”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. 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. 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. 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. 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 9:1-13

We mentioned a few weeks ago how the Lord Jesus having brought His disciples to a knowledge and confession of His Divine person now opened to them the true purpose for His coming into the world; the suffering He must endure, His rising again from the dead and ascension into glory. All these things would confirm the Saviour’s success in His atoning work, and the redemption of His people, here called, “the kingdom of God come with power”. Nor would there be long to wait as these events were not far off, but would be seen within the immediate lifetime of most of those gathered here with the Lord.

The disciples’ preparation continues

Yet there were other lessons to learn, more revelation was to be given and preparation made for apostolic ministry. The Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ witnessed by Peter, James and John would bring a new perspective to the understanding of these men and equip them for days to come. Only three disciples were called to witness this glorious event recorded by Mark, and also Matthew and Luke. Three witnesses were sufficient. But what a sight they beheld. The brilliant sparkling appearance of the Saviour revealing His divine nature, the audible voice of God the Father from the cloud, and the bodily presence of Moses representing the Law, and Elias, or Elijah, representing the Prophets, surely made this night’s events amongst the most momentous ever seen on earth.

Moses, Elias and Jesus converse

Peter, James and John seem to have been overtaken with sleep as the Lord laboured in prayer on the mountain top. Luke suggests they were roused from their slumber by the voices of Moses, Elias and Jesus and the brilliance of the light that appeared to radiate from the Lord’s body through His clothes. As the disciples struggled to take in what they were hearing and seeing Luke tells us it became clear to them that the conversation was about Christ’s “decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem”. Moses and Elias were talking to the Lord about His imminent death, the very subject the Lord had recently been declaring to His disciples.

Law and prophecy defer to Jesus

Peter, struggling to comprehend what he was watching, and often the spokesman, felt a need to say something, but his mind had not as yet caught up with his mouth. He realised he was privileged to be present but his comments about three tabernacles to honour the three persons showed he did not realise the significance of the presence of these two ancient witnesses. They were come to testify to Christ’s glory, not to share in it. They appeared as representatives of the law and the prophets to show their agreement and harmony with the Saviour, but also their subservience to His work of redemption and salvation. These were not three equals but a graphic testimony to Christ ‘the end of the Law’ and Christ the fulfilment of the prophets.

“My Beloved Son”

The sudden voice of God settled this matter completely. From out of the cloud that shone brightly around them came the voice of God, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Then, looking around, the disciples “saw no man, save Jesus only”. What a wonderful testimony to the matchlessness and majesty of our Saviour, the God Man. What a reassuring statement of divine approval and pleasure. What a beautiful reminder of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, God’s only way of salvation and the only bringer of spiritual life and everlasting glory.

Jesus only

May it be our desire to see “Jesus only”. May the Lord Jesus Christ be our only comfort and confidence. May we rise, like the disciples, unafraid in the presence of the Holy Lord God having discovered by faith our acceptance and approval with God in our Saviour, Jesus only.

Amen

Peter Meney



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