Markby Robert M. Solomon
After the depressing darkness of what Jesus had told them-that He would suffer and those who follow Him must as well-Jesus took Peter, James and John (the inner circle) up a high mountain for an extraordinary experience (v. 2). What Mark writes here would have been from Peter's eyewitness account (cf. 2 Peter 1:16-18). Jesus was transfigured, a glory that came from His sinless nature (v. 3) and sonship (v. 7). His clothes were dazzling white, whiter than any earthly bleach could achieve (v. 3). Elsewhere we read that His face also ″shone like the sun″ (Matthew 17:2). The curtain was temporarily lifted to reveal Jesus as He really was-in all His heavenly glory. This was to reassure the disciples that the cross was on the road to glory, that Jesus knew what He was doing.
Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets (Old Testament) appeared and talked to Jesus to whom the Old Testament points (cf. Luke 24:27). They were speaking about ″his departure″ (Luke 9:31). Peter, who was asleep with the others (Luke 9:32; they tended to sleep whenever Jesus invited them to special experiences; cf. Mark 14:37-41), woke up astounded and blurted something about building three shelters for the glorified figures. He spoke out of fear and confusion (v. 6). His errors were that he apparently interrupted the conversation between Jesus and the other two, put Jesus on the same platform with Moses and Elijah, and perhaps rejoiced with relief that dwelling permanently in the glory would put away any idea of the cross.
But the heavenly Father, speaking from a cloud, interrupted Peter and told the disciples that Jesus is His incomparable Son and that they must listen to Him (v. 7). Suddenly, only Jesus was left standing there.
Then they came down the mountain. The cross still awaited Jesus. Jesus cautioned them to keep the matter to themselves until the resurrection (v. 9), for reasons already mentioned earlier. They then asked about the teaching that Elijah must precede the coming of the Messiah. Jesus replied that Elijah (John the Baptist) had already come (vv. 11-13).
What Peter saw on the mountain remained with him for the rest of his life. Much later he would write about it (2 Peter 1:16-18). That view of the glorified Jesus sustained him amid all kinds of suffering, even death.
Read Revelation 1:12-20. John had another vision of the glorified Jesus. Why was this necessary before he began describing the suffering and persecution that the church would face till Christ returned? How does the glory of God help us to bear the cross?
The Father commands us to listen to His Son. How have you been listening to Jesus lately? Take time to listen to what He is saying to you.
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