Sermon #36††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††† Series: Mark

 

††††††††† Title: ††††††††† THE TRANSFIGURATION

††††††††† Text:†††††††††† Mark 9:1-13

††††††††† Reading:††† Psalm 24:1-10

††††††††† Subject:†††† Lessons From The Transfiguration

Date:††††††††† Sunday Morning - December 14, 1997

††††††††† Tape #†††††† U-35

 

††††††††† Introduction:

 

††††††††† We must never fail to consider the context in which something is revealed in Holy Scripture. In Mark 9, we are given a description of our Lordís transfiguration before Peter, James, and John. It is a passage full of instruction and inspiration. But we are sure to miss much if we do not remember that this story follows, by Divine arrangement, our Lordís comments in Mark 8 about his own suffering and death and his teaching that if we would be his disciples we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, lose our lives to his dominion, and follow him even unto death.

 

††††††††† Now, lest we grow weary in well doing, lest we be tempted to lay down the cross, lest we think self-denial is too demanding, our Lord follows those strong, demanding words with the promise of his kingdom and a sight of his own glory in that kingdom, even giving us a foretaste of the glory awaiting us when our warfare here is ended.

 

Proposition:††††† When we are tempted to give up the fight and turn from the battle, we ought to seek a fresh vision of Christís great glory and of the glory promised to us in him.

 

††††††††† With those things in mind, letís read Mark 9:1-13 together. Pray with me that God the Holy Spirit will today enable us to see and hear those things which Peter, James, and John saw and heard when they were with the Lord in the holy mount.

 

Mark 9:1-13"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. (2) 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. (3) And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. (4) And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. (5) 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. (6) For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. (7) And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. (8) And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. (9) 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. (10) And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. (11) And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? (12) 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. (13) 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."

 

Divisions: As we look into these thirteen verses, I want to draw your attention to three things;

 

1.   The Promised Kingdom (v. 1).

2.   The Prophetic Vision (vv. 2-10).

3.   The Perplexing Question (vv. 11-13).

 

I.      THE PROMISED KINGDOM (v. 1).

 

Mark 9:1"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."

 

††††††††† These disciples were terribly perplexed by our Lordís declaration, described in verse thirty-one of chapter eight, that he must be rejected and killed. I do not doubt that they were very concerned about the demands of true discipleship described in last few verses of that chapter. Here the Lord Jesus promised them that he is indeed Godís Messiah and that the kingdom of God was at hand, so very near at hand that some of them would still be living upon the earth when it came.

 

††††††††† I am not overly concerned about your views of prophetic things; but it is a great mistake to miss the teaching of Scripture regarding the spiritual, present nature of Christís kingdom. We do not look for some future time when the Lord Jesus will establish a literal, earthly, millennial kingdom in Israel.

 

A. Our Lord told his disciples plainly that his kingdom was then about to be established.

 

1.    We who believe are the Israel of God. Godís church is his kingdom, the true Zion. Believers are the children of Abraham.

 

2.    This kingdom began when Christ entered into his glory.

 

3.    All the fanciful nonsense about a secret rapture, a future, literal seven-year tribulation period, a 1000 year Jewish kingdom, the return of Jewish sacrifices, etc. is nothing but human invention, tradition, and religious escapism.

 

4.    When Christ comes the second time, it will not be in secret, it will not be to give the Jews a second chance to receive him, or to rebuild the Jewish priesthood and temple services! Oh, no! When the Son of God comes again it will be with power and great glory, for the ultimate salvation of his people and the destruction of his foes.

 

2 Thessalonians 1:6-10"Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; (7) And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, (8) In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (9) Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (10) When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day."

 

B. In this opening verse of Mark 9, our Lord Jesus tells us three things specifically about his kingdom.

 

1.   First, the Savior declared that the kingdom of God would come, and would come so as to be seen.

 

The kingdom of the Messiah was to be set up in the world by the utter destruction of the Jewish nation, both physically and spiritually.

 

Way back in Genesis 49:10, we are told that the scepter of power and the lawgiver would depart from Judah when Shiloh was come. Here Shiloh declares, I have come and the scepter of power as well as the lawgiver shall now depart from Judah.

 

In Romans 9-11, the Holy Spirit explains that it was necessary for God to destroy the Jewish nation and send blindness to that one nation, so that he might send the gospel into all the world and gather his elect out of every nation, kindred, tribe and tongue. ďThis was the restoring of the kingdom of God among men, which had been in a manner lost by the woeful degeneracy both of Jews and Gentiles (Matthew Henry).

