Summary: what Jesus transfiguration meant to him and his disciples - straight forward stuff so don’t expect anything flashy
March 2, 2003 Mark 9:2_9
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
The Rocky Mountains are a hot spot for vacationers and thrill seekers. Downhill skiing, snow-boarding, and bungee jumping are just some of the entertainment values of going to Colorado. Jesus brought the three disciples - Peter, James, and John along with him up this unknown yet spectacular mountain. They had no idea what was going to happen, but He wanted them to come. It wasn’t to go sight seeing. Jesus had something to show them. Years later, the Holy Spirit moved Mark to write about what happened that day. With these words God leads us up the mountain to experience with our ears and minds what Peter, James, and John experienced with their eyes. It was an awesome view. But it wasn’t merely for aesthetic value. What did it mean? What was it for? We’re going to find out today as we put on our spiritual boots and -
Journey Up and Down the Mountain with Jesus
I. From the viewpoint of Jesus
When two people go on the same trip, they can remember completely different things. So what I want to do is to approach this text from two different view points - that of Jesus and that of the disciples. First of all, let’s look at the viewpoint of Jesus. Jesus, being in His humility on earth, didn’t always make full use of his powers. More often than not Jesus chose to go about things the normal way. He didn’t fly from place to place, he walked. He didn’t automatically know God’s Word - he studied them and learned them. Much like the man he was, he ate, drank, slept, and learned just the way we do - but much better. Jesus was about to go through something horrifying, terribly painful - as God would change from being His loving Father into His Angry Judge. The smile of God would turn into a frown when Jesus would climb up Mt. Golgotha with the sins of the world on His back. Jesus was human. It wouldn’t be easy to climb this mountain. He’d sweat about it, cry about it, and pray about it. He’d do it, but it sure wouldn’t be easy.
What Jesus needed, as a man, was a running start. You might compare it to when you’re in a little car facing a big pile of mud. The only way you can get through it is with a running start. That’s what I might compare this transfiguration to for Jesus. Before Jesus began his ministry, the Father came and said, “this is my beloved Son, listen to him.” Jesus then went on to fight the devil for forty days in the desert, to preach God’s Word, and heal diseases - acting as our substitute. Now, Jesus would need another kick start at the end of his ministry, as he was about to be our substitute to pay for our sins on the cross. So he went up on a mountainside and started praying.
God answered His prayer. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. What a rush this must have been for Jesus - what an exhilarating feeling - to for a moment feel and experience the same kind of glory that he hadn’t fully experienced for thirty three years. For that one moment, Jesus permitted himself to allow his full union with God to flow through His body and appear to the world before him - to let his disciples fully see who He really was - without the clothing of humility. There is nothing that we can really compare it to. But Jesus knew that He would soon look and feel that way all the time - very soon.
As this happened, Moses and Elijah appeared on the scene. Luke 9 tells us that, They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. (Lk 9:31) Here was two men that were on Jesus’ level - they understood what was about to happen. Just as Moses had led God’s people out of the bondage of Egypt, Jesus was about to lead the world out of the bondage of sin through the cross. Jesus didn’t have to explain everything to them - they knew what was going to happen. Instead of trying to talk him out of it, as Peter tried to do, they encouraged him to do exactly as he planned - go to Jerusalem to die.