Missing an Answer: Mark 9:2-13

Focus Passage: Mark 9:2-13 (GW)

After six days Jesus took only Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone.

Jesus’ appearance changed in front of them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared to them and were talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good that we’re here. Let’s put up three tents—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Peter didn’t know how to respond. He and the others were terrified.)

Then a cloud overshadowed them. A voice came out of the cloud and said, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Suddenly, as they looked around, they saw no one with them but Jesus.

On their way down the mountain, Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what they had seen. They were to wait until the Son of Man had come back to life. 10 They kept in mind what he said but argued among themselves what he meant by “come back to life.” 11 So they asked him, “Don’t the experts in Moses’ Teachings say that Elijah must come first?”

12 Jesus said to them, “Elijah is coming first and will put everything in order again. But in what sense was it written that the Son of Man must suffer a lot and be treated shamefully? 13 Indeed, I can guarantee that Elijah has come. Yet, people treated him as they pleased, as Scripture says about him.”

Read Mark 9:2-13 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

During an unforgettable event known as the Transfiguration, Jesus takes the three closest disciples up onto a mountain and gives them a sneak peak at just who He really was. During this event, which terrified all three of these men, God speaks another message of approval about Jesus.

After this event was over, as Jesus and the three disciples were starting back down the mountain, Jesus tells them something that confuses them. “On their way down the mountain, Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what they had seen. They were to wait until the Son of Man had come back to life. They kept in mind what he said but argued among themselves what he meant by ‘come back to life.’” (v. 9-10)

When I read these two verses, I am a little surprised at both Jesus and these disciples. In Jesus’ case, He has just told these three men to keep a secret from the rest of the group – which isn’t all that great for building morale in a group. I suppose that when one of the other disciples asked what they did up on the mountain, they needed to either lie (a bad choice) or say what happened is a secret (another bad choice, but at least truthful.)

They could blame Jesus and say that He told them to keep it a secret until He had “come back to life”, and perhaps this is what they chose to do, but as Mark tells us, these disciples “kept in mind what he said but argued among themselves what he meant by ‘come back to life.’” (v. 10)

As I read this, I get the picture that Jesus kept trying to push these disciples to ask Him for more details, but they avoid asking and instead, they simply argue and speculate amongst themselves.

We are tempted to do the same. When something Jesus said or promised doesn’t add up, or even when something happens in our life that we cannot explain, are we quick to talk it over with others and speculate, or do we bring our questions to God in prayer. Sometimes God will answer our questions through other people, while other times He might simply ask us to wait for an answer at a later time.

On this side of heaven, there will be plenty of things that we don’t understand, but I wonder if Jesus wanted to open the disciples’ minds to what would happen on crucifixion weekend before it happened, and we see them miss actually asking the question. This makes me challenge myself with the similar idea on whether I miss learning from God because I am too quick to speculate or ask the wrong people the wrong questions.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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