Lesson 43

The Gospel According to Mark

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

9:2 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and brought them up onto a high mountain privately by themselves, and he was changed into another form in front of them. 9:3 His clothing became glistening, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. 9:4 Elijah and Moses appeared to them, and they were talking with Jesus.

9:5 Peter answered Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let's make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 9:6 For he didn't know what to say, for they were very afraid.

9:7 A cloud came, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."

9:8 Suddenly looking around, they saw no one with them any more, except Jesus only.

9:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no one what things they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen again from the dead. 9:10 They kept the saying, questioning among themselves what the rising again from the dead should mean.  

Today's Lesson 

In yesterday's lesson one of the things that we read was a statement by Jesus that this generation would not pass away before some of them saw the Kingdom of God come with power. Many interpreters believe that today's passage is a direct commentary by Mark on that statement. We are given here the story that has come to be called the Mount of Transfiguration. Here the power and the glory of Jesus Christ are displayed to three of Jesus' disciples. Yet, even with this display of power, it did not lead them to understand any better.


Jesus took Peter, James and John up onto a mountain. These three disciples were the core of the group. Peter would be the spokesman. James would be the martyr. John would be the greatest interpreter and chronicler. On the mountain Jesus is transformed. His clothing becomes "exceedingly white." He is shrouded in power. There to meet Him on the mountain came two of the greatest figures of Jewish history: Moses the lawgiver and Elijah the greatest prophet. The disciples were amazed and more than a little frightened.


Peter suggested that they make three "tents." Peter was suggesting that they set up three tabernacles, or temporary places of worship. Such tents or tabernacles have a long history in Jewish worship. But, even if the thought behind Peter's suggestion were appropriate, his numbers were not. Moses and Elijah do not come as equals to Jesus. They come as attendants and supplicants. If Peter had really understood he would have suggested only one tent.


As if to answer Peter, a voice from God comes down from heaven. "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." In the presence of even Moses and Elijah, God tells them to listen to Jesus. The age of Law and the age of the Prophet have come to an end. Now is the time for the Kingdom of the Son.


As they come down from the mountain Jesus asks them yet again to tell no one of what they had seen. He told them to not speak of it again until "the Son of Man had risen again from the dead." But, even after all that they had seen they did not understand. Even after the miracles and the transfiguration, the concept of the Resurrection was beyond them. They had seen Jesus every day and had witnessed wonder after wonder, and still they did not understand.


Do you ever want God to do a miracle or give you a sign so that you can really believe? Do you ever want God to sit down and answer all your questions and give you all the answers? Do you realize that these disciples had all of those things and still they could not understand?


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