A MAGICAL TRANSFIGURATION
The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
The Magical Transfiguration
A magician introduced an act in which he would disappear. He said to the audience, “On the count of three, I will disappear!” And he started counting in Spanish, “Uno… Dos…POOF!” And the magician was gone without a tres! (think about that one for just a minute)
It was the first day of class and the teacher asked students about their parent’s occupations. All went pretty standard until she came to Ethan.
“Ethan, what does your father do for a living?”
“He’s a magician. He performs tricks, like sawing people in half.”
The teacher replied, “Wow! That’s different! Do you have any brothers or sisters?”
Ethan snapped is reply “Yep, four half-sisters and a half-brother.”
In the 9th chapter of Mark, Jesus took his three inner circle apostles: Peter, James, and John, up on a mountain for a magical experience. They would have a unique “mountain top experience.”
While on this high mountain, Jesus was transfigured right before their eyes. The Greek word translated transfigure is not as uncommon as the English word used here. The Greek word used is metamorphoo, from the better-known scientific word in English, metamorphoses. Paul used that word in Romans 12:2 when he told us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The transfiguration the Apostles witnessed was an outward metamorphosis, while the Holy Spirit causes all believers in Christ to have an inward, spiritual one.
This outward mystical experience of Jesus involved his clothing becoming a dazzling white, brighter than any launderer could bleach them out. Then, out of the blue, two of the most important figures of Old Testament Scripture appeared, Moses and Elijah. I would love to know what was said between these three, but the text leaves the subject out, but I strongly suspect, given the context of Christ’s work on earth, it must have had to do with how the Son of God would fulfill the law and the prophets as Jesus explained elsewhere. The Apostles saw Moses, the lawgiver and the greatest prophet of all, Elijah speaking with the transfigured Son of God.
While this was a tremendous “mountain top experience” excitement on mountain tops was not new. Moses received the Law and the tablets of the Ten Commandments on top of Mount Sinai. These words would guide the nation of Israel and give direction to almost every civil law in history, including our own United States.
One of the greatest events in the life of Elijah happened on Mount Carmel, where the prophet stood alone before the people of Israel confronting 450 prophets of the false god, Baal. The challenge was for each to call on his god to send fire on an altar each had constructed. The hoard of false prophets called on Baal all day, with no result. When Elijah had dug a trench around his altar and doused the sacrifice with so much water that the wood was soggy and the trench filled with water, Elijah gave a simple prayer, calling on God to demonstrate his power. Boy! Did God ever come through! Such a powerful fire fell from heaven that the sacrifice, the soggy wood, the entire altar, and the water in the trench were consumed. Now! That’s what I call a “mountain top experience.”
Yet the experience of the apostles was even greater because they witnessed the transformation, not only of Jesus and his clothing, but of the course of history. Jesus demonstrated that everything God had done through the law and the prophets had confirmed that Jesus had more authority than either of these great men. He would be the Savior of the World, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, the final authority.
If there had been any question, God resolved it by speaking directly from above when he said, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Then, as quickly as they had appeared, Moses and Elijah vanished.
Today, I encourage you to let the transfigured Christ, transform your life! He is the only One with the ability to do so. He can make the guilt for your sins disappear, just like the two great men on the mountain.
He is the final authority for you, for me and for the world.
This Sunday we will continue our sermon series, Rocky Road
If God can use Peter, he can use you. This week’s message is Who’s the Boss? It will be based on Mark 9:1-10. Join us for this exciting time in God’s Word.
Humbled by His authority,