The Gospel of Mark

Mark - Lesson 9B

Chapter 9:9-13

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  • At this critical point in our study, I believe it best to review this continual unveiling of Christ’s identity and mission in a more explicit manner.

    • This begins in Mark 8:27 where we witnessed in Caesarea Philippi, near the Cave of Pan, where Peter made this great confession.

      • It was through the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit that Peter states that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

      • And this spoke directly to the Identity of Jesus’ Person.

    • It was after that confession that Jesus strictly charged the disciples to not say a word regarding this Revelation.

      • From there, after Jesus’ identity was revealed, He began to explain in detail, to His disciples, what He came to do.

      • He told them that the Son of Man had to suffer and die, yet on the third day be raised up.

    • It wasn’t too much later after hearing this difficult news that Peter spoke prematurely by rebuking Jesus.

      • He tells Jesus, (in my words): “This will not happen on my watch Jesus. This plan will not go down this way.”

      • So, what may have seemed to be very honorable and courageous, was actually Peter stepping on the Father’s plan and Christ’s missional work.

    • So in an effort to refocus Peter and the disciples on the work of the Kingdom Program, they would need to get on the bandwagon and have a better understanding of the plan.

      • This is where we witnessed Jesus move into the conversation regarding Discipleship and the cost of following Him.

    • This pursuit of following Jesus fully was not one that would necessarily render immediate reward right now that was tangible, but rather it was a pursuit for eternal things.

      • In other words, don’t hold onto the temporary things that life offers here and now – these things are merely temporal.

      • Rather, pursue living well for Messiah now and have your eyes fixated on eternal things for that is where the true reward is.

    • Jesus is desiring for His disciples and anyone that follows after Him, to gain an eternal perspective despite the short and temporal pleasures this life provides.

      • Remember, what the people were anticipating with Messiah’s arrival was a glorious Kingdom to come right then and there.

      • They were anticipating Jesus to take over and restore all things militantly and with full divine power.

      • But because of the religious leader’s rejection of Messiah, the Kingdom would come at a later time.

      • Therefore, those who would follow Christ needed to live in this current world with an eternal perspective in anticipation for the Kingdom to come.

    • So what do you do when you need to get this selected group of men on the same page with the eternal redemptive plan in mind?

      • Well, you give them a glimpse of what is to come!

      • And lo and behold this glimpse would be given to only 3 men on a high mountain where they would witness Messiah transform before their eyes.

    • Jesus unveils Himself in a way that Peter, James, and John witnessed His Shekinah Glory as to witness “a preview of coming attractions”.

      • In other words, Jesus wanted them to see, for a moment, now what they would have fully in a future day as they come to embrace the difficult mission ahead.

    • It’s like when your parents told you as a child, do your chores well now while I am away and upon my return, if it has been done well, a reward will come.

      • So Jesus shows these men His Glory so that they could see that death and suffering now is not the means to an end, but rather through it comes the Glory that awaits.

      • And what a healthy reminder for us as believers in Christ, right now in the here and now, that our present suffering doesn’t compare to the Glory that is to come.

    • Therefore, we must put on the mind of Christ and trust in His planning and timing rather than our own means and plans.

      • For it is Christ alone that we should listen to and obey which means that as we abide in and obey the scriptures themselves, we are abiding in Christ.

      • Friends, this is all the more reason why we should take seriously the study of the word and abiding in its truth.

    • So where we find ourselves at this point tonight is after this glorious transfiguration moment of Jesus on the High mountain where He is standing between Moses and Elijah.

      • As a quick note, it was at this moment where we discovered that Moses and Elijah were discussing with Jesus what He would accomplish missionally.

      • And it was in that conversation where Jesus once again mentions the leading towards His death in being the Passover lamb.

      • Jesus was going to be approaching death soon.

    • And this reality is what Peter and the other disciples are struggling with understanding. They are trying to piece together:

      • “What is the purpose of Messiah dying and how does this all connect?”

