MARK 9:1-29 (NIV – UK)
1 And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’
2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
5 Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ 6 (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!’
8 Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what ‘rising from the dead’ meant.
11 And they asked him, ‘Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?’
12 Jesus replied, ‘To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? 13 But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.’
Jesus heals a boy possessed by an impure spirit
14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
16 ‘What are you arguing with them about?’ he asked.
17 A man in the crowd answered, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.’
19 ‘You unbelieving generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.’
20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, ‘How long has he been like this?’
‘From childhood,’ he answered. 22 ‘It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’
23 ‘“If you can”?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. ‘You deaf and mute spirit,’ he said,‘I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, ‘He’s dead.’ 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’
29 He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer.’
A DISPLAY OF JESUS’ GLORY
Peter, James & John enjoyed the delightful privilege of being chosen to witness a wonderful display of Jesus’ glory (v. 2). Jesus took them up a mountain and there he was transfigured (or transformed).
His clothes became ‘dazzling white’ – indicating his holiness and purity (v. 3). He was joined by Moses and Elijah, saints who had long since passed away, yet found eternal life in Jesus – Jesus is the Lord of Life! The Father, shrouded in cloud, then announces over Jesus: ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!’ (v. 5). The Father loves the Son, as he also declares at Jesus’ baptism (Mark 1:11) – Jesus receives all love, all life and all affirmation from his Father. It is only in Jesus that we can truly experience the same – sharing in his relationship with the Father.
Suddenly the cloud, Moses and Elijah disappear and the only one left with them is Jesus. Peter, James & John had just seen a display of Jesus’ eternal glory with his Father – yet he chooses to humble himself as one of us – soon to humble himself to the ultimate degree on the Cross.
Question: How does it make you feel that the Jesus who shares such glory with his Father in eternity, humbled himself for us?