The Proof of Christ’s Person and Purpose, part 1 (Mark 9:1-13)

Sunday, October 27th, 2013
Sermon Series: Mark

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The Proof of Christ’s Person and Purpose: The Transfiguration part 1

The Gospel of Mark 9:1 to 4–part 1

 

What in your life has created a wow experience–a speechless awe, or a mind-blowing overwhelmedness? For me, a few have been . . .

seeing the color of the sky on certain Arizona sunrises

entering into Yosemite Valley through the Wawona Tunnel

seeing the fish, coral and giant clams of the Great Barrier Reef

standing next to the Taj Mahal in India

or riding a horse at full gallop around the Great Pyramids of Egypt

or walking on the same road Jesus walked when He went to the cross–the Roman Road from Jericho to Jerusalem

or getting ordained for ministry by men of God I respect greatly

or holding Jean’s hand, looking into her eyes when she said, “I do”

or witnessing the birth of our boys–especially Daniel, he popped out better

All those events caused a deep wonder, a wow, a speechless awe–they impacted me in such a way as to never forget.

As you open your Bibles to Mark chapter 9, and follow along with the outline in your bulletin, you are about to witness such an event in the lives of three of the Lords disciples–the Transfiguration. Seeing what they are about to witness on probably Mount Hermon leaves them in awe, wowed, in wonder and almost speechless. The veil of Christ’s humanness is pulled aside, and they see Him in all of His glory, then witness Him talking to His friends from eternity, Moses and Elijah. It absolutely blows them away, proving His person and passion. It verifies Jesus is the Christ, who must go to the cross, and is worthy to be followed at any cost.

We’ve seen the person, the passion, the price and today the proof. More than an experience, this event confirms everything the Lord has been teaching His men–and it is verification from God that Christ’s passion to go to the cross is God’s predetermined will.

If you’re hopelessly engulfed with the concerns of the here and now, today will free you to focus on the wonders of eternity.

If you’re struggling with some needed change, today will prove to you Jesus is able if He wills to do anything He chooses.

If Heaven has not sounded all that awesome to you, today will cause you to want to go there more than ever.

If you are battling with boredom in your walk with Christ, today will fire you up with what God can do and wants to do through you.

If you’re still deciding whether you want to pay the price to follow Christ, today will make you feel foolish for not surrendering your life to Christ.

In honor of the Word of God, stand with me as we read the Transfiguration in Mark 9:1 to 4 for today, “And Jesus was saying to them, ‘Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.’ 2 Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; 3 and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. 4 Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.”

Let’s pray. Cause us to worship You with great awe and wonder today. Move us to want to be with you face to face more than ever. Transform us so we will follow you from a heart of obedience. Help us to see You more clearly, and love You more deeply. And move us to share with others about exactly who You really are—all for Your glory. Amen.

The Lord was not getting through to His men. The hardness of men’s hearts can be seen in the fact that even though they lived with Christ, listened to all His teaching, witnessed His miracles confirmed His sinless life. They were not getting who Christ really was–God in a bod.

At the beginning of chapter 8, they had just witnessed the feeding of the 4,000 where Jesus created a meal out of nothing–yet they were blind to the fact that Jesus was their Creator. The Lord even did a two-part miracle healing of a blind man to prove they were not seeing Him clearly. But He finally asks them, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter gets it right in verse 29 by saying, “You are the Christ.”

Jesus then reveals He is going to have to suffer, die and rise from the dead, but being proud after His confession of Jesus being the Christ, Peter tries to stop Jesus from His death-wish. But the Lord tells him in verse 33, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

The Lord finally describes for them the cost of following Him, that every true believer, when they’ve been transformed by Christ will be willing to, verse 34b, “deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” So the Lord has now told them of His person, His passion, His price, and now He gives them His proof. Christ, the cross and the cost are all now confirmed with the promise of a coming preview. But the disciples are still confused–Jesus is going to die, but then He will return in glory. What does that mean?

Imagine the confusion of the disciples, after the shocking revelation of the Son of Man’s coming death in verse 31. Then in verse 38, that the Messiah would come in glory, describing His second coming. See it at the end of verse 38, “when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” He’s going to die, but then come in glory–what’s that mean? We know now, but this was a brain scramble for the Lord’s men. So what does the Lord do?