    • Tonight, we will discover the following things:

      • 1. How one figure in particular speaks to the comings of Messiah.

      • 2. How each coming speaks to God’s redemptive plan.

      • 3. How the believer is to respond as we await the coming of the Kingdom.

    • If I were to put a tag on tonight’s text it would simply be: “In the Meantime”

      • With that being said, I invite you to open your bibles and meet me in Mark 9:9-13.

Mark 9:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, He gave them orders not to relate to anyone what they had seen, until the Son of Man rose from the dead. 
Mark 9:10 They seized upon that statement, discussing with one another what rising from the dead meant. 
Mark 9:11 They asked Him, saying, “Why is it that the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 
Mark 9:12 And He said to them, “Elijah does first come and restore all things. And yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 
Mark 9:13 But I say to you that Elijah has indeed come, and they did to him whatever they wished, just as it is written of him.”
  • Let’s Pray.

  • I was helping my son with his math homework yesterday and I could tell he was getting frustrated.

    • He started off on a good note, but as he continued, you could tell that energy began to wane.

      • As I see his demeanor from across the kitchen, I tell him that the goal for doing well grade-wise all year long is a trip to Orlando, Florida.

        • We took them there before as they had experienced for themselves the fun and excitement of Universal Studios.

    • However the glorious excitement that once was, now seemed to fade off in the background because what was before him seemed a bit daunting.

      • As he hears me mention the Orlando trip experience, he burst out in tears because he remembered the trip and wants it, but is trying to figure out if he had it in him to finish well.

    • I let him cry and give him a moment to compose himself and afterwards, I come back and say – “Alright son: Do we push through or do we give up?”

      • He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said “We push through!"

    • Friends, this will be what the disciples will have to find themselves doing in the meantime from the moment that Christ would leave them till the moment they see Him again.

      • And as believers today, we too find ourselves in the same boat!

      • Tonight, we will witness what must be done in the meantime between the now and the not yet future.

      • Pick me up at verses 9-10.

Mark 9:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, He gave them orders not to relate to anyone what they had seen, until the Son of Man rose from the dead. 
Mark 9:10 They seized upon that statement, discussing with one another what rising from the dead meant.
  • It is after the witnessing of such a marvelous and glorious moment of Christ having been transfigured before Peter, James, and John, that they now descend the high mountain.

    • With such amazing sights and revelation revealed, one would assume that this information would be shared with the group.

      • However, Jesus informs the 3 disciples that they are not to tell what they witnessed until after a particular event occurs.

      • And that event is Christ rising from the dead.

    • There are two questions that arise from this descending moment from the mountain that some may have considered prior.

      • And those questions are the following:

        • 1. Why those 3 disciples? (What about them was so special or unique?)

        • 2. Why keep what was witnessed in silence until this appointed moment in time?

    • To the first question there needed to be some witnesses to this dynamic moment in which Jesus would show off His full Glory as “a preview of coming attractions”.

      • It happened to be that the ones selected are the ones who were key players in leading and helping establish the New Testament Church.

      • Understand, nothing was unique about these three men and on top of that Peter spoke haphazardly and oftentimes at the wrong moments.

      • So what was the methodology behind Jesus’ choice?

    • Friends, this points us to the reality that Jesus was in fact making these men into what He said He would – “fishers of men”.

      • They brought no accolades or pristine qualities to the table. They were simply being equipped by the Lord Jesus moment by moment.

      • And isn’t that true of every believer today: That the more we follow Jesus and willingly submit unto His ways, He provides opportunities of growth and development in Christlikeness and responsibility.

      • You may have heard this statement before that: God qualifies the called, He doesn’t call the qualified.

      • And in this same way, He takes these three men and entrusts them with the Kingdom Program necessities.

    • And what we find from this revelation shared with these men is that they did not disclose what they saw until after Jesus’ resurrection.

