Mark 9:1-9

And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified.

Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. Mark 9:1-9

I don’t “time” these readings each morning. I don’t even wake up any more feeling obligated to think aloud about the Bible in writing daily devotions. Some days I do. Some days I don’t. So I find it very timely that these verses are the ones that popped up on a Wednesday morning as we slowly walk through Mark.

Wednesday is hump day. The middle of the week. Like a little chronological mountaintop experience as we move through the calendars of our lives. This story, the story of the transfiguration, is like Wednesday in the story of Jesus.

Some scholars suggest that this is a misplaced “post-resurrection” story. Whatever. I personally think that Mark put this exactly where he thought it should go. And even if that wasn’t a conscious decision, I believe the Holy Spirit thought so too.

Immediately after Jesus’ radical call to discipleship and surrender, and immediately before the clamoring crowds wanted another piece of him, Jesus takes his disciples to the top of a mountain. The view was probably beautiful. It usually is. But what they saw wasn’t just once familiar land off in the distance, they saw the history of God’s presence among people. God mediated through God’s mediators – Moses and Elijah – and now God’s only son as well.

Peter wants to stay. But there is no staying. There is only full speed ahead or beating a hasty retreat. It is a tipping point. They were terrified – not an unknown feeling when we reach the edge of our capabilities and understanding. The unknown is always scary along with interesting.

Then thunders, or whispers, the voice: “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”

And they do. The story continues. Trembling, they make their way down the mountain. Trembling, we too keep the faith. We keep following. We keep listening. This reminds me of something else Peter has to say in another gospel: “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Let us pray: Lord, you give us glimpses of the beauty of your way in the world, often when we can only see the struggle. Still our fears. Speak your encouraging words into our spirits when we falter. You have the words of eternal life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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