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December 13, 2020 12:01 am
When the disciples came near to despair after the prediction of Christ's death, He brought them to a remote mountain and was transfigured before them. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his series in the book of Mark by contemplating that moment when the disciples basked in Jesus' unveiled glory.
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Today on Renewing Your Mind. The incarnate logo's the second person of the Trinity has his glory hidden in the cloak of Jesus humanity.
Now all of a sudden, before the eyes of the disciples they see the bursting forth of the full deity of Christ women alone with his three most trusted disciples.
Jesus revealed his glory is known as the Transfiguration and it's one of the most important events in the life of Jesus Dr. RC Sproul Texas to the gospel of Mark today to remind us that the shining face of Jesus points us ahead to the hope we have as believers hope of resurrection and life continue this morning with our study of the gospel according to St. Mark, and I will be reading from chapter 9 verses two through 12. Since we considered verse one of this text last week, Mark 9 to 12 and, alas, the congregation now to stand for the reading of the word now after six dates, Jesus took Peter, James and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves and he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became shining exceedingly white, like snow, such as no laundry or on earth can whiten them and Elijah appeared to them with Moses and they were talking with Jesus and then Peter answered and said to Jesus, Rabbi, it is good for us to be here and let us make three tabernacles one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah because he didn't know what to say, for they were greatly afraid and a cloud came and overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, this is my beloved son hear him. Suddenly when they had looked around they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves. Now they came down from the mountain, he commanded them that they should tell no one. The things they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead, so they kept this word to themselves questioning what the rising from the dead meant and they asked him, saying wide of the scribes say that Elijah must come first, and he answered and told them indeed. Elijah is coming first and restores all things, and how it is written concerning the Son of Man that he must suffer many things and be treated with contempt but I say to you that Elijah has also come and they did to him whatever they wished, as it is written of him for our benefit. The Gospels give to us. This narrative of the glorious manifestation of Christ in the Transfiguration. May the spirit take this revealed word to our hearts. Please be seated.
Several years ago I wrote a book that was kind of an unusual book.
It was titled the glory of Christ that I wrote it for this reason that in classical theology. We note that the progress of Jesus life in general is a progress that moves again in the main from the humiliation to exultation. It begins with the New Testament narrative of his birth in the circumstances of poverty and moves toward his rejection by his own people that reaches its nadir in his betrayal and crucifixion on the cross. The first movement towards exultation comes with the circumstances of his burial and then reaches its peak with the resurrection.
And finally, then the ascension but the point is this that that general progress from humiliation to exultation is not absolute because throughout the life of Jesus. There are vignettes there are tiny little moments that even in the midst of his humiliation there burst forth glory at the time of his birth. The circumstances of poverty were contrasted by the glory manifested by God to the shepherds in the surrounding fields, but there is no point in the life of Jesus prior to the resurrection where his glory shines forth so magnificent as it does here at Mount Herman presumably in his Transfiguration. Let's note the setting for Mark tells us that it was after six dates that Jesus took the Inner Cir., Peter James and John up to a high mountain apart from the crowd and its significant that this timing of this event took place after six days know what happened prior to that six days. Remember, we've seen the confession of Peter of the Messiah ship of Jesus and then only a little while later, Jesus explained to his disciples that he must suffer and die. And Peter was aghast at such a suggestion.
So now when the begin to turn from the north of Galilee and begin to move towards Jerusalem, where the cross and death await Jesus, the disciples move in an attitude of ominous grim foreboding. All I can think about these terrible words that Jesus had spoken to them right after the Caesarea Philippi confession without he was moving towards death and so this foreboding cloud of doom was hovering over them for six days and in the midst of the edge of despair.
Jesus takes Peter James and John and goes up to a high mountain apart from the people and the Scriptures tell us he was transfigured before them. The word in the Greek is a form of the verb metamorphic yelled, from which we get the English word metamorphosis you learned that word metamorphosis and in school. When you learned about the change. The dramatic change that takes place between a caterpillar when it becomes a butterfly. It undergoes a change of form in the Greek word for formers more folks and a metamorphosis is a Transfiguration, the prefix trans means across we go transcontinental. We go from one part of the lands of the other and if we go transatlantic.