      • Because it would be at that moment for those men that it would all begin to make sense.

      • And now they would have the Christ-like confidence to share with the others what they had seen for themselves.

    • It’s then in verse 10 that we see, unlike the other times in which Jesus told men and women not to disclose what was shown but they did anyway, that the disciples obeyed His instructions.

      • We know this based upon the Greek word used for “seized” in verse 10.

      • The word “seized” in Greek is krateo (Kra-teo) which means to retain possession. In other words, hold dear with what has been shared.

    • What becomes quite intriguing at this point is that with all this revelation that has been made known, these men are still struggling with the reality of Messiah’s need to suffer.

      • How could such glorious splendor and power be led to die and suffer?

      • What was a very straightforward reality for Jesus was a confusing calculus equation for the disciples.

    • Verse 10 tells us that the 3 disciples were discussing amongst themselves “what rising from the dead meant.”

      • “We know that you are Messiah without a doubt, but how does death equate to victory?”.

      • It seems as if what the disciples have been taught about Messiah and what they are hearing from the very mouth of Messiah are two completely different things.

      • So they seek to hear and listen to what Jesus has to say regarding this eschatological matter.

      • Check out what they ask Him. Look at verse 11.

Mark 9:11 They asked Him, saying, “Why is it that the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
  • The disciples are seeking to reconcile in their minds why Messiah must die after having witnessed Elijah on the high mountain alongside Jesus.

    • This confusion has come about over a period of time because of the teachings of that day from the scribes.

      • As a matter of fact, if you were to read this verse in a Jewish translation it reads “Why do the Torah-teachers say that Elijah must come first?”

    • So it seems as if the disciples are confused as to the timing of Messiah’s glorious arrival in the Kingdom according to what they have been taught.

      • The scribes taught, according to Malachi 4:5-6 that there would be an appearing of Elijah and what His role would be.

      • To better understand Elijah’s appearing and role, turn with me to Malachi 4:1-6.

Malachi 4:1“For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” 
Malachi 4:2 “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. 
Malachi 4:3 You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the Lord of hosts.
Malachi 4:4 “Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.
Malachi 4:5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 
Malachi 4:6 He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”
  • So these were the last words written in the Hebrew Scriptures where Malachi prepares Israel for God’s next plan.

    • The text tells us that there is a day of coming judgement in which will be released upon the earth and all who do evil.

    • However, for those who have trusted in the Lord (the sun of righteousness) they will experience the entrance of a new age.

    • It becomes clear that this references that of the coming Kingdom, a place of perfect joy, health, justice, mercy and the like.

    • But in order for Israel to attain this coming Kingdom, they must “Remember the Law of Moses”

      • They must hold fast to the teachings in which God had established through His servant at that time (Moses).

      • And along with holding fast to the teachings of the Law of Moses, they were to wait in anticipation for Elijah in these “last days”.

    • Again, with the disciples just having witnessed the sight of Elijah in this vision, this teaching from the scribes, as one can imagine, is resonating in their minds.

      • Which prompts why they asked the question regarding Elijah in the first place.

    • In other words, we affirm and see that you are Messiah, but where is Elijah? We have always been taught that He precedes you.

      • It seems as if there is a greater question of timing that is happening here.

      • So Jesus responds to their question of this timetable, if you will, in verses 12 and 13, but in a very coded way. Check out the text.

Mark 9:12 And He said to them, “Elijah does first come and restore all things. And yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 
Mark 9:13 But I say to you that Elijah has indeed come, and they did to him whatever they wished, just as it is written of him.”
  • Jesus begins His explanation of this matter by addressing what their eschatological anticipation is.

    • That indeed Elijah does come first and restores all things – the teachers of the Law got this part correct.

      • However, we must keep in mind that up to this point, Jesus is having to consistently remind the people of the written word of God and not oral tradition.

