At the end of Mark chapter eight Jesus mentioned the fact that He would return to the earth one day in the glory of the Father and with the holy angels. He continued on that subject at the start of Mark chapter nine. The Bible says in 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.” One of the things that we are reminded of in this statement made by Jesus is that the Kingdom of God will come to earth in a way that has never been known before because it will come with power. We live in the age of grace, but the age will not last forever. There will come a time when God will say, “Enough is enough. It is time to end the age and to change all that needs to be changed.” Most of the problems of the world can only be fixed by God, and He will fix them because the kingdom of God will come with power.
Some of the things that Jesus said were both provocative and enigmatic. This may be one of those statements. We know that all of the apostles have long since died and gone on to their reward, and that the kingdom of God has not yet come with power. Yet how is it that Jesus could say, “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?” The answer to that question is probably found in the next few verses that tell us about the transfiguration of Jesus. It also emphasizes to us how important of an event was the transfiguration. One of the great promises of the gospel is the fact that we shall all be changed, if we believe in Jesus. The limitations of this life will be taken away. The limitations of age, the debilitations of disease, and the cruelty of death will all be taken away once this body is changed into an immortal body. First Corinthians 15:50 says, “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”
Concerning the transfiguration of Jesus, the Bible says in Mark 9:2-4, “And after six days Jesus takes with him Peter, and James, and John, and leads them up into a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them. And his clothing became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.” The transfiguration of Jesus was a precursor of things to come. When Jesus came to the earth through the womb of a young devout woman named Mary, he took upon Himself a body similar to yours and mine: a body that got tired and hungry and that would eventually grow old and die.
Of the sufferings that can happen to human beings on this earth, sometimes the sufferings that can come to us in our bodies such as disease or injury can be among the most difficult to bear. There are people who must make long stays in hospitals, endure many operations, suffer the side effects of prescription drugs, and spend countless hours convalescing or attempting to rehabilitate themselves. But whether we are all suffering physical afflictions now or not, one thing is sure: we are all getting older and we are all heading towards our own appointment with the grim reaper, with the grave. O wretched people that we are. Who shall deliver us from the body of this death? Jesus shall deliver us. This mortal shall put on immortality. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye we shall all be changed. When Jesus came to the earth, He humbled Himself and He took on a body similar to our earthly body. But when He takes us to heaven, He will elevate us and give us a glorious body like unto His glorious body. We got a glimpse of what that body will be like at the transfiguration when Jesus was high up on the mountain “and his clothing became shining, exceeding white as snow.” In other words, it was a body that was not of this world. It was different. The glory of heaven did shine into it and through it. It’s a wonderful thing to look forward to: to be in that body that will never grow old or suffer pain or even get tired. We will be given a body of eternal youth to enjoy the land of eternal day. We will be given a body like unto His glorious body.
When the body of Jesus was transfigured high up on the mountain, there appeared with Him Elijah and Moses. One thing that we learn from this is the fact that this is one of the places in the Bible that make it clear that reincarnation does not take place. Individuals retain their own unique identity beyond the grave. Moses had been dead over a thousand years and Elijah had been dead for hundreds of years, and yet they still existed with the same identity, such that they appeared and spoke to Jesus.
As great as Moses and Elijah were as two of the greatest prophets of God, there still was a vast difference between Jesus and these prophets. Everyone should understand that there is a difference between Jesus and the prophets. In order to demonstrate this fact we are told the following in Mark 9:5-8, “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 Elijah. For he knew not what to say; for they were very afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only.”
What Peter had said about building three tabernacles implied that there was some kind of equality between Jesus and Moses and Elijah. But misunderstanding the true divine nature of Jesus, and misunderstanding that Jesus alone should have the preeminence, and misunderstanding that Jesus should always be given all the honor and all the glory and all the praise: was such a great error that the Father Himself spoke from heaven in order to set the record straight and to make sure that Peter learned the lesson. The Father spoke from heaven and said, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” And then they saw no one but Jesus.