 

2.   Second, our Master asserted that would come with power, so as to make its own way, and bear down the opposition that was given to it.

 

        It came with power when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon it on the day of Pentecost.

 

        It came with power when God sent the Roman armies under the command of Titus through Jerusalem in 70 AD.

 

        It came with power when the gospel was brought to chosen, redeemed sinners among the Gentiles, breaking the chains of sin, idolatry, and superstition.

 

        The kingdom of God still comes with power every time the Holy Spirit conquers a rebel sinnerís heart by the gospel!

 

3.   Third, our Lord Jesus that some standing in the spot with him would yet be alive when the kingdom of God had come.

 

There were some standing there, that did not taste of death, until they saw it. This is virtually the same thing he said in Matthew 24:34.

 

Matthew 24:34"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."

 

These disciples, standing here with Christ, who saw and understood very little at this time, he promised would see the kingdom of God, when the others could not discern it to be the kingdom of God, for it comes not with observation. The only people in all the world who can see and enter into this kingdom are those who are born of God.

 

John 3:3-7"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (4) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? (5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."

 

Having made this promise, a promise which seemed altogether unbelievable, six days later our Savior took Peter, James, and John up into a high mountain and showed them some things which they later looked back upon as convincing proofs of his kingdom and glory. In verses 2-10 we see where Mark describesÖ

 

II.   THE PROPHETIC VISION.

 

Mark 9:2-10"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. (3) And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. (4) And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. (5) 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. (6) For he Wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. (7) And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. (8) And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. (9) 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. (10) And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean."

 

††††††††† Though they were commanded to say nothing about it at the time, Peter and John both gave accounts of what they had seen later.

 

2 Peter 1:16"For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty."

 

1 John 1:1-3"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (2) (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (3) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."

 

A. This is a picture of the glory our great and glorious Savior now has as our exalted Mediator and King.

 

††††††††† The days of his sorrow and humiliation are over forever. Our Lord Jesus is crowned with glory now. When the Scripture says here that he was transfigured before these disciples, the word transfigured is translated from the word from which we get our word metamorphosis. It means that he changed before their very eyes! Thus, our Lord showed his disciples the glory awaiting him when he had finished his work of redemption.

 

††††††††† I am not guessing about this. Peter, James, and John, as they watched this, heard Moses and Elijah talking to him about the death he was to accomplish at Jerusalem (Lk. 9:29-31).

 

Luke 9:29-31"And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. (30) And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: (31) Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem."

 

B. This vision of Christís transfiguration was a gracious pledge of glorious things which are in store for Godís elect.

 

Colossians 3:1-4"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (4) When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

 

††††††††† Though reviled and persecuted in this world, though despised and hated for the gospelís sake, there is a day coming when we shall be clothed with majesty, honor, and glory forever.

 

Ephesians 2:7"That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."

 

††††††††† Note: I must not pass this opportunity to point out the fact that Moses and Elijah knew each other, and were known by these disciples, though they lived hundreds of years apart and the disciples had never seen them or even a picture of them before. I will not be stretching my text when I assert therefore thatÖ

 

1.   As soon as these bodies close their eyes in death, believers enter into ďan house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens

 

2.   Believers know one another and converse with one another, as well as with Christ himself, in this heavenly state.

 

3.   The primary subject of conversation in heaven is the death accomplished at Jerusalem by our most glorious Christ.

 

C. Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets, find their fulfillment in the substitutionary sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary.

 

††††††††† The law was not given to be nothing more than a code of ethics. It was given to point to Christ. The prophets were not written merely to foretell future events. The books of the prophets were written to proclaim the coming of Christ and to verify his claim as the Christ when he did come.

 

D. What great comfort and consolation a sight and apprehension of glory gives to troubled believers.

 

††††††††† When Peter, speaking for himself, as well as James and John, said, Lord, letís stay right here forever, I realize that there is much in the statement which is reprehensible.

 

        It showed a terrible slowness to hear the Word of God and great ignorance on his part. The Lord Jesus had just told him a few days earlier that he must be killed at Jerusalem.

 

        It showed a very regrettableforgetfulness of his brethren and selfishness on his part.

 

        It certainly showed the folly of popping off about things of which we are ignorant.