      • We also witnessed in last week’s teaching that the Father spoke to Peter, James, and John that they are to “Listen to Jesus”.

      • For what Jesus says is what must be tightly held to.

    • The question arises: “What was the importance of the audible voice of God being made known on the high mountain?”

      • It would be to clarify for these men that to gain a full understanding of God’s redemptive plan, they must listen to the teaching of Christ and not the teaching of men, or even their own presuppositions.

      • We have been seeing how Jesus’ identity as Messiah was being overlooked by most because they were anticipating a militant conqueror and not a lowly humble man.

    • So, Jesus uses this moment to explain to the 3 that what they have been taught regarding these end times matters are indeed correct.

      • However, Jesus now pushes the envelope a bit further by adding this rhetorical question to bring about clarity of the timeline.

        • “Your statement about Elijah coming first is true, but also the scriptures speak to the Son of Man suffering many things and being treated with contempt”

    • In other words, you can’t have one without the other. If we are to hold to scripture as truth, we must take with it all that is there.

      • We can’t just pick and choose what we want to acknowledge about scripture and do away with the rest.

      • How do we reconcile Psalm 16:10, Psalm 22, Psalm 34:20, Isaiah 52, and Isaiah 53 – to name a few.

    • So, where this end time picture seems to be a bit foggy for these men, Jesus uses this moment to tighten up their understanding of this timeline.

      • Because, for these men, death and resurrection were nowhere in their equation of the Kingdom and its full Glory.

      • However, God’s redemptive plan required that before there could be this coming Glory for those who believe to receive it, there first must be suffering.

    • The disciples were struggling with how present suffering and dying for Messiah would bring about restoration for Israel.

      • This was the conundrum, and might I suggest this is potentially why Jesus told them not to speak of what they saw on the high mountain.

      • For if the disciples were to share what they saw in their lack of understanding about death and resurrection, the message of the Gospel would have been garbled.

      • And therefore the theology of believers would have been skewed because a cross-less Christ is a voided Gospel.

    • Friends, the reality is, in order for man to be made right with God and in right fellowship with Him, there would need to be one who would stand in our place.

      • We must recognize that God’s requirement for fellowship is perfect Holiness.

      • And the reality is no one, apart from Christ, could meet that standard nor could keep the Law perfectly.

      • It now begins to become clear all the more why Moses and Elijah are conversing with Christ regarding the Passover.

    • So this is why when Jesus sees the condition of the house of Israel and how far they were from keeping the Law, He addresses the false shepherd (teachers of that day).

      • So as Israel continued being led incorrectly by the teachers of that day, the entire house of Israel would continue to be led astray.

      • And this would be why the Lord would send Himself, through the Person of His Son to represent not just Israel, but humanity in General by coming to die for our sins.

    • So Jesus, in verse 13 explains to the 3 that “…Elijah, has indeed come and that they did to him whatever they wished, just as it is written of him”

      • Herein lies the cryptic messaging, if you will.

    • So Jesus tells them that Elijah has come in accomplishing his mission however they have not seen a literal, physical Elijah.

      • So how is Jesus able to justify this means of prophetic ministry here?

    • Simply put, Jesus refers to a similar ministry that would be accomplished in Malachi as well, in which we covered in the beginning of our Mark study.

      • Turn with me really quickly to Malachi 3:1-3.

Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. 
Malachi 3:2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 
Malachi 3:3 He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness. 
  • This non-named figure in Malachi is simply indicated as “My Messenger” whereas in Malachi 4, the Lord provides a name – Elijah.

    • Now remember in the beginning of our study, we mentioned that after 400 years of silence there was one in whom spoke regarding the coming of Messiah.

    • And this pronouncement was one that garnered the attention of many (Like Elijah would in his coming) and this person was none other than John the Baptist.

    • And as we read in Matthew 17:13 it becomes confirmed that Jesus’ explanation of Elijah having come speaks again to a prophetic role that John the Baptist fulfilled for Jesus’ first coming.