The Bible says in Mark 9:9-13, “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. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elijah must first come? And he answered and told them, Elijah verily comes first, and restores all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. But I say unto you that Elijah is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they wanted, as it is written of him.” The transfiguration had just taken place, but Jesus was heading towards His death on the cross. He knew that His death would be a great tragedy to the disciples, and He wanted to prepare them. Jesus spoke of the resurrection. He wanted to remind them that there is a good purpose to those that love God to even the greatest of tragedies, and the final result will be good. Don’t give up, and don’t lose faith. Good will come out of it. Yes, Jesus died the horrible death of the cross, and we are called to bear our crosses. But Jesus rose from the dead. There is a light shining out there and you are getting closer to that light. One day the light of eternity will shine upon you, and all your troubles will be forever past. Yes, death awaits us just like it did Jesus; but never forget there is a resurrection from the dead. That’s what Jesus was telling the disciples.
Even though the disciples did not understand what Jesus was talking about when He mentioned the resurrection from the dead, they did know that he was talking about the Messiah. And so they asked Him about a certain prophecy that the scribes themselves taught: that of the forerunner, someone who would come before the Christ to announce the coming of the Lord. The scribes said that Elijah must first come, and Jesus said they were right and that Elijah had come in the person of John the Baptist to announce the coming of the Lord. Everyone has a purpose, and the primary purpose of John the Baptist was to fulfill the prophecy made concerning the forerunner. John did not preach to bring attention to himself. He preached to bring attention to Jesus. But Jesus also said, “How it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.” It’s like Jesus was saying, “Yes, the Pharisees and scribes are correct concerning the forerunner of the Messiah; but there is something else about the Messiah that they also need to know.” The Son of man “must suffer many things, and be set at nought.” This great suffering was prophesied about the Messiah, but the scribes and Pharisees did not understand it and such lack of understanding led to their demise and their spiritual poverty. If you do not understand the cross of Jesus and why He went there to die, and what the cross has to do with sin and salvation and eternity, then you do not understand the most important accomplishment of the Messiah especially in regards to the human race.
The Bible says in Mark 8:14-19, “And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. And he asked the scribes, What question you with them? And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, who has a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spoke to your disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answered him and said, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him unto me.”
Why could not the disciples cast the demon out of this young man? Lack of faith is the reason. The disciples had already spent a good deal of time with Jesus. They had been taught. They had heard His wonderful words. They had seen His power. They had every reason to know what Jesus could have done if they had only put their faith and trust in Him. They probably tried to do it in their own power and in their own strength, but they could not. How often have we done the same thing? Jesus knew what would happen when He was not in their presence. He knew this challenge would come their way, just as He knows about the challenges that come our way. Through confidence in Him, we shall see the victory. “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.”
Mark 9:20-23 says, “And they brought him unto him, and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long ago is it since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And often it has cast him into the fire, and into the waters to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” Notice the purpose of the evil spirit that was in this young man. The purpose of the evil one was “to destroy” the young man. That’s not surprising. It always has been and always will be the purpose of Satan and his cohorts to destroy God’s beautiful creation. Life is precious and should always be preserved and prolonged whenever and wherever possible.
This father did one thing that was a very wise thing and is something that every parent should do. He brought his son to Jesus. If any parent has not done what they could to bring their child to Jesus, then they have failed at the most critical thing in parenting. Your children will only live on the earth for a few years, but they must spend eternity somewhere. How wonderful it would be if your children’s spiritual condition was taken care of! This father who came to Jesus made a request that was certain to be granted. He said to Jesus, “have compassion on us, and help us.” Jesus always has compassion. He is the lover of our souls. And Jesus will always help when requested. He answers prayer. Prayer changes things.
Notice carefully what Jesus said to this father about the way to approach the spiritual needs of his son. Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” You must ask like this father did, and you must also believe. It will not do a lot of good if you ask without believing. Ask in faith, believing. It’s no wonder that the father reacted the way that he did when he was told that in addition to asking, he also had to believe. Mark 9:24 says, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” Maybe some of us should also shed tears, seeking the faith that Jesus was talking about. “The just shall live by faith.” “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.”
Copyright; 2002 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved