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A HIGH MOUNTAIN FOR A HARD WORD

MARK: THE SERVANT WHO WAS OUR SAVIOR  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  47:15
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And after six days Jesus took with him Peter, and James, and John his brother, and led them up into an high mountain apart by themselves to pray: and he was transfigured before them.
And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his face did shine as the sun. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; and glistering as the light; so as no bleach on earth can white them.
and, behold, there appeared unto them two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and they were talking with Jesus, and spoke of his exodus which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and if you will, let us make here three tabernacles; one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. For he knew not what to say; for they were sore afraid.
While he yet thus spoke, behold, there came a bright cloud and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And behold, there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him.
And when the voice was past, and when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And suddenly, when they had lifted up their eyes [and] looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.
And as they came down from the mountain Jesus charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, the vision, till the Son of man were risen again from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias verily comes first, and restores all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.
But I say unto you, that Elias is indeed come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they wanted, as it is written of him. Likewise shall also the that Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist.
(Mark 9:2–6, 8–10, 12–13; Matthew 17:1–13; Luke 9:28–36)
Today’ text comes on the heels of some hard words from Jesus.
Mark 8:34–38 ESV
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Jesus is saying that only cross-bearers are Christ-followers. Bearing an instrument of death is the only way to identity oneself with the giver of life. True life, eternal life, is not found in gaining but losing. When Jesus calls a man, he bids him come and die.
Jesus words are hard because they are the words of faith {Forsaking All I Trust Him}. Jesus is not some religious zealot calling for martyrdom {though some will be martyred} but a Savior who says “I am going to take up my cross and die for your sins {salvation} now you must take up your cross and die to sin {sanctification}.”
Jesus knows our weaknesses. He knows that we will try to obey His command on our own. He knows we will attempt to live the life of faith in the flesh. Jesus’ hard words are not meant to make us work harder. This is not some pregame pep talk. Jesus aim is to bring us to the end of ourselves. He wants us to feel our weakness-our fragility. He wants us to cry uncle - to tap out. He not saying “go for it” he is saying “come to me”. He not saying “you can do it”; he is saying “yoke yourself to me”.
Jesus knows what we need - we need multiple touches from Him. These are the same 12 guys who get into a boat with one loaf of bread and begin to panic because they don’t have enough to eat after seeing him feed 4,000 with seven loaves of bread. They need help. They need multiple touches from the Savior.
After Jesus speaks these hard words he doesn’t take all 12 up the mountain, only Peter, James, and John. Why? We don’t know because the text doesn’t specifically tells us. We know that Jesus had a unique relationship with them. Scripture says that Jesus on other occasions took these 3 to special places while leaving the others behind. We see them as the undisputed leaders of the early church.
Mark 9:9 ESV
And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
I believe Jesus does not allow the entire group to come because the 9 left behind could not keep Jesus request.
Why is this story in the Bible? Jesus uses a high mountain to help His followers to understand His hard words.

THE SON OF GOD SHOWS THEM HIS GLORY SO THAT THEY CAN LIVE FOR HIS GLORY.

The words of Jesus are hard but they are not without help. Jesus transfigures before them so that they can know Paul’s words in Romans 12:2 are true.
Romans 12:2 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Jesus isn’t becoming something that He is not. He is showing them who He really is. He wants to solidify their answer to His previous question; who do men say that I am? Jesus leaves no doubt as to who he is.
Moses and Elijah show up to discuss Jesus’ Exodus from this world. It seems as though this imagery conveys Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah). Furthermore substantiating His claim as Messiah.
Peter is so overwhelmed by the moment that he doesn’t know what to say and yet he stills finds words to say; “its good for us to be here can I build three tabernacles.” Peter did not want to leave the mountain; he wanted to stay. He is missing the point of the lesson; I’m showing you my glory so you can life for my glory. We learn on mountains; we live in the valley. We meet God on the mountain so we can live for Him in the valley.

THE FATHER’S CONFIRMATION OF THE SON GAVE THEM CONFIDENCE TO PICK UP THEIR CROSS.

The Father’s voice confirms Jesus identity and commands their listening. They needed a voice because they were writing down the verses. We have a voice speaking to us from the verses.
Matthew 7:24 ESV
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
Jesus is the ultimate expression of truth!
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 8:31 NLT
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.
The significant impact of this moment does not show itself until later in the disciples life.
2 Peter 1:1–21 ESV
Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

JESUS COMMANDED PROVISIONAL SILENCE CONCERNING THE RESURRECTION ONLY LATER TO COMMISSION PERPETUAL SPEAKING OF IT.

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