    • John even mentioned that his work was in direct connection with that of Isaiah’s prophecy found in Isaiah 40:3. (John 1:23). Check out the text.

Isaiah 40:3 A voice is calling,
“Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
  • Therefore, John the Baptist couldn’t be the literal Elijah nor Elijah reincarnated as some liberal scholars have suggested.

    • As a matter of fact, John the Baptist himself denies that he is Elijah appeared again.

    • What Jesus was explaining to the disciples was that John was a type of Elijah or example of Elijah who has come serving in and with a similar purpose.

      • To show you this in scripture for yourself, turn to Luke 1:17 to understand this timetable in which Jesus is explaining to the 3 disciples.

      • We will pick up where the angel Gabriel is speaking to John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias.

Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. 
Luke 1:14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 
Luke 1:15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 
Luke 1:16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 
Luke 1:17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
  • And indeed John’s arrival on the scene sparked many crowds and followers, but most importantly many responded positively to his message of Repentance regarding the Kingdom and preparing to receive their Messiah.

    • And the moment in which Jesus arrived, John announced Him to those who were ready and willing to receive Jesus.

    • Now the question becomes: “How does John’s mission differ from Elijah’s mission?”

      • In one sense, Elijah’s ministry will be one of National response! John’s ministry did not impact the entire nation (religious leaders were the majority)

      • Elijah’s pronouncement will cause the leaders of that day to turn their hearts back to the teaching of the scripture as that of a child (child-like faith).

    • This will be a moment where Israel (nationally) will respond positively to the truth of the Law versus their own interpretation.

      • And as a result, Israel as a nation will return in large number to true worship in a temple in Jerusalem.

      • Therefore, preparing the people for the end of this age and the dawning of the Kingdom.

    • So where John the Baptist and His suffering in preparing the people came at a cost, so would Messiah’s first coming come with a cost for the people to be made right with God. (1 Kings 19)

      • (Where Jezebel failed to kill Elijah in 1 Kings 19, John the Baptist is killed by another “Jezebel” – Herodias) “and they did to him whatever they wished”

    • And in the same way, it would hold true for Elijah in his literal coming as the forerunner for Christ’ second coming.

      • Only this time Judgement follows and the opportunity for Israel to see their King rightly is presented, once and for all.

    • So what we see here regarding this timeline is that before Judgement, first must come grace and salvation.

      • In other words, there can be no glory and Kingdom unless, first, the King makes a way for the people to enter in.

      • And the moment that we try to assume that we have a better plan is the moment that we, like Peter, find ourselves with our foot in our mouths.

    • The disciples would need to understand the plan before they could attain the glorious prize in the end (The Kingdom of God)

      • What difficulty this must have been for these men to grasp?

      • They have seen the goodness of the Glory of God in His fulness only to come to the realization that this reality will come at a later time.

    • So, in the meantime, until this moment arrives, as the Father spoke from the cloud on the high mountain, these men are to “Listen to Jesus”.

      • Here’s the question tonight: “As you are waiting for Messiah to return, what will He find you doing?”

      • Will you be serving as you await in great anticipation?

      • How will you be loving your neighbors in the passing of time or will you simply be sitting on your blessed assurance for Christ to return.

    • Jesus in the end will be looking to see how faithful His bride has been.

      • Will she have been faithful to the proclamation of the Gospel, or will she have compromised on some things?

      • The reality is if we get so caught up on what is coming, we will never be focused on the work that is right in front of us.

    • As you serve well now and suffer well in this world now, in the end, you will be rewarded well in the Kingdom.

      • I leave you with the very words of the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5:1-4, 6-11:

1 Peter 5:1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 
1 Peter 5:2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 
1 Peter 5:3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 
1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.


1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 
1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 
1 Peter 5:9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 
1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 
1 Peter 5:11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
    • Let’s Pray.