Our services will be online for the time being. We are live streaming our sermons through YouTube (Christ Baptist Mokopane) and we’ll also continue to upload a pre-recorded audio version of the same message for those who can’t stream.

The following sermon was prepared by Ps Lucas Stoltz this week for your edification and uplifting.

Click here: Mark 9:2-13, to download or stream the audio sermon, or click here: Mark 9:2-13, for the video feed, and follow the notes below. May the Lord speak into your hearts as you worship.

Mark 9:2-13, The Son Uneclipsed:

  • Now before our lives changed regarding the lockdown, we were tracking through Mark pretty well! And we were working up some tension as everything up till Mark 8 leads up to this, and everything from today’s text flows down from this.
  • Now because it’s been weeks since spend any time in Mark, I’d like to briefly recap chapter 8. Firstly, at the closing of chapter 7, we saw Jesus’ sovereignty as he saves a young girl from demonic possession, and when returning to the Decapolis – Jesus heals a deaf-mute man!

 

  • But His miraculous works didn’t stop there. At the opening of chapter 8, a large crowd of over 4000 have gathered in the wilderness to see Jesus, and after much ministry, He feeds them before sending them back.
  • Then we move into a series of necessary teaching on regeneration! First, Jesus addresses permanent spiritual blindness which was applied to the Pharisees who wouldn’t acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God. At the same time, Jesus removed the temporary spiritual blindness the disciples had and they then acknowledge that Jesus is truly God.

 

  • This shifts as Jesus lays down the cost of discipleship, but He also foretells His death and resurrection, which leaves the disciples gutted. And the reason for their emotion is that they didn’t understand what was to happen, leading up to this point – the transfiguration.
  • And so the purpose of this vision is to anchor the disciples in the glory that will come after the Son’s suffering. But more importantly, to unveil the nature of Christ so that you may know Him.
  • So this morning we’ll look four scenes that reveal Jesus’ true glory as God:
  1. The Son’s Transformation:
  • Text – 9:2-4
  • Explanation – Having set the context, the death of Christ is something the disciples cannot comprehend. But Jesus draws back the veil of His true nature to comfort them. You see, until this point, as it were, like an eclipse of the sun, Jesus’ divine nature has been covered! But now these three men experience the Son’s transformation, they see Him uneclipsed.

 

  • Illustration – And without any further build up, Mark says: “And He was transfigured before them.” Luke 9 says, “While He was praying and it happened, they were sleeping.
  • So while they’re asleep and Jesus prays alone, He was transfigured before them. His form was changed. Nothing changed on the inside, but the outside changed. This is important for us to understand, Jesus’ nature could not change, only His appearance!

 

  • Luke 9:29 says, “His face shown like the sun.” He is uneclipsed! The glory of His divine nature came through His humanity. Mark further says “His garments became radiant,” meaning to glitter. Like the shine on a diamond, not a flat light but a blazing light.

 

  • Application – To the disciples, this is new. But Jesus has always possessed this glory, it has just been eclipsed or veiled until this moment. Luke 9:32 records that, “When Jesus was transfigured, they became fully awake and saw His glory.
  • And the scene changes as Elijah and Moses appeared and they were talking with Jesus. Luke 9:31 tells us they were talking about His death.

 

  • Conclusion – Jesus is glorified, why talk about death? Well they talk about His death because that is what the transfiguration communicates to the disciples. Jesus has to die, yet He is truly divine.
  • Now, there is another question to consider that deals with our context; why Moses & Elijah? Moses represents the Law of the Old Testament, and Elijah represents the Prophets. There was no lawgiver like Moses and there was no prophet like Elijah, and they are testifying to Jesus’ death.

