‘And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.’ (Mark 9:4 NIVUK)
Have you ever seen a group of people huddled together and wondered what they are talking about? Here Elijah, Moses and Jesus are talking together, but what are they saying? Mark doesn’t tell us, but thankfully Luke does:
‘They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfilment at Jerusalem.’ (Luke 9:31) The word ‘departure’ is literally ‘exodus’, which is showing us that Jesus leads a new exodus: an exodus out of sin and death that is the fulfillment of that earlier exodus out of slavery.
Peter, never slow to stick his foot in his mouth, says,
‘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.’ (Mark 9:5) In saying that he probably thought he was honouring Jesus. After all Moses is a great hero from the past through whom God gave the law, Elijah, representing the onset of the prophetic age, performed numerous miracles, and so Rabbi Jesus we want to include you in this elite company.
Despite his confession in the previous chapter, Peter really didn’t understand the significance of who Jesus was. So, a voice speaks from heaven and says,
‘This is my Son…‘Listen to him,’ (Mark 9:7), which is not said of Moses or Elijah.
Jesus stands in line with Israel’s greatest God-endowed prophets, but he utterly outstrips them. As God’s eternal Son he is in a league of his own. Moses led the exodus of Israel from physical slavery in Egypt, but it is only Jesus who leads the exodus from our spiritual slavery to sin and death. Elijah raised the widow of Zarephath’s son to physical life, but only Jesus can raise us to everlasting life. All the law and the prophets speak about Jesus and are fulfilled in him
(Luke 24:25-27,44). It is Jesus we are to look and listen to, not Moses or Elijah.
Thankfully we don’t need to wonder what Jesus is saying to us:
‘He told them, ‘This is what is written: the Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,’ (Luke 24:46) and
‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent…For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day… I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.’ (John 6:29,40,47).
As we listen to the Son and believe that he died and rose on the 3rd day leading humanity out of sin and death into eternal life, we are responding to the voice from heaven and fulfilling the Father’s will.
May we have ears to hear.
Father, thank you for your Son Jesus, who alone has the words of eternal life. May we listen to him.
Have a good week listening to Jesus.