Mark 9 - Transfiguration

The Crown & Cross of Christ  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Mark 9:2-13

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. 11 And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?12 And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

Word & Thematic Studies

transfigure - μεταμορφόω
appears in Rom 12:2 & 2 Cor 3:18 as “transformed”
also appears in synoptic passage in Mt 17:2
beloved Son (αγαπητος ὑιος)
exact same words heard from Heaven during Jesus’ baptism
“only beloved” - singularly, uniquely loved
listen (to Him)
plural imperative - y’all (better) listen
used in the same sense in the Matt & Luke accounts of the Transfiguration
not just passively hearing words, but actively comprehending & responding appropriately
allusion to Moses’ prophecy cited in Acts 3:22
Son of Man (ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) - 2x
concise emphasis of Jesus’ humanity - “contrasts” with God’s direct identification of Jesus as His beloved Son
allusion to Daniel 7:13
the disciples witnessed Jesus’ clear divinity in glory, but by talking about the Son of Man, Jesus was also clearly asserting his humanity (Luke 24:39)
Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew Words Defined and Explained Son of Man

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies. We, therefore, look to Jesus as the author and finisher of our salvation, the one who represents the human race because He shared our humanity, but was perfect.

rise from the dead
difference between Peter’s 1st response in ch 8 vs his 2nd response in ch 9
Peter first rebuked Jesus out of a misguided notion of what Jesus had came to do & how He would do it
Peter was genuinely terrified and
Elijah coming first
suffer many things… treated with contempt
2nd time Jesus tells the disciples that the Son of Man will suffer and die
high mountain
Mal 4:4-6 - 4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules[b] that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
Malachi 4 ESV
“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts. “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
tell no one until Jesus rose from the dead
how many times in Gospel of mark?


God wants people to BE...
in reverent awe of Jesus, His beloved Son
God wants people to FEEL...
overwhelmed by the glory of Jesus
confident of Jesus’ divinity & supremacy
loved deeply because of His unique love for His Son
grateful for Jesus’ willingness to knowingly endure the cross for our sake
God wants people to THINK...
God wants people to (DO)...
recognize & worship Jesus as the Son of Man, God’s beloved Son, King of kings
listen to Jesus - pay attention, hear, understand, and obey

Literature Review

King’s Cross
“Jesus does not point to the glory of God as Elijah, Moses, and every other prophet has done; Jesus is the glory of God in human form.” p 113
Peter’s proposal to make shelter was his attempt to protect him and the other disciples from the overpowering glory/presence of God (like the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle)
“Jesus is the temple and tabernacle to end all temples and tabernacles, because he is the sacrifice to end all sacrifices, the ultimate priest to point the way for all priests.” p 114
the disciple’s questioning about ELijah
the Elijah prophesied about in Malachi was John the Baptist
John’s ministry/coming was a herald of Jesus’ coming
John’s execution was a herald of Jesus’ execution
“The transfiguration is not just a miraculous parlor trick to convince the disciples of Jesus’ deity. It is an experience of collective worship that they are going to need for what’s ahead.” p 118
“When you have pursued God in repentant helplessness, you will have worshipped.”
New Bible Dictionary
The New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition Transfiguration

Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets witnessing to the Messiah and being fulfilled and superseded by him. Each of them had had a vision of the glory of God on a mountain, Moses on Sinai (Ex. 24:15) and Elijah on Horeb (1 Ki. 19:8). Each of them left no known grave (Dt. 34:6; 2 Ki. 2:11). The law of Moses and the coming of Elijah are mentioned together in the last verses of the OT (Mal. 4:4–6).

The New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition Transfiguration

The transfiguration is therefore a focal point in the revelation of the kingdom of God, for it looks back to the OT and shows how Christ fulfils it, and it looks on to the great events of the cross, resurrection, ascension and parousia. Peter was wrong in trying to make the experience permanent. What was needed was the presence of Jesus alone and attention to his voice

Holman - Transfigure
Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew Words Defined and Explained Transfigure

At the transfiguration the true form (Greek, morphe) of the Son of God temporally broke through the veil of His humanity and the disciples saw His preexistent glory. In this transformation of Jesus, the three disciples witnessed something of Jesus’ pre-incarnate glory, as well as His future glory which He received at His resurrection and which all will see when He returns to judge the world.