 

  • Bridge – And so you sort of have the Law and the Prophets affirm Jesus’ glory & coming death. Therefore, the Son’s transformation proves His true divine nature, and it affirms Jesus’ coming death.
  • Now moving on to scene two, which seems to be a universal truth when God’s glory is being displayed,

 

  1. Man’s Fear:
  • Text – 9:5-6
  • Explanation – It is understandable that they are terrified. Before their nap, Jesus was praying, then they awoke to Jesus being transfigured! It must have been an amazing sight! Remember, the over-arching thought bearing on their minds is the thought that Jesus is going to suffer and die.
  • So Peter’s suggestion is to avoid the idea of suffering! Moses is there, so is Elijah, and they’re all glorified. So his plan is to make tents. Now, you might wonder; where does this come from?

 

  • Illustration – This event took place in the month Tishri, six months before Passover, and in this month, the Feast of Tabernacles took place. It’s a celebration to observing God’s leading of His people from Egypt, the exodus! So the thought could have been inspired by the setting. Point is, being terrified, Peter exposes man’s fear before God’s glory.

 

  • Application – Now Peter’s fear is not sinful. It is expected and it further testifies to Christ’s true nature. Just take a look at man’s response to God’s presence: After the Fall of man in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve were hiding from God’s presence because they were afraid.

 

  • Conclusion – In Genesis 15, the Lord encourages Abraham not to be afraid; in Exodus 3 when God first appears to Moses, he hid his face for he was afraid! Peter is no different, he finds himself in God’s presence – beholding His glory – yet afraid as he takes in Christ’s true nature.

 

  • Bridge – But before things get weird, we have another affirmation of Christ’s true nature and coming suffering…

 

  1. God’s Affirmation:
  • Text – 9:7-8
  • Explanation – Matthew 17:6 adds that once God spoke, “When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”

 

  • Illustration – So the scene continues to build tension as the cloud overshadows them. Now this cloud analogy is seen throughout Scripture as the symbol of God’s presence and glory. You’ll do well to think of Moses back in Exodus 24:15-16.
  • When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain.”
  • In Exodus 40:35 we see this again as the cloud that filled the tabernacle represented the glory of God. So the cloud symbolizes the divine presence of God as He speaks.

 

  • Application – And here’s where the transfiguration reaches its climax; in the heavenly voice saying, “‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!’” This reminds me of the baptismal account where the declaration is made that Jesus is the Son of God!
  • But at the baptism, the declaration was directed to Jesus (“‘You are my beloved Son’”). Here to address is made to the disciples, “‘This is my beloved Son,’” and in addition, they are commanded to “‘hear him.’”

 

  • Conclusion – Now what exactly are the disciples to hear? Well, what is the purpose of the transfiguration? To anchor the disciples in the glory that will come after the Son’s suffering, and to know His true nature! They haven’t made peace with the coming cross, they might be resisting the thought.
  • But the Father affirms who Christ is and as the mission is to the cross, the disciples are commanded to listen to the Lord, to submit to His authority, as they now know who He truly is – but still don’t understand the plan.

 

  • Bridge – So we’ve seen 3 scenes of the Transfiguration so far; the Son’s transformation which is confirmed by the appearance of Moses & Elijah; we’ve seen the appropriate response to God’s true nature – that is a holy fear – which also affirms that Jesus is divine; and thirdly we’ve seen the Father’s affirmation and approval of the Son’s true nature.
  • But now we turn to the final scene as the characters leave the stage, heading down the mountain…

 

  1. The Son’s Fulfilment:
  • Text – 9:9-13
  • Explanation – Jesus charges them “not to” say a thing until the Son of man rose from the dead. Which, as you can imagine – would be rather hard to do. Just think about what they’ve experienced…

 

  • Illustration – Think about it, if you encounter something special to you, you can’t wait to tell everyone, can you? Almost every time Jesus gave this command, apart from demonic influence, folks would go out and declare what Jesus had done for them.
  • Even when Peter made the confession, “You’re the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus warned them, “Don’t tell anybody.” So coming down the mountain, they probably couldn’t wait to talk about this. But now they are told to say nothing.

