Concealed Glory Revealed
Text: Mark 9: 1-12
Proposition: The revealing of the concealed glory of Christ was a strategic release of truth preparing the church by connecting the cross to the kingdom.
Introduction: I remember a time when we were visiting some folks and their young son and daughter came over to our car. Barney leaned in on the door and began looking down into the slot where the rolled down window was. He looked, then peered then suddenly was got very excited and exclaimed to his younger sister, “Abbey, thems gears in there!” Context occurs when things or ideas become connected together, in fact that’s what the word ‘context’ means, ‘to weave together’. That’s what Jesus did in so much of what He taught and did, He wove things together. The context for us this morning begins when Jesus was with His disciples at Caesarea Philippi. There were two things that the disciples were just beginning to put into context: Who Jesus is; What has Jesus come to do. They had come to believe that Jesus was more than just an extraordinary man, He was God. Now they were hearing about the cross and the resurrection and were trying to see if Jesus meant this as a metaphor or if it would literally happen. He had told them rather bluntly that as God, He must be rejected and must die and then after three days He must be raised from the dead. Context for them was yet to be found. Look at Mark 9:1-12.
I. In Order To Follow Jesus The Power Of Unbelief Needs To Be Overruled.
The disciples had seen Jesus power over wind and waves and sickness and disease and demons. Yet when Jesus told them that He must be rejected and must die the power of death blocked their belief. That’s why in Mark 8 Peter tried to correct Jesus. The unbelief that the Messiah, that God, could or would die was greater than Peter’s faith. Do you remember how chapter 8 ended, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” To be ashamed of Jesus and His words is what unbelief looks like. In order to follow Jesus that unbelief needs to be overruled by a faith in the power and glory of Jesus Christ. Do you remember how the Lord’s Prayer ends in Matthew 6:13, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen.” The essence of that is a call to faith that overrules all the unbelief that temptation would seek to lead you into. Seeing and believing in Christ’s kingdom, His power and His glory overrules unbelief. So look at Mark 9:1, “And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.” This verse comes at the same moment as that closing verse of Mark 8, they are still in Caesarea Philippi when Jesus makes this astounding prophecy. It is entirely likely that at this point Jesus doesn’t even know what is about to happen other than that some of those right in front of Him are about to have context brought to them, a context that will overrule their unbelief.
II. The Transfiguration, Concealed Glory Revealed.
It was six days later, possibly still near Caesarea Philippi, when Jesus takes just three of His disciples up a mountain trail. Peter, James and John are going with Jesus to spend time in prayer (Lk. 9:28) and this being now almost a week later perhaps the previous comments of Jesus had faded from their memory, the comments about some not dying until they have seen the kingdom of God present with power. We know where this story is going and we need to ask ourselves, for whose benefit was the transfiguration of Christ? Was it just for the disciples to overrule their unbelief, was it for Jesus who in just seven months would face the cross, was it for you and I who now read this from a distance or was it for an even greater purpose? Look at what happens in verse 3, “His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.” This is not a light shining down on Jesus but rather the light of Who He is as God shining out. Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, said, "For Christ to be glorious was almost a less matter than for him to restrain or hide his glory. It is forever his glory that He concealed His glory; and that, though He was rich, for our sakes He became poor." In other words it was more of a miracle for Christ to hide His glory than it was for the revealing of it in the transfiguration. Then, in the absolute brilliance of this moment, the three disciples saw two men standing and talking with Jesus. The power of the revealed glory of Christ was terrifying in its presence and the wonder of these two others amplified it yet further. We don’t know when or how the disciples discovered that these two were Moses and Elijah. Perhaps it was something they heard as Moses and Elijah talked with Jesus about His coming death in Jerusalem. We don’t know why it was Moses and Elijah other than what Scripture says about each. One died and his spirit was present in heaven. One didn’t experience death but was caught up to God into heaven. One was the writer of the Law, Moses. The other was one of the greatest Prophets that ever lived, did the two together represent all that the Law and the Prophets had said about the Christ? That they were separated in history by over 900 years and now were side by side tells us that we will speak to others from long ago in glory, we will know and be known. But why they were there is more important than these speculations for they were there to comfort and encourage Christ prior to the cross. They were there at the Father’s command, they were there to speak with Jesus about His death (Lk 9:31). The glory of Christ was the revealed presence of God in Him, it’s radiance of light came from the absolute sinlessness of Who He is. It was this sinless Christ that came to die for our sin, who came to take our place that we might stand in His name. The stamp of authenticity, the stamp of context if you will, was in what happened next. A cloud overshadowed them and a great fear fell upon them. Then a voice came out of the cloud with this omnipotent affirmation. In the Matthew 17:5 passage it records, “…This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” The highest purpose of the Transfiguration of Christ was that it brought the Father pleasure to have the glory of the Son revealed. God loves it when you get it. When you see what He sees, when His context begins to become your context it brings great pleasure to the Father.
III. Metamorphoo, Transfigured, Changed in Appearance, Transformed.
You can see here the root for the word metamorphosis, like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. For Jesus the transformation was like pulling back a curtain to show Who He always has been, it was concealed glory revealed. No longer did Jesus death seem a barrier of unbelief to the disciples, now a new phrase was added to their context. Look at verses 9, 10, “Now as they came down from the mountain, He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept this word to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant.” If the disciples thought that the transfiguration of Jesus was a change in Jesus appearance, the resurrection would take this to another height.
The resurrection is the demonstration of the glorified body of Jesus. The resurrection is the demonstration of the death of death (John Owen).
The resurrection is the prototype of the glory of Christ applied, as He is, one day are we.
The resurrection is the declaration that the sinless glory of Christ has met and paid for and satisfied the debt of man’s sin before a holy God.
The resurrection of Jesus is what Jesus had in view when He said on the cross, ‘It is finished.’ The Way, the Truth and the Life are now made evident.
The transaction of redemption is complete, now faith in that completed work of Christ for you and I sits on the table in front of us. It is our choice whether we will sign the contract of sins forgiveness or whether we will reach into our pockets for some scrap to try to take the place of God’s great peace offering. Pocket lint or the Son of God, this is where Metamorphoo begins or dies. That Jesus can save you has already been established by the resurrection. Your faith in Christ is the signature to that contract. He will surely save you eternally and even experientially. Jesus will bring Metamorphoo to your life. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18