When Christ returns in His glory, all believers will also be transfigured and thereby receive a glorious, resurrected body. Thus, Christ’s transfiguration is the preview of every believer’s own transfiguration (1 Cor. 15:42–45; Phil. 3:20–21; Col. 3:4).

BE104 lectures
“The transfiguration was recorded as a revelation of the position of Christ as the King of Israel in order to bolster the faith of the disciples.”
Matt 17:1-13
the disciples understood that Jesus was talking about John the Baptist
Elijah is an office of one who will get people ready for the coming of the Lord
Luke 9:28-36
purpose of transfiguration - assurance to the disciples that the Crown is still coming despite the doom of the Cross

Inductive Study

Peter - the most relatable disciple
James - Jesus’ brother
John - the one whom Jesus loved
Moses - Israel’s first major national leader
adopted Egyptian prince turned emancipating prophet
Elijah - a prophet during the period of kings (Ahab)
seen as a successor to Moses - proclaimed the word of the YHWH on Mt Carmel, met YHWH on Mt Horeb
John the Baptist was the second manifestation of Elijah
Jesus brought the three main disciples to a private place to witness a supernatural event: His very appearance changing into something transcendent
Moses & Elijah appeared with Jesus, and they all spoke with each other
the disciples were “terrified” (ἔκφοβος)
Peter vainly offered to create dwellings for all three of them
the Father spoke from heaven, telling the disciples plainly that Jesus was His “beloved son” and that they should listen to Him
Moses & Elijah disappeared
Jesus instructed them to not share what they had witnessed until “the Son of Man had risen from the dead”
the disciples kept their experience secret, but were unsure what Jesus meant
they asked Jesus about the scribes’ teaching on Elijah coming first
Jesus explained and
on a “high mountain”
6 days after...
Peter rebuked Jesus for foretelling of his own suffering, death, and resurrection
Jesus taught that those who desired to follow him must deny themself and take up their cross
the Transfiguration is the most obvious demonstration of Jesus’ divine Sonship/Kingship, pre-Resurrection
it follows 8 chapters of numerous examples of Jesus’ power, authority, wisdom, compassion,
what is God like?
a discipler (vs 2)
a Father that dearly loves His Son
worthy of listening to
omniscient - knew that He would be killed then resurrect
willing to suffer and be treated contemptuously
what is humanity like?
able to recognize God’s transcendent presence & glory, to the point of being speechlessly awestruck
unable to fully comprehend God’s plans & prophecies
literary context
immediately preceded by
Peter’s confession (coronation) of Jesus as Christ (King)
Jesus’ first acknowledgment that he must suffer and die, to rise in three days
Jesus’ call to deny one’s self & take up one’s cross, to lose one’s life for His sake to save it
Jesus’ promise that some there would witness God’s kingdom arriving in power
after this transcendent experience, Jesus and the disciples IMMEDIATELY are confronted with more ministry
Jesus is undeniably the Son of God (the Son of Man), to be revered even more than Moses or Elijah
the Father commands Jesus’ followers to listen to him - to pay close attention to his words & teachings, and obey those words & teachings
Jesus knew he was going to suffer, be despised, and resurrect
He willingly embraced impending suffering with confidence of eventual resurrection & glorification
Jesus knew the truth behind prophecies
MAIN POINT - Jesus is the undeniable beloved Son of God (King of kings), worthy to be listened to AND obeyed
Jesus must be recognized, heard, and obeyed as the Father’s beloved Son, the King of kings
following Jesus means knowingly suffering while looking forward to resurrection & glory to come

Personal Study

the three disciples were completely terrified at the sight of a transfigured Jesus, Elijah, and Moses
the giants of their faith were all standing before them, alive and well
how would i have responded if i were in their shoes?
i might try to say/do something tangible but unnecessary, like Peter
i might try to figure out some “logical explanation” to the whole thing
i might just be silent & still, in awestruck reverence & fear
“This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
an affirmation of Jesus’ divine heritage, given by the Father Himself
a call to obedience to Jesus by the Father Himself
how clearly do I view & treat Jesus as God’s beloved Son?
respect, honor & praise are appropriate
how well do I hear & obey Jesus?
i very infrequently spend time listening to his teachings & encouragements in the Gospels and the Word overall - not hearing very closely or attentively
how can i obey if i don’t hear well?
i operate off of long-established understandings & memories, but not off of his actual words
exhortation to deny myself, lose my life for Jesus’ sake (Mark 8:34)
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