TRANSFORMATION- TRANSLATION- TRANSFIGURATION – 2nd Sunday in lent – Mark 9:2-10
And now for the second time the Father bears testimony to the son. Jesus the beloved, is acclaimed by God as ‘His voice’; “listen to him” says God. Earlier in Chapter 1:11, God proclaims Jesus as his son in whom he is ‘well pleased’. So surely, the transfiguration must be a pivotal point in the Gospel of Mark. Attached to this pericope is what is called the Elijah question (11- 13). Let us understand this pericope a bit more.
Jesus has just pronounced the first of His three passion predictions and teachings on discipleship. He will do this again in chapter 9:31 and 10:33. Peter has pronounced Jesus as the Christ but is far from understanding what the Father’s revelation to him means. Scripture tells us that Peter is lost in an illusion of an earthy kingdom of power. He therefore remonstrates with Jesus in an attempt to prevent him walking down the road of suffering. Now as it were, to reiterate his earlier question on whom men thinks Jesus is, the Master takes Peter, James and John up a high mountain.
We have no idea where this place definitely is. Scholars have opined that it may be Mount Tabor or Hermon. In the Old Testament, mountains were the usual settings for supernatural revelations and manifestations of God. In the New Testament Jesus teaches the Sermon on the Mount and dies on the cross on mount Calvary. These manifestations are called theophanies. (Theo= God, Phaneroo = make clear) It is here that the form of Jesus changes; that’s why we call it the ‘transfiguration’. Peter’s confession is now revealed in visual form. The disciples of Jesus see the master’s glorious state which so far they have been revealed only in words. This is the glorious state that Jesus will have after his death and resurrection. It is this glorious state that we will all have in heaven.
To a Jew, listening to this narrative, the reality could not be clearer. Moses and Elijah represented the fullness of the law and the prophets; Moses, to whom the law was given and Elijah who embodied the role of the prophets. The presence of Elijah also forms a link to the following verses (9: 11-13) According to the prophet Malachi (3:23-24) Elijah’s return would precede the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. Elijah had to come first before Jesus could be raised from the dead; and so here was Elijah at the transfiguration. But Jesus makes a more startling revelation in 9:13, “Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased.”
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