Friday, November 6, 2009

11/7/09 Mark 9:9-13 Coming Down from the Mountain

(Transfiguration by Raphael)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth. Paralleling Jesus in the Gospels.

11/7/09- MARK9:9-13; (LUKE 9:36; MATTHEW 17:9-13)

9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what "rising from the dead" meant.
11 And they asked him, "Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?"
12 Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? 13 But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him."

Calvin abridged: “As they were going down” The time for making the vision known had not fully come, and the disciples may not have believed it, if Christ ahd not given a more striking proof of his glory in the resurrection. So this temporary evidence of his glory was evidence that even thought he emptied himself (Phil. 2:7) he continued to retain his whole divinity- though it was hidden under the veil of the flesh.
The Jewish teachers said there would be a first and second coming of the Messiah; In the first he would be mean and despised, but the second coming would be shortly after and showed his royal dignity. In truth the scripture speaks of a first coming as a redeemer (Zech 9:9; Isa. 53:3,4), and a second in power. But the teaching of the day corrupted this [so that one immediately followed the other]. They also made mistakes about Elijah. Elijah was supposed to accompany the Messiah (Mal. 3:1,4:5), and it seemed that they could lessen Christ’s authority by saying Elijah did not come with him. “Elijah has come”- John the Baptist resembled Elijah by restoring the fallen condition of the Church, “restore all things” This does not mean that John the Baptist restored them perfectly, but that he conveyed and handed them over to Christ who would complete the work that he began. Christ was reminding them here, that if they rejected John the servant, they will also reject Christ the Master. Our Lord mentions Scripture that predicts both rejections by wicked teachers.

Thoughts: They were coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration (traditionally Mt. Tabor, but some today say Mt. Hermon- as it is closer to where they were in Caesarea Philippi, and higher). Jesus had shown his closest disciples his glory, before they fully experienced his sufferings in his arrest, beatings, and cross. He also spoke of keeping things quiet until his glory was fully revealed in the resurrection. After the transfiguration, the way to the cross and the resurrection was very clear and short. Peter had wanted to put up shelters there to preserve the moment. He probably never wanted to come down off the mountaintop. Yet the mountaintop experience was only a temporary glory. So it is with all our mountaintop experiences. The real glorifying God comes in facing our crosses and overcoming them by the power of the resurrection, not in staying isolated or comfortable as Christ.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to glorify you on our mountaintops, but also in the valleys.

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