Thursday, February 2, 2017

Jesus Manifested As the Messiah

Mark 9:1-13

“And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” (Mark 9:1)

This ver4se actually goes with the previous chapter.  Jesus had been teaching about making a commitment and being faithful to him.  Now he promised that some of the people were standing there would not die until after they had seen the Kingdom of God come in power.  Later, when Jesus told peter about how he would die. Peter saw Jophn and asked what he would do.  John 21:22-23 tells us, “Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.  Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”  When they heard what Jesus said, they jumped to the conclusion that John was the one who would never die, although as John points out, he didn’t say that, but rather that it was Christ’s business whether he lived or died.

We do know that John outlived most of the disciples and was still around until about 100 AD.  There is no record of his death although two different traditions exist about it.  One places his death in Israel about 55 AD. While the other places it near Ephesus about 98 AD.    Many have speculated that he will be one of the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11. 

“And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.  And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.” (Mark 9:2-4)

Six days after Peter’s declaration that they believed Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up to the top of a mountain where he was transfigured before them, appearing in a heavenly body, probably similar to what he had after the resurrection.  His clothing was changed so it shone like sunlight reflecting off new fallen snow, whiter than the best cleaners and dies can possibly produce.  Elijah and Moses appeared at the same time, talking with Jesus. 

“And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.  For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.

And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.  And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.” (Mark 9:5-8)

When he was excited or scared, Peter responded by talking, usually without thinking first.  He suggested the build a home each for Jesus, for Moses, and for Elijah.  As he had done when Jesus was baptized, God declared Jesus to be his son and instructed them to wait for his instructions instead of rushing into something. 

“And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.  And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.” (Mark 9:9-10)

On their way down the mountain, Jesus told them not to tell the others what they had seen until after he was resurrected from the dead.  Olthough he had told them earlier that he would be killed and later resurrected, they really couldn’t understand how that was possible and assumed it must refer to something other than a physical resurrection, but they were hesitant to ask him what he meant. 

“And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?

And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.  But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.” (Mark 9:11-13)

Instead of asking Jesus what he meant by the resurrection form the dead, Peter james and John asked why the scholars said Elijah had to come before Messiah.  They knew Jesus was the Messiah, and they hd just seen Elijah, and knew he had not come before Jesus came. 

Jesus pointed out that Just as Elijah had come to Israel telling them what was to happen and what they needed to do to prepare, John the Baptist had come warning of what was to come and teaching them what they needed to do.  The scribe simply didn’t realize John was fulfilling the role of Elijah, and they had contributed to his being Killed by Herod by refusing to stand for what he was teaching.  Despite what they thought, the prophecy had been fulfilled.

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