Sermon and Bible Study Database
Author: Kent Berghuis
How Does He Get His Clothes So White? (Mark 9:1-13) Main idea: The transfiguration shows that Jesus is above all others. I. Jesus was transfigured to show his disciples His power and glory (1-4). A. The account of the transfiguration. --The mountain is traditionally thought to be Mt. Tabor, though it may have been Mt. Hermon, Israel's highest mountain, which is near Caeserea Philippi. --Peter, James and John also got to be in on healing Jairus' daughter (5:37) and later on the Mount of Olives (13:3) and the Garden of Gethsemane (14:33). --Transfigured means to be changed in form. The Greek word is the term "metamorphosis", and is used of Christians spiritually in Rom 12:2 and 2 Cor 3:18. B. The meaning of the transfiguration. --They would "see" the kingdom come with power (a link to healing the blind man in 8:22-26). --The kingdom came partially (and was offered) in the ministry of Jesus; a glimpse of the power is in the transfiguration; it begins fully in the resurrection; the church experiences it through the Holy Spirit after Pentecost; one day it will be completely recognized at Christ's return. --The transfiguration previews of the kingdom power of Christ, what will follow the death he told his disciples about (8:31). It shows his glory, like the OT Exodus, tabernacle, and temple. II. Peter mistook Jesus to be like Moses and Elijah (vv. 5-6). A. What are these guys doing here? --Moses and Elijah may represent the "law" and the "prophets," which Jesus fulfilled. --It recalls Moses at Mt. Sinai (Exod 19) where his face shined when he came down, and also Mt. Nebo/Pisgah where he viewed the promised land before he died (Deut 34:1). Elijah had also been to Sinai/Horeb, the "mountain of God" (1 Kgs 19), and he was transformed to heaven before he died (2 Kgs 2:11). --Luke 9:31 says they talked of Jesus' "exodus," that is, his death. B. What is Peter blabbering about? --The Jews celebrated the "feast of tabernacles" every fall (perhaps it was that time of year) to remember the exodus from Egypt. --Peter wanted to get to know Moses and Elijah. To put Jesus on par with these great historical figures was a great compliment--but it still fell short of Christ's true meaning. III. God announced that Jesus was his son to show he was unique (vv. 7-8). A. This event reminds us of Jesus' baptism. We have the cloud, references to John the Baptist/Elijah, and the voice from heaven. This marks the mid-point of the gospel of Mark. B. The voice commanded that we listen to him. --God said he would raise up a prophet like Moses, and people "must listen to him" (Deut 18:15). --This recalls having "ears to hear" as in the healing of the deaf man (8:18). --We must listen to Jesus' teaching about his death, resurrection, and the meaning of discipleship. IV. The disciples wondered about the meaning of the transfiguration (9-13). A. The disciples are to keep silent because they don't understand (9-10). --This is the last of these commands to keep silent in Mark, explaining the others. Jesus couldn't be fully understood or proclaimed as messiah apart from his death and resurrection. B. The disciples wonder about the meaning of the Elijah prophecy (11-13). --Jesus affirms the scribal teaching, because it came from God's word (Mal 3:1 and 4:4-6). --Jesus shifts the focus to the suffering Son of Man. Elijah came (in John the Baptist) and they killed him. Jesus and his disciples should expect the same treatment. --This prophecy may have a yet fuller future fulfillment before Christ's second coming (Rev 11). Application: Because of who Jesus is, we must give Him first place in our lives.