 

††††††††† Yet, having said that, if I had been there, indeed, if I could be there now, I think I would want the same thing Peter wanted. I would say, ďLetís stay right here on this mountain. I donít ever again want to go back down to where I was.Ē

 

††††††††† Be that as it may I know this - It will do our hearts good to look forward, and try to get some apprehension of the indescribable pleasure and glory awaiting us when we meet our Savior to part no more. What shall we say when we are made partakers of his glory? What emotions will flood our souls when we enter into his holy company and know that we shall go out no more? What shall it be to enter into his glory? Peter had a foretaste of these things. I suspect that when we experience them we will say with one heart and one voice, ďIt is good for us to be here.Ē

 

E. Here we are given another of those plain, clear declarations of our great Redeemerís eternal Godhead.

 

††††††††† While the were with the Savior in the mount, with Moses and Elijah standing in front of them, the Lord God spoke from heaven and said, ďThis is my beloved SonĒ.

 

1.   Moses, Elijah, Peter, James, and John were all like us, sinners saved by grace, the sons of God by adoption and grace.

 

2.   Jesus Christ is distinctly God the Son, the Son of God by nature.

 

THE MAN CHRIST JESUS IS HIMSELF GOD! He is God manifest in the flesh. His name is Immanuel, God with us.

 

        None but God could redeem us.

        None but God could put away our sins.

        None but God could save us by his grace.

 

F. In this vision we are clearly and distinctly taught that all power and authority are in the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior and King.

 

††††††††† That same Voice which spoke from heaven at our Masterís baptism and declared our Savior to be God the Son, spoke again at his transfiguration. On both occasions the Voice was the same. On both occasions, the Father owned the Son as the Son. But here two very important words are added. Hear him!Ē In the Church and Kingdom of God there is no voice of authority but his voice!

 

1.   He is our Teacher - If we would be wise we must learn of him.

2.   He is the Light of the world - If we would walk in the light we must follow him.

3.   He is the Head of the church - If we would be members of his body we must be joined to him.

4.   He alone is the Savior of men - If we would be saved we must look to him.

 

††††††††† Blessed, eternally blessed are all those sinners who upon this earth are graciously taught of God and learn by his grace to look to Christ and ďhear himĒ.

 

John 10:27-28"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."

 

III. THE PERPLEXING QUESTION (vv. 11-13).

 

††††††††† The disciples, as they came down off the mountain after seeing the Lord Jesus transfigured before them, after seeing and hearing Moses and Elijah, after hearing God the Father speak from heaven were specifically told to tell no one of the things they had seen until the Lord Jesus was risen from the dead. Hearing that, they seemed to forget everything else and returned to their usual questions and debates about what the Lord meant. This time, they debated about what he meant by rising from the dead. They still did not believe that the Lord Jesus was really going to die (vv. 9-10). They were, indeed, coming down! Now read verses 11-13.

 

Mark 9:11-13"And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? (12) 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. (13) 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."

 

††††††††† Here we see a very real danger of trying to interpret the Word of God carnally. The Pharisees believed and taught, as many do today, that before Christ comes in his glory and establishes his kingdom Elijah must come, literally. The disciples were familiar with and confused by the influence of the Pharisees.

 

A. The prophecy of Malachi certainly tells us that Messiahs coming must be preceded and introduced by the coming of Elijah (Mal. 4:5-6).

 

Malachi 4:5-6"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: (6) And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

 

B. The Lord Jesus tells us plainly that Malachiís prophecy was fulfilled in the ministry of John the Baptist.

 

††††††††† John the Baptist came not in the body of Elijah, but in the spirit and power of Elijah! That was the meaning of Malachiís message.

 

††††††††† Note: There is no hindrance to the understanding of the Word of God like the prejudice of false religion. Seldom, very seldom is the majority, or the historical opinion of things right.

 

Application:

 

††††††††† I am neither Elijah nor John the Baptist, but I have come to you today in the same Spirit and, I hope, the same power as they possessed, the Spirit and power of God. I have come to turn your heart to the Lord. May God graciously use this message for that purpose.

 

1.   Jesus Christ is the King of Glory before whom all men must and shall bow.

 

2.   The only way any sinner will bow to this great King is if he is forced to do so. Either in Grace or in Judgment!

 

3.   Christ crucified is the fulfillment of all Scripture.

 

4.   The only voice of authority in his church and kingdom is his voice.

 

5.   Blessed are those eyes of faith which see no man, save Jesus only!

 

6.   What glory awaits the sons of God!

 

†††††††††††††††††† Illustration: The Robinís Eggs

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† AMEN.