The Lord starts this great event with a promise found in Mark 9 verse 1, “And Jesus was saying to them, ‘Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.’”

#1  The promise of a coming PREVIEW, proving Christ’s person  Verse 1

The Lord is about to give some of His men a sneak peak–a preview of the Son of Man coming in glory, spoken of in verse 38. It’s the Transfiguration, as Calvin said, “a temporary exhibition of His glory.” God enables His disciples to taste in part what could not be fully comprehended. It is not His rule on earth, but a sneak peek of His coming rule on earth.

Our lives as Christ followers will not always be so demanding and difficult. There’ll be hostility, suffering, persecution, even death for some when following Christ–but there’s an awesome day coming. Cross-bearing, self-denial and rejection will follow you now, but I’ll come again in power, and you will live with me in glory.

The Transfiguration confirms the Lord’s deity, that Jesus is God the Son, to encourage our hearts. He indeed is the Messiah of the world, and God in the flesh. In spite of how it may appear right now and in a few months, when I am arrested, tortured and killed, Jesus is the Son of God sent by the Father to be the Messiah of the world.

While still in Caesarea Philippi, in the far north of Israel, verse 1 tells us Jesus repeatedly told them, “And Jesus was saying to them [what?], ‘Truly I say to you.’” Truly is the Greek word “Amen”, meaning I’m repeatedly giving you an authoritative solemn declaration. Pay attention, guys–you are scared and confused, you don’t want me to die, but want me to rule in glory. Well, be encouraged, cause I am gonna die, rise from the dead, and I will come again to rule in all glory–and some of you right here are going to see it before you die.

Verse 1, “There are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death.” This only pertains to you twelve who are standing in front of Christ. “Will not taste death” is a Hebrew idiom for physical death. Death is a bitter poison which all of us, sooner or later, must taste. The statistics are alarming–100% of you are going to die. But Jesus emphatically says, not all of you will drink that poison until you witness this great preview–what is it? Verse 1, ”until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

Scholars say verse 1 is best translated this way–“Some of you standing here shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in His royal majesty.” The term “kingdom”, basileia, can be rendered not only as the kingdom itself, but the kingliness of the king in regal splendor and his royal majesty. Our Lord says there are some of you standing here who will not die until you see the Son of Man coming in His royal majesty–His regal splendor.

Now others say this preview of the Kingdom of God is actually describing the Day of Pentecost, the spread of Christianity, the Second Coming, Christ’s death and resurrection, or the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Yet every time this statement is made in the gospels, each time “until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power” occurs, it is followed by the Transfiguration. The context and this description require that Jesus is telling us the Transfiguration is coming up next–the context demands it. Jesus is giving them the proof of His person and the need for His passion.

The Lord is motivating us to pay the price of following Him. Jesus is the King, God incarnate, the one who will rule Earth. Follow Him–stick with the King–He’s the One to submit to. Our Lord promises there’ll be a preview, proving He’s the Christ who must go to the cross and is worthy for us to pay any cost. There will be some of those who are standing here who will see this. Who are the ones who get to see the preview?

#2  The particular DISCIPLES who witnessed this event  Verse 2a

Verse 2, “Six days later, Jesus took with Him, Peter and James and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves.” Each of the first three gospels record this preview, confirming it is a literal, physical, actual, historical event–this really happened. Mark is being precise when he starts with six days later, informing us six days after Peter’s confession of Jesus being the Christ, who would go the cross, and require His followers to pay a similar cost.

All of this will now six days later be confirmed. The Greek phrase, “Jesus took with Him” informs us the Lord actually set these men apart from the rest for a specific purpose. Why these three? Why Peter, James and John? I came up with four reasons.

1  The three were closest to Christ. They were with Jesus the most and understood Him the best. They frequently accompanied Him when He went away for times of intense fellowship with His heavenly Father. It was fitting those who would most intimately share His suffering would also most intimately witness His glory.

2  The three were necessary to give witness. Deuteronomy 19:15 says in Jewish Law, any testimony was to be confirmed by two or three witnesses. The three were official witnesses to His glory. And later on, in John’s gospel and Peter’s epistle, they reported it.

