Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Mark 9:2-32

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Transfigured- Mark 9:2

Very seldom did Mark use specific time connections in his gospel. The phrase six days later is a literary way to connect the promise in verse one to the subsequent transfiguration narrative. When Jesus was transfigured there was a temporary display of the glory of the kingdom of God that will come in its fullness in the new heavens and the new earth. (This is the same verb used to describe the transfiguration in Matt. 17:2. Its only other uses in the New Testament are 2 Cor.3:18 and Rom. 12:2.)During his earthly ministry Jesus' eternal glory was largely hidden. In the transfiguration that glory was partially revealed and in his resurrection it would be revealed to an even greater degree.

Glory and Struggle - Mark 9:2-29

In this age the experience of glory is not yet unmixed. For now, both glory and struggle will be the continuing experience of Jesus' followers.

Bleacher - Mark 9:3

A bleacher was a person whose profession was to clean and whiten cloth. This is the only occurrence of this word in the New Testament. Jesus clothing became radiantly brilliant. The brilliant light of God's presence is often spoken of in the Bible. See Ps. 4:6; 104:2; Hab. 3:4; Isa. 60:19, 20; 1 Tim. 6:16. In the transfiguration the veil was temporarily pulled back and Jesus' deity was revealed. The transfiguration was Jesus' guarantee to his disciples of the glory that they one day would share with him.

Moses and Elijah - Mark 9:4

Moses represented the Law and Elijah represented the Prophets. Together with Jesus they demonstrate the continuation and fulfillment of God's redeeming work of the Old Testament in the ministry of Jesus.

Feast of Tabernacles - Mark 9:5

A part of the glory of the Day of the Lord described in Zech. 14:1, 16 is the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Greek word translated shelters is also the word for tabernacles. Peter thought they were seeing the final coming of God's kingdom and that Jesus had been wrong about his coming death.

Terrified - Mark 9:6

The disciples were terrified by the display of Jesus' divine glory. The scene is reminiscent of Isa. 6:1-5. Again Mark pointed out that the natural human reaction to the unveiled glory of God is awe, astonishment, and fear.

The divine voice - Mark 9:7

The divine voice was directed to the disciples. (Note the difference from the baptismal voice in Matt. 3:17 that was addressed to Jesus.) The transfiguration was not for Jesus' benefit. It was for the disciples' benefit. Notice also the words of 9:2 before them, and 9:4 appeared to them. The transfiguration just like the promise of 9:1 was intended to assure those who would suffer for Jesus, that they would also be glorified with him.

Tell no one - Mark 9:9

The command to tell no one was intended here as elsewhere in the gospel to avoid stirring up the expectation that Jesus would be a political/military messiah (1:34, 43-45; 3:12; 4:10,11; 7:36; 8:26, 30; 9:30, 31).

Rising from the dead - Mark 9:10

The disciples did not understand Jesus' reference to his rising from the dead. They probably misunderstood because most Jews expected a general resurrection at the end of the age, not the resurrection of a single individual in the middle of history.

Elijah on the mountain - Mark 9:11-13

The appearance of Elijah on the mountain with Jesus prompted the disciples' question about him. Jesus responded that the expectation of Elijah's return was correct (Mal. 4:5), but that it had already been fulfilled by John the Baptist. The prophecy was fulfilled in a figurative way rather than in a literal way. (See Lk. 1:17.) Jesus also made it clear that the suffering death of John the Baptist did not disqualify him as the fulfillment of the Elijah prophecy because even the Son o9f Man would suffer.

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