 

  • Why would Jesus instruct this? Well, it is not the gospel. The gospel is that Jesus died and rose again. The gospel isn’t just that Jesus is God, it isn’t just that Jesus died, it isn’t just that Jesus is a healer.
  • It includes all these truths! And because you don’t have the death & resurrection, you don’t have the full Gospel account. It’s only after His death and resurrection that the great commission comes!

 

  • Application – So don’t say anything until the Son of man rose from the dead. What then? Why the experience on the mount? To fix their faith, to seal their confession, “You’re the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This should anchor their faith firmly in Christ!
  • Still, however, as hard as it must have been, they obeyed. Luke 9:36 says, “they kept silent and repeated to no one in those days any of the things they had seen.

 

  • Conclusion – which leads to their question in verse 11, “Why is it that the scribes say Elijah must come first?” They are referring to the prophecy concerning Christ’s forerunner coming as recorded in Malachi 3:1, “Behold, I am going to send my messenger and he’ll clear the way before me.
  • What’s this about? Before the coming of Jesus, there will come His messenger. According to Malachi 4:5-6, this messenger is Elijah. But this reference refers to Christ’s second coming; it reads “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers

 

  • Elijah will come to restore, and to bring the message of repentance. So the three disciples ask this because they now understand that Jesus is the Messiah, but there is a gap because before Jesus establishes His kingdom, Elijah should have come.
  • So Jesus answers in verse 12, Elijah does first come, and he will come and he will restore all things. But not now because Jesus must suffer and not yet establish the Kingdom. They think the kingdom is going to come very soon, maybe just after Christ’s resurrection. But Jesus says He “will suffer many things and be treated with contempt…

 

  • This is why the prophecy about Elijah doesn’t fit in here. Yet, Jesus says that Elijah has come. What does this mean? Turn to John 1:21, when it was suggested that John the Baptist was Elijah, he said, “No, I’m not Elijah.
  • But John came in the spirit and power of Elijah. He had a similar ministry, calling people to repentance. Yes, it may seem confusing, but Elijah will come before the Lord comes to judge and establish the kingdom. But the forerunner for the Messiah as promised by Isaiah being Elijah, is John. John came as an Elijah-like prophet.

 

  • Bridge – The point is, Elijah already came and they did to him whatever they wished – right? They cut poor John’s head off. So also the Son of man is going to suffer at their hands. Matthew 17:13 concludes this story saying, “Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.
  • So again, Jesus helps them understand once more, He has to suffer and die. And only after that, will the kingdom be established. The kingdom isn’t coming now, suffering comes now! You’ve seen my glory, you heard the witnesses, you heard the divine affirmation, so now my death comes.

 

Application:

  • So in addition, the point of the transfiguration is also this, there’s no glory without the cross and the resurrection! The disciples needed to accept this. And you’ll see as we continue through Mark, these guys still kick against His death. They don’t want to lose their Christ.
  • Maybe this is where you are now. As we look at how Jesus reveals His true nature, and as we see the disciples miss the meaning – we can also truly know who Jesus is, but miss what He is doing!
  • Take a look at what’s happening around us and in the families in our church. Folks have lost their jobs, others live in fear because they are physically vulnerable… no matter what it is – Jesus has revealed Himself to us to anchor us firmly in Him. But you might be in denial!

 

  • See, just as these disciples struggled to see Jesus’ plan – we can be short-sight and not see that He is busy working in and through us, especially during COVID-19. With all the doubt and uncertainty surrounding us, we can be sure of who Christ is and that He rules!
  • So here’s how the disciples responded to this truth: About 30 years later, Peter writes; “…we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glorywe ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.” (2 Peter 1:16b-18). Peter writes these words as he encourages doubtful believers to once again trust who Jesus is.

 

  • 30 years after Peter’s letter, John wrote for the same reason in 1 John 1:1-3, that they have heard, and seen, and have touched the glorious Jesus Himself. And for this reason, he testifies to it and proclaims it for the sake of others experiencing salvation!
  • So Jesus, being truly and fully – God & man, came to suffer and die so that we may have eternal life, and have no doubt of His care!