Theme: God reveals His glory to us to the extent to which we are ready to trust Him.
Purpose: Encourage members to prepare their hearts for greater faith.
In the space of – who knows? Five minutes? – Jesus turns into some sort of supernova, two of the three most revered figures of the Jewish faith appear out of nowhere, God’s voice thunders out a definitive endorsement of Jesus’ Sonship, and the, wham! Bam!, it’s all over.
Faster than they knew how to respond, the three disciples closest to Jesus experience by far the most intense, electrifying and sudden display of God’s glory in Scriptural history.
And then, just as quickly, Jesus orders them to keep it under wraps.
It is easy to understand that God’s glory is revealed, that Jesus’ divinity is confirmed, that if Peter, James and John had any doubts of Jesus’ identity as Son of God, they had been soundly excised.
What’s harder to understand is: so what?
I already believe Jesu is the Son of God. What am I supposed to glean from this text?
Well, the first clue is that this mother of all revelations has a very elite audience: only three of the 12 apostles.
This is significant because if we look across Scripture we see that God’s glory is revealed most unequally.
See Exodus 19: 21 – 23. Moses gets to go to the top where all the action is, the priests can get close but only after some consecration, and the people have to sit down in the cheap seats. Only Moses gets ‘box seating.’
See Mark 4: 11. How do the disciples rate?
Mark 8: 11 – 12. Some folks get barred completely from any special revelation.
See Mark 15: 31 – 32. Still others seem to want to believe. And they’re still barred from any revelation.
Why isn’t the Lord an Equal Opportunity Revealer?
Once again, it goes back to the type of relationship we want with Jesus.
It is possible, as we’ve discussed, to have Jesus around, to talk to him, to be wrapped up in his goings-on, but to miss him.
These three disciples weren’t perfect. Heck, one of them had just rebuked Jesus to his ace and been labeled ’Satanic.’
Why would Jesus pick them over all the rest for this clearest of all revelations of Jesus’ identity?
Two things, as far as I can deduce.
First, it wasn’t their eagerness to understand Jesus but their willingness to follow him which had been demonstrated in chapters 1 – 8.
Eagerness to understand Jesus take curiosity. Willingness to follow Jesus takes humility.
Eagerness to understand Jesus demands determination. Willingness to follow Jesus demands honesty.
Eagerness to understand Jesus is an exercise in spiritual enlightenment. Willingness to follow Jesus is an exercise in submission.
Eagerness to follow Jesus is a step of discipline. Willingness to follow Jesus is a step of faith.
You see the difference?
See Mark 10: 28 – 30. Jesus has a rather bad encounter with the rich man. Afterwards, Peter says, “Lord, we have left everything to follow you.” Jesus responds with words that communicate: “You’re right, Peter, You got me. You got all of me. I will hold nothing back.”
The rich man was enamored with Jesus but holding everything back.
Peter, James, and John were frustrated with Jesus and holding nothing back.
Their full trust in Jesus had earned them God’s clearest revelation.
Secondly, their trust in Jesus would need all the help it could get in the near future.
Jesus had already begun warning them about his imminent death.
The discussion in vss. 9 – 13 brings to the surface the disciples’ deepest fear.
See v. 11. Translation: Isn’t there another step that has to come before you and your demise?
See v. 12. Translation: Yes, but even Scripture shows that that step does not prevent my demise.
See v. 13. Translation: it doesn’t matter because that step already came and went and it didn’t prevent a thing!
I sympathize with government contract workers whose job security is always on the line every 6 months to two years. It is tempting for them to pray: “God, please let me keep my job!” But given the nature of the work, do we really want God to prop up our job artificially?
Do we need a miracle or do we need revelation?
A miracle says, I will save you from your doomsday!
A revelation says, I will give you the faith to get THROUGH your doomsday!
And so, the Lord gives them a picture, a glimpse, a snapshot of Jesus’ resurrection.
Jesus in his glorified state. The risen Lord.
What better preparation for the humiliating crucifixion they’ll have to watch their Master endure?
Excerpt: First verse and chorus from popular song by Casting Crowns entitled “Praise You in the Storm.”
So what do we take from this?
Here’s what I take: God reveals Himself to us as we step out in faith.
God reveals Himself to us to the extent to which we step out in faith.
Don’t look for revelation to jump-start your faith. Ask God to change your heart and chances are revelation will follow.
Finally, revelation is God’s way of preparing you for greater trust down the line.
Do you want to see the Lord more clearly? Great! Then be prepared to follow Him more nearly.
Better yet, trust the Lord for the right time and place for Him to reveal to You just what you need to know about Him for the occasion at hand.