Sunday 19 February 2012

Bible Book:

"Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, 'This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!' Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus." (vv. 7-8)

Mark 9:2-9 Sunday 19 February 2012


Who is Jesus? All of Mark's Gospel asks us this question. Thisstory comes at a key turning point. Jesus has just predicted hisown suffering for the first time (Mark8:31). Mark's focus is now turning towards the story of Jesus'death.

Who is he? The one who suffered and died.

This story - known as 'The Transfiguration' - gives another partof the answer. Jesus is also the obedient Son of God. His dazzlingclothes (verse 3) are a sign which show his purity and hisbelonging with God.

So Jesus is the one in whom death and glory come together. This isnot 'death and glory' as normally seen: a combination ofpatriotism, fame and the institutionalised violence of war.Instead, the death is that of a public execution - shameful andwith no answering violence from Jesus; and the glory is that of theperfect goodness of God.

The disciples were terrified by this vision of glory. Peter hadrecently shown that he could not get his head around the idea ofGod's chosen one suffering and dying (Mark8:31-33). He wanted God to remain in control, and so to stay incontrol himself.

In this passage Peter is lost for words (verse 6). What he said,Mark implies, was inappropriate because this experience was utterlybeyond the ordinary. But it's more than that. Peter's wordsbetrayed his instincts: to bring under his control what was beyondunderstanding; to turn a moment of sublime insight into somethinghe could handle, and maybe even institutionalise. He wanted to bein control.

But instead of Peter being in control there came an instruction:"Listen to him" (verse 8). The thing Peter, James and John couldtake away after this spiritual high are the words of Jesus. Theywere told to listen to Jesus. Jesus' words are reliable. They arewords which are to be listened to, even when Jesus speaks ofsuffering and death.

To Ponder

How can a public execution and the glory of Godbelong together?

What kind of experience of Jesus might leave youspeechless?

Why should we listen to Jesus?

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