3  The three were the leaders. These three were leaders among the twelve and later assumed positions of leadership in the Early Church. Galatians 2:9, “Recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.” This event changed the lives of the three–they became the pillars. God always molds those He uses through the right experiences.

4  Twelve were too many. If all twelve disciples had seen the Transfiguration, or if all of them plus the crowds that were with them had seen Jesus transfigured, the entire region could have quickly been in turmoil. The people would’ve run down the hillside into surrounding towns, babbling uncontrollably about what they’d seen. The accounts would have varied greatly and been embellished with each retelling, resulting in Jesus being pressured to become the military deliverer the people wanted from their Messiah.

Mark continues in verse 2, “and brought them up on a high mountain.” Luke gives further details, telling us they “went up . . . to pray.” So the evening began with prayer and continued that way. Again, we don’t know what they prayed, but they were praying, together or separately, verbally or silently, but they prayed.

Some tradition says the mountain was Mount Tabor, which has to be wrong since Mount Tabor is only a large hill. Verse 2 describes this as a high mountain. We know they were in Caesarea Philippi, which probably is at the foot of Mount Hermon, a 9,000 foot tall, high, snow-covered mountain which is the source of the River Jordan, which fills the Sea of Galilee and runs through Israel, and ends up terminating in the Dead Sea.

The “high” of high mountain actually means exalted, highest, lofty mountain. In the Bible, high mountains are often places of revelation, where God reveals His Word, His character, Himself to His people. They’re probably high up on the southern spur of Mount Hermon. And Mark tells us they were all alone by themselves, “and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves.” Only Mark includes “by themselves,” stressing that the Transfiguration occurred when no other human being was around.

We do know they became weary, as Luke 9:32 mentions they were “very sleepy”, and evidently dozed off. And Luke’s gospel suggests this event took place at night in verse 37. After the long climb up, the thinner atmosphere, the late hour, and the quiet location–all of it seemed to make sleep irresistible. So here they are, late afternoon/evening, Jesus has led his inner circle up to the higher elevations, most likely of Mt. Hermon, “to pray”.

The weary three fall asleep. Now the gospels don’t tell us who woke up first, whether Peter or one of the “Sons of Thunder.” But whoever it was, when he opened his eyes, he was instantly wide awake—whoa! And must have shook the others in order to see.

#3  The GLORIOUS Transfiguration of Christ on Earth  Verse 2b

The last phrase of verse 2 says, “And He was transfigured before them.” The Greek verb, “He was transfigured,” states this event is a historical fact, and the verb being passive tells us it was God the Father who orchestrated this event. What was it like? The Transfiguration was awesome–a jaw-dropping, wow event . . . a mind-blowing, overwhelming, never to forget moment in time.

Jesus was “transfigured”–literally, Jesus was “metamorphosed.” It means to become changed in outward appearance. The Greek word transfigured comes from two Greek words—meta meaning to change, and morphao meaning to form. The idea is to change into another form, like a caterpillar into a butterfly. It’s the act of giving outward expression of one’s inner character–that outward expression coming from and being truly representative of that inner character. Literally, transfigured means His inner person came out and changed His outward expression. Out from within, the in-most being of God the Son–the dazzling glory of the essence of Deity, which Christ possesses co-eternally with God the Father and God the Spirit was let out to shine.

Hey, I know some of you’ve been working out, but even with a new haircut and more definition, you’re not transfigured. Metamorphao means a change in form, meaning Jesus crossed the line between earthly and heavenly. When you cross from one side of the continent to the other side, it is transcontinental. When you cross from one side of the Atlantic to the other, it is called transatlantic. When your bodily form is both earthly and heavenly, you are transfigured.

Jesus was 100% man and 100% God without confusion in one person. But while ministering on Earth, His glory–His divine manifestation was veiled by His humanity. In other words, His deity was hidden. That’s why Jesus prayed at the end of His earthly ministry, in John 17:5, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

While on earth, His glory was hidden or veiled the entire time, except for once–just one time did we see His glorified nature. Just once did we see the appearance of deity, and that is right now at this moment on Mount Hermon, probably. For a brief moment, the veil of His humanity was lifted, and His true essence was allowed to shine through. The glory which was always in the depths of His being rose to the surface for this one moment in His earthly life.

