Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s passage is Mark 9:2-9, where the Bible says,   

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. 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.



I’m becoming more and more convinced that all of our modern technologies are actually making us more ignorant, rather than more informed; they also make us more prone to be isolated, rather than connected with each other. Because of our sinful rebelliousness against the moral truths of God, human beings also seem to be more clueless than ever about how to live their lives in this world meaningfully and joyfully. That’s true even amidst all the advances of science and technology. As I get older, I see this more clearly than ever. Evil truly does exist in the world and evil exists in every human heart. Unfortunately, there is no easy religious, secular, or scientific fix for this DEADLY virus. The great scientist Albert Einstein said, “It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man.”[1]

We need a solution to the problems and evils of this world. We also need a fix for the evil which resides within our own hearts. The payment coming due for all of these things seems beyond comprehension. That’s true. But what happens when the answer, the all-encompassing solution, is so overwhelming that we can’t bear it and so extensive that we can’t fathom it? I think that is how the disciples were feeling on the day Jesus took them up on a mountain to pray. I think that they were becoming overwhelmed by the kind of salvation that they needed. (After all, Peter would have no suffering for his messiah; see Mark 8:32.) And I think they were beginning to be overwhelmed by the salvation that Jesus was going to provide which was part of the reason for their fear and awe.

So a preliminary glimpse of the glorified Jesus is provided for them before the overwhelming days of suffering to come. On a mountain that day, Jesus was transfigured, literally metamorphisized. That means HIS appearance changed drastically as His divinity literally and brilliantly shone through. Why? Well, these disciples, and believers in Jesus SINCE, would need to be reminded again and again of who Jesus is. Who is this one who would suffer and die for them? They would need to know this in order to be strengthened by faith in Him for the events that were soon to follow and for the lives they would live BY FAITH IN HIM FOR OTHERS.

You see, as believers in Christ, we believe and trust in a Savior who is not dead but alive. And, though we face trials, struggles, suffering, and even death this side of heaven, ours is a living faith in a living Savior who will have the victorious, last say over all those things in the end. As the Apostle Paul reminds us in 1st Corinthians 15:17 and 19-20,

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins….If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Be comforted with these truths when you are afraid. And realize that the fear that overcame the disciples that day would eventually be overcome, not by their efforts, but because of the resurrection reality of Christ’s living presence with them. As Christians, when you read His Word, when you receive His name in Baptism, when you receive His body and His blood in/with/under the bread and wine in His supper, you have that resurrection reality at work in your life too. Thank God we all get a glimpse of heaven from this incredible event which is an ongoing reminder of the fact of Jesus’ resurrection, as well as His resurrection promise for you. That vision will provide strength for the days ahead, whatever they may hold.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, amidst the teaching of the need for You to suffer and die, thank You for this glimpse of Your glorious appearance as God. Thanks also for letting us see the confusion and fear of the disciples so that we can realize that our struggles and fears can be overcome by Your death and resurrection, as the now risen, radiant, reigning, and returning Son of God. AMEN.


[1] Albert Einstein, Clinical Toxicology, 50(7), pp. 537–538.

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