We go across to Europe. That prefix trans means over or across and what happens here is that the person of Jesus moves in terms of what is visible to the eyes of his disciples. There is a trance formation. A movement from one perspective to another were for all his earthly life. The incarnate logo's the second person of the Trinity has his glory hidden and veiled in the cloak of Jesus humanity and now all of a sudden before the eyes of the disciples they see the bursting forth of the full deity of Christ. Let's notice the details that Mark gives us his close became shining exceedingly white, like snow, such as no longer on earth can whiten them and so when they describe the appearance of Jesus.
They talk about the change in his face and the change in his close were we look at the rest of the synoptic reports of this event in the life of Jesus. They tell us that the face of Jesus is shown with the brilliance and the intensity of the sun.
Nowhere else in Scripture that we read of someone's face shining with a blinding intensity. Obviously, when we look back in the Old Testament and the life of Moses we remember when Moses was on the mountain with God and he begged God for the ultimate blessed beatific vision what he says I got God please show me your glory and God denied its. He said Moses remember no one can see my face and live well tell you what I'll do, I'll carve a niche in the rock and I'll place you in the safety of the rock, and I will pass by and let you get an instantaneous glimpse of my backward parts literally in the Hebrew the hindquarters of Yahweh, but my face shall not be seen until the Lord passed by and when Moses got this momentary glimpse of the backward glance of the glory of God that that experience was so intense, the glory of God. Even in the backward motion was so radiant, so rough all jump than when Moses gazed on this his own face began to shine like the Sunday. Remember that.
But, beloved, when Moses face shone with such intensity, it was the shining of the face of a creature who'd been in the presence of God and whose face was now reflecting the radiance of God. That is to say the light in the face of Moses was a reflected light. Moses face was not the source of the light but rather the light of God was rebounding from the face of the creature. But that's not what happens here in the Mount of Transfiguration. This intense brightness like the sun the transforms Jesus, so that even his garments become whiter than snow, wider than any Fuller or any laundry can possibly make indicates not a reflection but the source of the light that the disciples are now saying is coming from with in Christ himself. Again, it's not a refracted.
It's not a reflected glory. It's an internal inherent glory that is no bursting forth before their very eyes throughout the Gospels the gospel writers refer back to this when they said and we beheld his glory as the only begotten son of God. Remember how the author of Hebrews describes Christ who is the express image of God and the brightness of his glory. Jesus doesn't just reflect the brightness of the glory of God. He is the brightness of the glory of God and throughout Scripture we see that manifestation of the Shekinah that brilliant flaming cloud that attended the presence of God, that bright light that blinded Saul on the road to Damascus, out of which light even then Jesus spoke to Saul saying Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting the word glory as I've told you before means weightiness or heaviness and it is assigned eternally to the being of God himself, and out of the depths of Christ's divine nature now comes this flood of light which is perfectly white. Back when I preached on this text in the page school. I asked one of the children in the front row a question. I'll try it now with my buddies Ben and Nick yeah here's the question what color is a lemon. What yellow we got twin answers and they are in full agreement.
Now, here's the philosophical question is 11 really yellow what color is the lemon one the lights go out.
If you're in a room with no light whatsoever. What color is the lemon now do you see anything yellow no philosophers argue about this and they say that color is not primary it secondary. It is not something that inheres you know in a substance but it is something that is added to the substance by the presence of light, where does color come from it comes from the light from the sun were all of the hues of the rainbow are found in the pure light of the sun, but you had all of those colors together in the purity of light and you get absolute whiteness. I don't have time to develop it here this morning, but I do have to tell you as far as I'm concerned, the most profound chapter in English literature in American literature ever written by a human pen without divine inspiration is found in Melville's Moby Dick.
