hope.
We all face difficult seasons in life, times when we are at a loss and unsure of our next move. There are even struggles so intense that the very foundations of our faith can be challenged. In those times of uncertainty and despair, Jesus always provides a word of assurance and hope. I hope you will discover the assurance revealed in this passage and hold on to the truth it teaches as you face the struggles of life. I want to examine the details of this encounter as we consider: His Glory Revealed.
I. The Proclamation of Jesus (1) – And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. Keep in mind, Jesus had just spoken of His coming death and the need for them to bear their cross and follow Him. He followed those sobering words with a promise of some of them seeing the kingdom of God come in power before they died. No doubt this brought great comfort and assurance to the bewildered disciples.
For some, this verse has been a source of confusion and debate. The Lord has not returned to earth yet to establish His kingdom. We are some 2,000 years beyond His speaking these words. All of those present that day have long since died. Some liberals contend that Jesus was confused and unsure about the events surrounding and following His death. Such an attitude attacks the deity of Christ and cannot be defended as anything other than pure heresy. While it is true that Jesus has not returned, and the disciples all died before His second coming, we must understand the event of which Jesus spoke. He was not referring to His second coming to establish the Millennial Kingdom, but rather His glorious transfiguration which would take place in a few days after these words. Those disciples would see the kingdom of God, Christ Himself, standing in radiant, unhidden glory.
II. The Transfiguration of Jesus (2-4) – Along with Matthew and Luke, Mark records the glorious transfiguration of Jesus before the disciples. Consider:
A. The People (2a) – And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves. Six days following their intense conversation, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him upon a high mountain. There were twelve disciples following Jesus, but only these three were chosen to make the trip. These men are part of what has been described as the “inner circle.” On several occasions, Jesus allowed only these three disciples to be a part of particular activities. They alone were allowed in when Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead, and these three would be called to go a little further with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
This does not imply that Jesus loved these more than the other disciples, but it is evident that they enjoyed a closeness with the Lord the others did not. Our Lord in no respecter of persons, never favoring one above another, but it is undeniable that some enjoy a closer relation-ship with Him than others. I am glad my relationship with the Lord is not dependent on the desire or dedication of others.
B. The Place (2a) – And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves. Jesus has selected a particular place for His transfiguration. The disciples were lead unto a high mountain with Him. While the text doesn’t say, most agree Jesus went unto Mount Hermon, located about twelve miles north of Caesarea-Philippi. Mount Hermon has an elevation of over 9,000 feet. Can you imagine the glory of God being revealed on such a prominent peak in Israel? His glory shines brighter than the sun and surely would have been noticed by those with a vantage point of Mount Hermon.