Series: Bios of a Savior
Bible Passage: Mark 9:2-13
Other Pertinent Scripture:
Parallel passages: For Mark 9:2-8 see Matthew 17:1-8, Luke 9:28-36; For Mark 9:9-13 see Matthew 17:9-13
Exodus 3; Exodus 33:12-23; Isaiah 6; John 1:1-2, 14, 16-17; Romans 8:1-4; 2 Corinthians 3:7-18; 2 Peter 1:16; 1 John 1:1
The gospel of Mark is a documentary account of the life of Christ. Like other ancient biographies, which were called a BIOS or “life,” Mark’s account speaks to us about the actions and events of a man’s life. But this is no mere man Mark is presenting. This is the holy man who is wholly God, the one who has unique authority to call us to follow him.
As a church, everything about Stonehouse centers on this BIOS - his life, his teaching, his authority, his suffering and his victory. Join us as we dive into this fast paced narrative filled with astonishing events, dramatic responses and a give-all-that-you-are challenge from Jesus who stands at the center of it all.
a note on this week’s text:
This week’s mountain top encounter for Peter, James, and John is essential to them understanding more fully the nature and calling of Jesus. The fact that the transfiguration happened shortly after Jesus first told the disciples that he had to suffer and die is very important. Jesus’ words about the coming cross are hard for his followers to reconcile with the fact that he is the Christ, the anointed Messiah of God. This event, with the radiant white nature of Jesus, the presence of Moses and Elijah, and the voice of the Father out of the cloud affirm that the suffering Jesus predicted is in fact necessary and that even so he is still definitely the Messiah that they are hoping he was. This not only affirms Christ’s divinity but also declares for us the truth that in our sufferings, God is still with us and loving us, just as was true in the sufferings of our King.
a few items to help take a deeper look this week or share with others:
“Unlocking the Bible: Transfiguration” by Colin Smith
“The Mount of Transfiguration: By R.C. Sproul
Suggested discovery/discussion questions:
1. As Peter, James and John are up on the mountain with Jesus he is “transfigured” right before their eyes. This account is remembered in New Testament scripture by both Peter (2 Peter 1:16) and John (John 1:1), it is a significant moment for them in the “proof” that Jesus was in fact God. They may have been tempted to think more that Jesus was a mere man who did some miraculous things but this was a clear declaration that Jesus himself is the radiance of the glory of God. Do we condemn the disciples for their hardness of heart and their tendency to slow belief or do we recognize our own tendencies are much like theirs? Is it hard for us to believe that Jesus is more than simply a man who did some miracles? What in our culture pushes us toward this misunderstanding? What happens in our lives when we fail to recognize that Jesus is God? How does our view change? What do we do with his teaching? How do we view his suffering and death?
2. This moment was for the disciples a clear indication that what Jesus just began telling them (that he must suffer, be rejected, and die) is absolutely not a diversion from his divine mission it is in fact the very reason that he came. We too need this reassurance mainly because of the fact that we too will suffer and face hardships. This stamp of God's approval coming again at this moment can bring us comfort as well. What comfort can you draw from this passage? Do you feel, in the midst of struggle, that God has left you? Do you tend to try to make it through hardship and suffering alone or do you come to God in these times, humbly asking him to be with you through it?
3. Moses appears on the mountain with Jesus representing the Law of the Old Testament. In this exchange we see that Jesus is the true and better Moses. This means that Jesus doesn’t merely bring the Law like Moses did but that he fulfills the Law on our behalf. This truth has bearing on our response to God. Consider reading Romans 8:1-4. Do we try to fulfill the law on our own, with our own efforts and righteousness (like Peter building tents) or do we rest in the work of Christ? What does this mean practically for us?
4. Elijah also appears on the mountain with Jesus representing the Prophets of the Old Testament. Like with Moses, we see here that Jesus is the true and better Elijah, the true and better prophet. This means that Jesus not only speaks the words of God like the prophets did but that he is the Word of God. Likewise, this truth comes to bear on our response to God. Consider reading John 1:1-2, 14, 16-17. Do we try to “hear from God” through some sort of super-spiritual event or do we look to the Living Word as revealed in scripture and trust that God is speaking to us as we study Christ, his words and his works, as well as the teaching of the apostles? What does that mean for us practically?
5. In the end Jesus alone stands on the mountain with the disciples as though God is declaring “look to Jesus alone for your hope, he will fulfill the Law and deliver the Word of God for all mankind.” And how will he do this? Like John the Baptist before him, who was the Elijah to come(Mark 9:11-13), Jesus will be handed over to be killed and he will do this as a fulfillment of the mission of God. Not only would Jesus live a perfect life that radiates the glory of God on earth but he will die a death, in our place for our sins, that ultimately sets us free from sin and death. This is God’s response to our sin and rebellion… sacrifice. How do we see the amazing love of God in the death of his Son? How do we place our trust in the life and death of Jesus? How does this change the way we, and the world, see God?
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