“Six days later, . . . . “ (Mark 9:2a)
Six days later from when? That is what I asked scripture when I sat down to write. What had happened six days earlier? Well, Jesus had asked his disciples who people were saying that he is. They answered him saying – some saying John the Baptist, others Elijah, and others one of the prophets. Jesus asked them their opinion, and Peter said, “You are the Messiah.” This lead to a teaching on what Jesus would suffer. And Peter, being Peter, would not accept and believe that. So Jesus taught them further (and the crowd who was there) that the Son of Man expects that all believers would forfeit all things earthly in order to gain entry to the life beyond. It was six days after that . . .
“Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus.” (Verses 2b – 4)
Actually, I did not plan on speaking to that came before this; nor specifically to the transfiguration/transformation of Jesus. What I want to focus on is the gift that Jesus gave these three disciples. And yes, it was a gift.
What concept do you think the disciples had of Jesus? Peter was ready and able to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. But he could not believe that the road Jesus traveled would lead to hardship, pain, and death. The concept of Messiah was rescuer and savior who would never be defeated or at a disadvantage. Why? Because, the reasoning went, the Messiah could and should not ever be destroyed. But this exposes both their misunderstanding of what Jesus was about, AND the powers he had at his command. Just as Peter could not countenance Jesus destroyed, neither could he conceive of Jesus as being part of something so beyond his understanding.
“Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.” (Verses 5 – 8)
It takes time, beloved reader, to understand what one sees and experiences spiritually. I have been working at understanding how, what, and where the support I have been feeling the last few years has come from. At times I feel overwhelmed with what I need to cope with – health-wise, at my job, in family life, and living in our current times. I think over and over again – I cannot get through it, I cannot cope with it, and how can I in the midst of this speak to and about scripture passages when I have exhausted myself. And yet, and yet . . . I do. I have come to the conclusion that it is a gift from the Divine. Whatever props me up and keeps me going, is a gift from the Divine. I do not understand the gift – not what it consists of, where from within me it comes, how it developed – not anything about it. I just know that it is there, and that it is a gift.
“As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.” (Verse 9)
Jesus told his disciples not to say anything about that experience on the mountain until after his death and resurrection. I am not sure they could have explained it anyway. I know it has taken me time to be able to speak about what I have experienced. [Okay, maybe I have dropped unintentional hints.] What I do know is that unless you understand the concept of what the Jesus/Lord God connection is, the why of Jesus’ ministry, and the meaning of his death and resurrection – nothing about scripture really makes sense. And even knowing that, there are still puzzlers!
I think often, beloved reader, of the risen Jesus walking and meeting up with two of the disciples on the road to Emmaus; and being given that insight into scripture. I wish it for myself, and I wish it for you, beloved reader. I do not know what was said; for all I know it would be a duplicate of what I have already learned. But it would just be nice to know . . . and have confirmed . . . the understanding and knowledge. It would be a gift! Shalom & Selah!