In the chapter entitled the whiteness of the whale was a reason why that whale was white in the literary creativity of Melville and if you want to catch a glimpse into the significance of whiteness in theology and biblical concept.
I really urge you to go home don't have to read the whole book just go get that chapter and read the whiteness of the whale, for Jesus manifests his deity in the purity of whiteness that contains no spot no wrinkle, no blemish, the overwhelming manifestation of his deity and then we read that Elijah appeared to them with Moses and they were talking with Jesus. Can you imagine the disciples are watching this display of light.
This breakthrough glory and all of a sudden appears before them. Elijah and Moses are watching Jesus in a conversation is held together with Moses and Elijah Worley talking about Luke tells us what they're talking about. But what is waiting for Jesus in Jerusalem.
Jesus didn't have to say to Elijah get behind me Satan, Jesus, and have to say to Moses, get behind me Satan because both Elijah who represents the prophets and Moses, who represents the law clearly understood the vocation of the Messiah. They knew Jesus had to die and they knew why Jesus had to die and they come now, the second person of the Trinity with their comfort with their encouragement, reminding him of his destiny that they had predicted centuries before. Elijah, who had been carried up to heaven in a chariot not to return yet into Palestine now sets foot in the holy land. Moses who was denied entrance into the promised land, waiting for centuries and now he comes not in a a venture that is horizontal where he crosses over the border. It's vertical comes from heaven, and his feet touch the promised land. Finally, as he is there to speak to the Savior than what happens. Peter spoke now. Hey Rabbi this is fantastic. Boy is it good for us to be here. I love it. With this mountaintop experience. I'm not even gonna think about Jerusalem. Let's campout your let's build the tabernacle one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah. I don't need one for me. I'm happy to lay my head on a rock and just bask in this glory forever be good for us to stay hidden what to say. Mark tells us for they were greatly afraid to think they're afraid now and we read in verse seven, the cloud came and overshadowed them here the language. Again, the cloud of the presence of God.
The cloud of the weightiness of God comes and creates a shroud around the disciples and Jesus and Moses and Elijah covers them so they can't see past the rim of this cloud, and overshadowed when you hear that word in Scripture I can think of two times that you hear that concept in a very important setting.
We go back to the origin of the earth where the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And then the spirit of God hovered or brooded over the waters and then God said, let there be light and the lights come on that word. There was overshadowing the abyss and then when the angel Gabriel comes to the maiden and appears to her and said blessed are you, and says to Mary that she will bear a son, whose name will be a manual and she says, how can that be for I know not a man, and the angel said the spirit of the Lord will overshadow you. So that that which is born unto you will be the child of the most high God.
Now that power of God comes with the cloud as the cloud settles on the mountain and overshadows these people who are hidden in the midst of the cloud and now they hear a voice. The voice thunders from heaven. This is my beloved son three times God is heard to speak audibly in the New Testament, and every time is to acknowledge his only begotten son.
This is my beloved son and not listen to what he says here him know if God were to speak aloud this morning from the heavens noted, say say to us. Listen to my son in whom I am well and we have the words of Jesus, revealed and preserved for us on the pages of Scripture. Listening to the son of God requires us to study God's word to really immerse ourselves in it.
Glad you joined us for Renewing Your Mind on the Sunday each week were making our way. Verse by verse through the gospel of Mark and we would like to send you Dr. Sproles commentary on this gospel. It's a hardbound volume with more than 400 pages, all with RC's signature easy to understand commentary. You can go online to request it with your gift of any amount to litigator ministries our web address is Renewing Your Mind.Ward. You can listen to Renewing Your Mind, and many others like it are resources on our free mobile app or producing several new exciting podcasts. Plus, you'll find helpful articles and video clips. Just look for linear in your app store. Next Sunday we will continue our study from the gospel of Mark will learn about Jesus command over demonic spirits as he heals a possessed boy. I hope you make plans to join us for Renewing Your Mind