Key Verse: Mark 9:7 “…This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!”
Today’s reading includes the story of the transfiguration of Jesus as well as a healing of a boy with an evil spirit. It also includes a discussion of who is the greatest among the disciples, and a comment from Jesus on who’s with Him and who’s against Him. It concludes with a look at the importance of consistent living, especially as it relates to one’s example to children. But it’s the story of the transfiguration that captures my interest.
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with Him onto a high mountain (probably Mount Hermon in the north of Israel). There He appears before them with Elijah and Moses, and we read that His clothes become dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. We are talking here, not about a reflection of light from Jesus, but rather a light emanating from Him. In every sense of the word, this is a transfiguration, a metamorphosis–a total change. And Peter, James, and John see Jesus as no man had ever seen Him before. This is what theologians call a “Christophany”, or a manifestation of the Son of God in His true nature as He will be seen on the last day and as He appears now at the right hand of God the Father.
Peter, James, and John could hardly handle it. They were so overwhelmed that the only one who could find words to say was Peter. And, predictably, he says something very human. “Let us put up three shelters: on for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah!” In other words, let’s get organized. Let’s perpetuate this experience. Let’s package it. Let’s make it a basis for a religious movement!
While this is happening, Jesus hears a voice saying, “This is My Son whom I love. Listen to Him.” Here, God the Father, just as at Jesus’ baptism, again affirms Jesus’ claims. Then, suddenly, Elijah and Moses disappear. Jesus encourages HIs disciples to say nothing about this, at least until He rises from the dead. And for once they do keep it to themselves–at least for the time being. But for now, they are captivated with what “rising from the dead” means, especially as it relates to what they have just seen–Moses was dead, Elijah was dead, now they live, and Jesus keeps company with these shining beings! Whatever do you suppose is going on? How can Jesus appear transfigured when He’s not dead yet? What will His death mean?
Little did they know that the very death Jesus was about to undergo would result in an open grave which would become the open window for all men and women of faith to enter into the very presence of the eternal Father.