Another way to describe it would be this–in the Transfiguration, Jesus slipped back into eternity to His pre-human glory. So in a real way, what you are witnessing here is a glance back to what Christ was before He was born a baby on Christmas. It’s a peek at who He is now as our advocate and Lord, and it’s a look forward into His future glory as the returning King. My precious family, you will not see the humble God-man as He was in the gospels–you’ll only know the Lord of glory and power. Today you see the Christ you will love, fellowship and worship.

Metamorphosed means His form was radically changed. His glory was unveiled. His deity and God-ness was outwardly shown. His glory is the summation and totality of His awesome character. His glory manifested means His beautiful excellences were on display. His glory shown means His infinite perfections were revealed. He was a giant, supernatural light bulb–He flipped on deity. His appearance was transfigured. What was it like?

#4  The DESCRIPTION of Christ’s unveiled glory  Verse 3

Verse 3, “and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.” God peeled back Christ’s humanity for a moment and His glory shone through in an awesome bright whiteness. As Christ displayed His pre-incarnate and post-ascension glory, it was a lot like the vision of Christ John recorded in Revelation 1:14 to 15, “His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.”

In His first coming, His human flesh veiled who He really was. But when the Father pulled back the veil from His Son, the brilliant, blazing glory of God the Son flashed through. What a spectacle. Jesus here is framed by a thousand summer stars, yet His clothing began to glow white, brighter than the sun.

I was meeting with Shawn Farrell at BJ’s, talking ministry, and I was facing the door around 5:30 pm, right before TC on Tuesday, and each time the door of the restaurant opened it was like being stabbed in the face. The sun was shining through the open door directly into my face. The subdued lighting made things worse. Every time the door opened, I was staring into the sun from a dark room and physically reacted in pain with each opening. Shawn laughed, but I was blinded.

But Christ’s transformation was worse than staring into the sun. Luke 9:29 adds, Christ was as “bright as a flash of lightning.” Not only that, Matthew 17:2 records that “His face shone like the sun.” Overhead were constellations of stars that night, probably on Mt Hermon, but Jesus was shining like a star Himself–the midnight Son. And this metamorphosis of Jesus even affected His clothing. Look at verse 3, “and His garments became radiant.” Radiant means to sparkle, shine brightly, glitter or glisten–and it’s used to describe the reflection of bright light off of polished metal surfaces, or the flash of the bright light from lightning itself.

Verse 3 adds, “and exceedingly white.” White is bright or white–and exceedingly means beyond white, beyond bright. Dazzling white is a symbol of His glory and holiness and purity, in a glorified, heavenly state. Then verse 3 again adds this homey comment–like a homemaker, “as no launderer on earth can whiten them.” Only Mark talks about the launderer–it’s almost as if Mark had a bad experience at the cleaners, or Mark knew something about making wool, or dying wool white, since a launderer is actually a fuller, describing the job of one who cleaned and dyed woolen clothes. Mark is saying the translucent whiteness of His garments was beyond the ability of any earthly fuller to produce.

What’s happening here can’t happen with bleach you buy from Target. This is not a borrowed brightness. This is not a reflection of light. This is light that emanates from Christ. It’s Christ Himself who’s bright, white and gleaming–His face shone like the sun. The effect appeared like lightning, and His garments became as white as light. Just like the description of God in Daniel 7:9, “The Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire.”

Do you remember your kids watching fireworks? Can you picture their faces expressing awe and wonder as the light reflected off their smooth skin? This is what Jesus sees as He looks at His three disciples. John and Peter describe it later in John 1:14, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father.” And 2 Peter 1:16, “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

This is a glorious affirmation of the Lord’s deity–He is God! Yes, He’s the Christ, the Messiah. And He is worthy of following at any cost–and all of it is confirmed right here and right now, especially with the arrival of . . .

