Study | Experiencing Glory

Mark 9:2-13

Jesus is amazing – be amazed

This Bible story finds Jesus and his disciples still on their journey to Caesarea Philippi. Jesus has just spoken on who he is as Messiah and how every disciple is called to take up their cross and follow him. Jesus has already turned the disciples’ world upside-down, but he is just getting started.

Jesus selects Peter, James, and John to go with him up a high mountain where an incredible thing happens. Jesus appears bright and shining, his clothes a dazzling, perfect white purer than any human has ever experienced!

That’s not all – Jesus is not alone after this transfiguration. He is accompanied by two heroes of the faith, Elijah and Moses. This shocks the three disciples, frightening them beyond words. They know in their hearts who these men are, and they are dumbstruck to share space with them!

It’s important to remember the legacy of Moses and Elijah from the Old Testament Scriptures. Moses was a major leader who provided Israel with God’s original law (Exodus 20). Yes, the same law that Jesus came to fulfill. What Moses began, Jesus completes in dying on the cross for our sins and overcoming the grave in his resurrection.

Elijah was a prophet who worked to restore Israel to God after they strayed from his laws. Specifically, Elijah stood against Baal-worship when the Israelites adopted Canaanite customs, and showed the glory of God when his faith was challenged (1 Kings 18).

Back to our current story. Our man Peter is the first to pipe up before these heavyweights. He declares that it is good that he and the other disciples are there to witness their presence, and that he will build three shelters, one for each person.

Peter, busy Peter, wants to do something for such worthy visitors. And yet, God calls out to him and to all present. A cloud descends on them and says, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

These words confirm Jesus’ identity yet again. More than that, God gives a simple command for the disciples to listen to him! How often we busy ourselves for the gospel, and forget to abide in the presence of his glory, soak him in, and heed his words.

After God speaks through the cloud, Jesus is alone. He warns the disciples not to say anything about this event until after he rises from the dead. This confuses the disciples, as always.

The disciples accept that they don’t understand Jesus’ words, and instead ask why Elijah must come first. Jesus alludes to both Elijah and his spiritual successor John the Baptist when he says that it is because all things need to be restored to God first. Elijah already came, and people did what they wanted with his message. And so it will also be with Jesus – people will do what they wish with him.

Questions for discussion:

  1. Why does it matter that Moses and Elijah disappear and leave only Jesus after this miraculous event?
  2. When was the last time you sought Jesus’ presence and focused on him alone?
  3. Do you struggle to follow God’s command to simply listen to Jesus? How can you be more intentional about listening?

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