And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. — Mark 9:7
People “hear” God in different ways. Our pastor tells that when he was in college, a professor said the only way an encounter between God and man could be experienced was if God initiated it. A girl in that class objected, saying that she could initiate an encounter with the God of Heaven. What alarmed our pastor was that an encounter could take place at all! As he thought about it, he became afraid and wondered what would happen if God spoke to him.
Eventually he began to read the Bible. His sister had recently become a Christian, and not many weeks after the incident at college, he went to church with her. He heard people testify about what God had done for them, and the minister preached a sincere and hopeful message from the Bible.
That night, before retiring for the evening, he read the Bible as he had been doing for several nights. He tells, “After I turned out the light, God initiated an encounter with me. The Spirit of God flooded my room. Though I did not know how to pray, God gave me the right words to say. I asked Him to forgive my sins. I told Him that I would try my best to serve Him if He would help me. In that instant, God changed my life. I did not know that it was called salvation, but things were completely turned around from that time on.” He “heard” God.
In contrast to our pastor, who had little religious background and did not understand that a person could have a relationship with God, the disciples were walking with Jesus and listening to Him every day. Why, then, did God say, “Hear him”? His command indicated that He wanted them to pay attention to what Jesus said and to understand that He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.
Today, we also need to hear the Lord. Whether we are new to communicating with God or have been walking with Him for many years, we need to heed what He says. He wants to speak to our hearts through His Word, through the still, small voice of His Spirit, through a song or a sermon, through our devotional time, through His creation, through our life experiences, and many other ways. It is critical for us to recognize and honor Him as the highest authority in our lives, for He is the only way to eternal life.
Have you “heard” the Lord today?
The beginning of this chapter describes Jesus’ transfiguration on the mount. Mountains were often associated with openness or closeness to God. God’s voice clearly established Jesus as divine.
In the first verse of chapter 9, Jesus said that some of the people who stood there would “not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” This statement has been interpreted in different ways. The disciples were to see God’s power revealed in the Resurrection and at Pentecost. Because verse 2 indicates that the transfiguration took place six days after Jesus made this statement, many Bible scholars believe He was referring to that event.
Peter, James, and John are sometimes called “the inner circle” of the disciples, because they were clearly close to Jesus and at times He requested their presence when the others were not included. Jesus took these three men to a mountain near Caesarea Philippi, possibly Mount Hermon.
The word transfigured is from the Greek term metamorphoo, a word which “signifies an outward manifestation of an inward change.” This change was a revelation of Jesus’ divine nature and of the glory He had with God before Creation. It was also a foreshadowing of the glory Jesus will have when He comes back again. The Lord’s clothing became “shining, exceeding white,” whiter than any cleaner could make them.
Moses and Elijah (Elias) appeared with Jesus. Moses had received the Law from God, and Elijah represented the prophets. Both the Law and the prophets pointed toward the Messiah and the ultimate sacrifice of His life. Luke revealed that at this time Moses and Elijah spoke with Jesus of His forthcoming death. Consider the strength this discussion and God’s words must have given Jesus. Moses and Elijah substantiated Jesus’ deity, His mission, His teachings, His death, and His resurrection.
Peter impulsively suggested that three tabernacles be built on that spot. However, God the Father made His presence known with an enveloping cloud and commanded, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” Those words elevated Jesus above Moses and Elijah in both power and authority, confirming that Jesus was indeed the Son of God.
As Jesus and the three disciples descended from the mountain, Jesus said they were not to speak of this experience until He had risen from the dead. The disciples struggled with the concept that Jesus would suffer and die. They were not completely able to understand what they had seen and heard on the mountain until after they had watched Jesus experience the Cross and then looked into the empty tomb.
In their question about Elijah, the disciples referred to Malachi 4:5-6, the very last verses of the Old Testament, which said Elijah would come before Christ. Jesus agreed to the truth of that prophecy, but indicated that it had been fulfilled by John the Baptist (see Matthew 17:13).
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
V. The instructions of the Son of God
D. Instructions concerning His kingdom (9:1-13)
1. The setting (9:1-2)
2. The revelation of His kingdom (9:3-4)
3. Peter’s reply (9:5-6)
4. The Father’s confirmation (9:7-8)
5. The forerunner (9:9-13)
Each of us has the opportunity to “hear” God and communicate with Him. Take advantage of it!