Mark 9:9-13English Standard Version (ESV)
9 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. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. 11 And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 12 And he said to them,“Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: The Christ is God
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: When Does Elijah Come?
I can only imagine the disciples confusion at this point. They had just witnessed the transfiguration - and though it was a mere glimpse of the glory of God (as no man could see the full glory of God and live), the experience would've been incomparable! They had witnessed the Shekinah glory, the voice of God, and a glorified Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets, testifying to Christ as Messiah.
And then Jesus talks about His death....again. It doesn't make sense. How could Jesus, just displayed in unfathomable glory, possibly die? He was showing them that there would be glory after the cross, but they just couldn't grasp it. Not until the resurrection. Which is exactly why Jesus instructs them not to talk about what they had seen until after His resurrection, until after they finally grasped the fullness of the revelation - that Jesus, the Son of God, would die as the punishment for our sins, and conquer death by rising again. There is no gospel without the cross and resurrection.
Can you imagine how hard that would be? Not to say anything about what they had witnessed? I can remember many times when I felt like I was just bursting to tell someone about something exciting I had seen, and anything I've ever seen pales in comparison to what they witnessed. But they obeyed. Thankfully, they at least had each other to talk to about it!
But in the meantime, the disciples are confused.
As Rayburn says....
The Lord takes the opportunity afforded by the disciples’ question about Elijah to reiterate that the Messiah must suffer just as Elijah did, the reference being, of course, to John the Baptist who had already been beheaded by Herod Antipas. You cannot rise from the dead unless you have first died and that death lies ahead of the Messiah as it had before John the Baptist.
We live on the other side of the cross and resurrection - and we need to share that gospel message!
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Mark 9:14-29
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