#5  The Eternal PALS, who affirm Christ’s person  Verse 4a

This is wild–in the midst of Christ transforming into a million lumens light bulb, with His glory and eternity shining through, some men from Heaven arrive. In verse 4a, “Elijah appeared to them, along with Moses”–Elijah and Moses arrive! Elijah appeared–this Greek word “appeared” is only here in Mark, and is used of the sudden appearance of a heavenly being like an angel. The same word is actually used to describe the risen Christ later.

Appeared to them” describes the three disciples seeing the actual presence of the heavenly visitors in a clear manner. This word is used to make certain we know it’s not a subjective experience. It’s not a dream because they were sleepy, but Moses and Elijah are actually, physically, objectively present. The verb “appeared” belongs exclusively to Elijah—“Elijah appeared,” strongly pointing to the importance of Elijah’s appearance. Because of prophecies Malachi made, the Jews expected to see Elijah before the coming of the Messiah–they discuss this later. And the phrase “along with Moses” lets us know both these men are vital to this dramatic moment.

Why these two–Moses and Elijah? Both these men had previously conversed with God on mountaintops–Moses on Mount Sinai (in Exodus 31), and Elijah on Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19). Both men had been shown God’s glory. Both also had famous departures from this earth–Moses died on Mount Nebo, and God buried him in a grave known only to Himself, and Elijah was taken up in a chariot of fire. Moses was the great lawgiver, and Elijah was the great prophet. Moses was the founder of Israel’s religious economy, and Elijah was the restorer of it.

But the main reason? Together they were the ultimate summary of the Old Testament. Elijah representing the prophets and Moses the giver of the Law make this moment the Old Testament affirmation of our Lord’s true identity. Their presence testified that Jesus is God the Son–He is the promised Messiah, and He is the only one who can bring salvation. I love the reminder of John 5:46, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.”

I am also so encouraged by the Lord’s ministry to two disciples after His resurrection. Luke 24:26 and 27, “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory? 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” But what is even more remarkable is what the Lord and these two heavenly visitors talked about.

#6  The DIALOGUE proving the importance of the Cross  Verse 4b

And they were talking with Jesus.” Here is Jesus, lit up brighter than a star, talking with His old friends Elijah and Moses. Mark tells us they were talking for a long time–not merely a moment, but an extended conversation. But from Luke we learn what they were talking about. Dr. Luke tells us in his parallel account in 9:31, “They spoke about His departure, which He was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.”

They were talking about the cross and the Lord’s death. They were not simply standing there, passively reflecting on the Lord’s glory, but were talking with Him as friend to Friend about His departure, His imminent sacrifice, which was His supreme objective, and the work of His earthly ministry. Luke’s use of the word “departure” is the Greek word from where we get the English word “exodus”. Just as the exodus out of Egypt under Moses led God’s people out of the bondage of slavery, the exodus of Jesus out of the grave would lead believers out of the bondage of sin.

The chief representatives of the Law and the Prophets were carrying on a conversation with Jesus about His coming death. Instead of trying to talk Jesus out of His death wish a few verses earlier, Peter should have been extolling its importance. Jesus is more than a good man whose example shows other men the way to God. Jesus Himself was God. And His sacrificial death for sin can be a substitute for those who put their trust in Him.

No one can come to God by following Jesus example–why? Because no one can be a perfect sacrifice for sin offered to God. Each of us and all of us are just too sinful–even Grandma. Christ was perfect, and as God He could satisfy the Father. And Christ was also a man–and as man could suffer the punishment of God’s wrath for sin as our substitute. What a theological conversation that must have been!

It probably blew by the three disciples, who still had so much to learn. But the bottom line was this–Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah in 8:29, and the passion of Christ to go to the Cross in 8:33, and the cost of following Christ in 8:34 to 38 is all graphically confirmed by the Transfiguration with these great representatives of the Old Testament. There is no doubt. Jesus is the Christ who must go to the cross, making Him worthy to be followed at any cost.

1  Christ exists outside of time, so He knows about your tomorrow

Men who were dead were very much alive, conversing with Jesus. Moses who had been dead over fourteen hundred years, and Elijah who had been dead about nine hundred years–yet here they are alive and intimate with Christ. Christ knew them while they lived on Earth, and Christ knew them after their death. And Christ now fellowships with them years later—1,400 years later Christ is speaking to them as His friends!

