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A Heart For God: "Transfiguration" - Part 1 (Mark 9:1-50)

Monday, April 23, 2012

"Transfiguration" - Part 1 (Mark 9:1-50)

(This is supplement 8 to the #mkbiblechat study taking place every Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, 6:30 Pacific USA. Pastor Mike is teaching the Gospel of Mark on Twitter. Click here for class schedule and links to the notes. Click here to follow Pastor Mike on Twitter.)


(An explanation of the title) Of course, our Lord is "transfigured" before Peter, James and John to begin this chapter and section (Mark 9:1-13), but really a transfiguring of all of the disciples is taking place (in mind, attitude, perception, purpose, etc). They are being readied for both Jesus' death (Luke 9:44) which they are just hearing about (see Mark 8:31-32a) and ministry in Christ's place after His departure (ascension). Transfigure: "1. to change or cause to change in appearance; 2. to become or cause to become more exalted; transform." (


"And Elijah appeared [there] to them, accompanied by Moses, and they were holding [a protracted] conversation with Jesus (They are discussing the cross! ~ see Luke 9:30-31; CEV)." (Mark 9:4; Amplified)

Jesus predicts the "Transfiguration" in Mark 9:1. (Parallel passages: Matthew 17:1-8; Luke 9:28-36) Mark records the fulfillment of the prediction in Mark 9:2-13. Some (Peter and James and John in this case) receive greater revelation because of what's ahead. Peter, James and John will be an integral part in the establishment of the Church after Jesus leaves. They will have a heavy burden to bear. Each will die martyr's deaths. (It can be disputed with John, but tradition has it he was tortured.) They will need the assurance of this moment to carry them through. (Peter and John write about this experience in 2 Peter 1:16-18; John 1:14; 1 John 1:1-3.)

Literally, "Jesus resume[s] the glory which he had left to come to earth." (Wycliffe) (The Humiliation of Christ; Philippians 2:5-11)

It's interesting to note Peter's response in Mark 9:5: "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here (on Glory mountain); and let us make three tabernacles (shelters, NIV), one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah." We're ready to camp on Glory mountain, but rarely willing to submit to Calvary road. (Mark 9:12bc)


"And one of the crowd answered Him (Jesus), 'Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit. ...And I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.'" (Mark 9:17, 18b)

Two thoughts born out of my observations and meant to get your wheels turning...

1. Nine disciples (Peter, James, John are on Transfiguration mountain) can't heal the boy. (Mark 9:18b) They've done many miracles, but they can't pull this one off. (Mark 6:13)

2. Just because someone has been in a bad condition for a long, long time doesn't mean God can't heal him, doesn't want to heal him or won't heal him. (Mark 9:21)


Jesus speaks of His death a second time. (Mark 9:30-32) (Selah~pause to reflect)

"But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples, "Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.'" (Luke 9:43b-44)

Matthew adds: "And they (the disciples) were deeply grieved." (Matthew 17:23b)

The disciples have other ideas of how things are supposed to work out? God's way is always best.

It's interesting to note how Mark includes "The First Shall Be Last" discussion (Mark 9:33-37) directly after Christ's death and resurrection discussion. What a contrast. The disciples are a million miles off!


John the "Beloved"(Jesus' favorite, if you will) is the focus. (Mark 9:38-41) He (John) will go on to write of the importance of love and loving your neighbor especially. He's got a ways to go here. John's needing a (quote) "transfiguration" / transforming himself. He's needing his thinking to be changed from wrong to right.

And we can look over at that church over there and we can have wrong thoughts about those folks because, after all, they're not a megachurch like ours is. Jesus only uses megachurches, after all. (I'm being sarcastic to make a point.)


The Church Father, Origen, took these verses literally and chopped himself. (Mark 9:43-48) We must get drastic with sin (in the metaphoric sense) and realize its incredibly awful consequences in the next life.

It will be Jesus Himself that will have His body ripped apart for our redemption. (Selah~pause to reflect again)


1. Describe a time in your life as a Christian (or in the life of someone you know) where Christ was revealed in a very special and unique way. (Mark 9:2-3)

2. How do people measure "greatness"? (Mark 9:33-35)

3. Explain what Jesus means when He says, "And if your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire." (Mark 9:43)

4. Take a few minutes and pray for God to show you any areas of "transfiguration" (/transforming) that are needful in your own life. Then commit yourself to that change with everything within you.

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