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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


The Secret

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant (Mark 9:9,10, NIV).

Peter, James and John experienced what no other disciple saw — the transfiguration of Jesus. If you had seen Jesus’ countenance and clothes glowing and met Moses and Elijah, you would want to tell everyone. I’m sure these three disciples, who were privy to the event, couldn’t wait to recount their adventure on the mountain.

But, Jesus tells them to keep it secret. And they did! Why?

There are several reasons.

First, Jesus knew that all His audiences — disciples, religious leaders, crowds — had their own conception of who the Messiah would be and what He would do. The event of the Transfiguration was so overpowering that, if known prematurely, it would only feed the idea that the Messiah was a spectacular figure. Instead, Jesus’ pathway was to take the role of the suffering servant and first journey to the cross. The Transfiguration story could only be told when He was on the other side of the cross. It contrasts what the Father thinks of Jesus (“my Son, whom I love” with the human verdict (“crucify Him”).

Second, Jesus did not do miracles for show. He did them to help people. Earlier in Mark, Jesus had shut up the demons when they testified of Him (1:25,34). He told a leper not to share the goods news of his healing (1:44), and Jairus’ family was given strict orders not to tell anyone of their dead daughter’s deliverance from death (5:43). Jesus was not into a showbiz, commercialized ministry where He blatantly advertised miracles in order to get a crowd. If Jesus sometimes ordered people not to tell of His acts of power, it’s not surprising that He should instruct the three disciples to keep quiet about this overwhelming revelation of His divine identity.

Jesus’ orders to keep this event secret came from His intention to tamp down the popular belief that the Messiah would be an earthly ruler. Further, if the three disciples had begun to broadcast their experience it would only have created jealousy among the other disciples who were not privy to what happened on the mountain. They were prone already to contest who was the greatest (9:33,34).

The order not to tell would be lifted after Jesus rose from the dead. Peter, James and John clearly did not understand what “rise from the dead” meant — even though after Peter’s confession, Jesus said plainly He would be killed and rise again three days later (8:31,32).

Like the disciples, we may not see clearly the first time around what truth the Lord wants us to lay hold of!

The three disciples witnessed His many miracles, but Jesus was setting them up for something more powerful than anything they had seen — His resurrection. This would not be a resurrection on the order of Jairus’ daughter (5:41,42), the Nain widow’s son (Luke 7:15), or even Lazarus (John 11:44). All those subsequently died.

Jesus’ resurrection is far greater. His death was not the result of sickness, but of crucifixion; and He would never again die.

That same kind of resurrection awaits all of us who believe!

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, Your demand for secrecy is a reminder to me that it’s not always appropriate to say what’s on my mind. Help me discern when it’s the right time to speak or to stay silent.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years

2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

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