Christ is eternal, and so were these men, John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Micah 5:2, “Bethlehem, …One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega … who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” You should not be worried about tomorrow, you should be in awe and wonder about who Christ is.

Christ exists outside of time–therefore, He exists both in the past, present and future at the same moment. He is in control, is all wise and as His child–He loves you. Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Stop worrying about tomorrow and start trusting in the God who is already there.

2  Don’t put your confidence in EXPERIENCES, but in God’s Word

As Peter describes the Transfiguration years later in 2 Peter 1, he describes himself in verse 16 and 18 as “eyewitnesses of His majesty…18 we were with Him on the holy mountain.” Yet even though this experience was true, Peter doesn’t put His confidence even in a true experience, but only in God’s Word. Verse 19, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place.”

Don’t trust your intuition, your feelings, impressions, dreams or experiences, friends–trust in God’s Word alone. The Transfiguration really happened–it is true, but Peter says God’s Word is more certain, more sure than a true experience. Yet today there are those who say, “I’ll trust His Spirit.” Listen friends, the Spirit of truth leads you by God’s truth.

I hear, “God led us to move, or buy this car, or date this guy”–really? How do you know it wasn’t what you secretly wanted, or how do you know it wasn’t that pepperoni pizza and Dr. Pepper that moved you to want to move there? Or your heart that is wicked? Trust God’s Word, trust God’s people in community, trust waiting and prayer–do not trust your own heart or feelings.

3  Christ is INTIMATE with His children, now and forever

Think about the implications of the visit from Moses and Elijah? Christ knows them personally, and they behave as friends cause they are. I am certain they’re reverent with Christ, but here they are without any fear, experiencing an awesome intimate familiarity. The disciples instantly recognize them with absolute certainty. In the eternal state, it seems we know each other internally. It’s like eternal glory shines through us, and we know each other from the inside out. We remain individuals, but deeply know each other.

Heaven is so much more than playing harps and singing songs. Eternal life is all about knowing Christ. John 17:3, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” The Transfiguration raises our hope of Heaven and intimacy with Christ and intimacy with each other forever.

4  Christ’s GLORY is consistent with Christ’s SUFFERING

They were talking to Jesus about His death coming in Jerusalem. God wanted the three disciples to know that His glory was consistent with His suffering. For these Jews, the Roman cross and God’s Kingdom would have been polar-opposite ideas. The Transfiguration forces us to embrace the truth that glory will follow Christ’s suffering, that the cross was not an interruption of God’s plan, but the cross and glory coalesce perfectly.

Christ must first suffer, die and rise again–then one day He’ll return in glory, a glory like what we see probably on Mount Hermon. So at the Lord’s first coming, there will be suffering and death. And at the Lord’s Second Coming there’ll be glory and triumph. Jesus just told us He’ll come again in glory–remember Mark 8:38b–“when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Jesus is coming again, but first He had to die for His children, then rise.

5  Christ’s CROSS was absolutely NECESSARY

Think about what happened–the key Old Testament characters came together to talk about the coming death of Christ in Jerusalem. How much more convincing do you need that the Messiah must die in order to provide salvation and forgiveness? No one could bring more certainty that the crucifixion was the plan of God than Moses and Elijah. The cross had to happen–the Old Testament prophesies it, Moses and Elijah discuss it, and Jesus accomplishes it.

Peter just tried to silence Jesus from talking about the cross, and the Lord just silenced Peter for trying to stop Him—why? Because the cross had to happen–it was necessary! It’s because you’re in trouble with God—big trouble. Every member of Adam’s race, every human being, is sinful. We’ve all sinned, and even one sin separates us from God forever. Going to church, praying a prayer, making a decision, living good and avoiding evil will not rescue you from God’s wrath for your sin.

We need a perfect substitute, a perfect man who could die as our substitute—and only God Himself could bear God’s wrath for sin. And Jesus Christ is He–He is the God-man who had to die so His children might live. You must turn from your sin and give Him your life by faith. And when He saves you, He will transform you from the inside out and make you a new person who will want to die for Him, live for Him, and follow Him the rest of your life, until He takes you home with Him to eternal glory. Will you today?

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
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