Scripture: Mark 9:2-9
Key Verse(s): And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. (v. 7-8)
Observation: Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up a mountainside, most likely Mount Hermon, and allows them to experience a life changing event. Jesus is transfigured before them. They see his clothes become radiantly white; whiter than earthly possible. Not only that, but they are joined by Moses and Elijah on this mountain experience. The whole of the promises of God are before them, Moses the lawgiver, Elijah the prophet’s prophet, and Jesus the Messiah. No wonder they don’t know what to say. Instead of remaining quiet and taking in the experience, Peter speaks up and suggests that he, James, and John build booths/dwelling places for Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. By way of correction, God the Holy Spirit surrounds them as a cloud and God the Father becomes an audible presence to bring the focus back to Jesus where it belongs. God the Father speaks identifying Jesus as Son of God and commands the three future leaders of the “church” to give Jesus their full attention; they are to listen to what he has to say because he is God. When Peter, James, and John look around again Jesus is the only one remaining.
Analysis: We get caught up in the mountaintop experience just as much if not more than Peter does. We want to make this passage about how we would have responded in this situation or how we need to respond to our mountaintop experiences. When we make this passage about our response to our mountaintop experiences, not realizing that when we do so we take the focus off of Jesus. The point of this experience is that the disciple receive another confirmation that Jesus is God, the Messiah that has been promised. Peter’s response is reflective of our attempts to control God, to put God the Son in a tent/booth that contains the transfiguration in a way we can understand. Instead, we should let the glory of Jesus stand and stand alone. The proper response is to simply marvel as the glorious nature of Jesus’ coming to earth so that God is revealed to us and we might be saved. The proper response is to remain quiet because we don’t know what to say and because there really isn’t any human language that is appropriate in the presence of God. The proper response is to give Jesus our full attention, listen to what he has to say to us, and follow his instructions as we go back down the mountain.
Prayer: Gracious and loving God, we thank you for all of our mountaintop experiences which reveal your glory to us. We pray that we will receive these experiences as opportunities to hear from you and to fully give our lives to you in obedience. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.