He also began to teach plainly that any who would be faithful to Him must forsake their own life and follow Jesus even if it meant death on a cross, and He promised a new life to any who would loose their lives for Him or the Gospel!
The Apostles are struggling to understand these things as we open our devotional this week.
Father, reveal yourself to us in your glory as we read and study your word so that we can answer the doubt that ofttimes rises up in our hearts.......................In Christ's Name, Amen
We Saw Thee Not
by Anne Richter and Knowles Shaw
Open your Bibles to Mark Chapter 9 and read verses 1-13. As is our custom, read it through several times until you understand the situation.
What a wonderful story! Praise God! I almost feel like saying Amen and leaving it at that. But you know me better, I do have something to say.
These words come at the end of Jesus' address to the crowd that begins in verse 34. Having challenged the crowd to uncompromising fidelity to himself as The Messiah, he promises them that The Kingdom of God is soon coming with power. I personally don't feel he is referring to the transfiguration because only three people witnessed it. Rather I think He is referring to the day of Pentecost following His crucifixion when The Holy Spirit came with power. Perhaps as many as one million people were in Jerusalem on that day and the Good News of Jesus' resurrection was preached before a multitude by the power of The Spirit.
Peter James and John were the members of Jesus's inner circle, They, apart from the other Apostles, would see him raise the dead (Mark 5:37), were with him keeping watch at Gethsemane (Mark 14:33), and were permitted to be with him for this special revelation of His true Glory.
The early Church Fathers agree that Mark's Gospel was given to him by The Apostle Peter. We have before us Peter's eye witness account of what happened, even down to the detail that he spoke out of fear and ignorance.
This experience was so awesome that Peter was still inspired by the memory of it years later, referring to it in his final letter shortly before his death. (see 2Pe 1:16-18)
Moses and Elijah would both have been immediately recognizable by the glory that surrounded the face of Moses and the hair garment and leather belt worn by Elijah.
Moses was the Law Giver and Elijah was Israel's most powerful Prophet.
The cloud represents the presents of God and his voice confirms Jesus as His Messiah. The command to "Hear Him" is directed towards the Apostles, God demands they embrace Jesus teachings about His rejection, death, and resurrection. Jesus stands alone before them having preeminence even over The Law (Moses), and the Prophets (Elijah).
The Apostles doubt has fled away. They have heard the voice of God and seen the Glory of His presents, they have seen Jesus enveloped in splendor and lifted above the greatest men of God. God had declared Jesus to be His Son.
Brothers and Sisters, some day we too shall see Jesus in His Glory, think of that!!
Remember when your days are dark and your future uncertain. We too shall see him.
This event was to be kept a secret. Now the three needed to work on their understanding of "rejected, killed, and rise from the dead." It was going to take some time for them to put away their concept of the "popular messiah." In fact they will not understand it until after Jesus death. I'm glad that we are not required to have perfect understanding of all that God has revealed in order to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. How terrible it would be if every time we had some new insight into the things of God we had to bring our conversion into question.
I like to think of it in terms of marriage. On my wedding day all I really understood about marriage was that it was "Till death do us part." Even though I didn't have a clue about all that it would require of me, I was still married legally and in the eyes of God that very day. Now, seventeen years latter I know a little better what it means to be married, yet I didn't have to get remarried as I grew in understanding.
Our relationship with Jesus begins when we first turn our hearts to know him. It continues on leading us to salvation and grows deeper as we continually seek him during the course of our lives. One day we shall see him face to face and worship him unhindered by ignorance and sin.
The identity and mission of John the baptist had been confused and passed out of knowledge after his death.
The announcement of his birth was amazing and public and can be found in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1.
The following is a quote from the words of the Angel who appeared to Zechariah.
Luke 1: 16 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
The naming of Elijah leaves no doubt that Johns coming was the fulfillment of Malachi's prophesy.
Malachi 3: 1. Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
Malachi 4: 4. Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, [with] the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
The final testimony to Johns calling is from the prophesy spoken by his father on the day of his circumcision.
Luke 1: 76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.
Now if John the Baptist was "Elijah", and he was imprisoned and killed, should it be hard to understand that The Messiah will be rejected and killed? Further, does it seem odd that Jesus followers would be rejected and killed even though they are God's Chosen people? The Christians who first received this Gospel were suffering under the persecution of Nero following the burning of Rome. What a comfort for them to know that they shared in the suffering of Christ and could look forward to a place in God's kingdom where all their tears would be converted into a crown of glory in Heaven.
It is the same in our case. What a joy to know that no evil we are caused to endure in Christ's name will go unrewarded. We have reason to praise and thank God for both the good and the bad that we experience in life!