Today’s Reading: Mark 9
If there was anything you ever wanted to tell people, it would be what happened to three disciples on a mountain in Mark 9:2-7. The conversation might go like this . . .
“Guess who I saw today? Moses. Oh yeah, and Elijah. And guess whose voice I heard? Audible voice? God’s! Yep, God Himself. I know what He sounds like now.”
These are the ultimate bragging rights. Seeing two celebrity Old Testament guys and hearing God’s audible voice? It doesn’t get better than that.
And Jesus messed the whole thing up. He messed it all up when He said . . . “You can’t say anything till after the resurrection.”
It was about to become a really good day for the disciples, and Jesus tapped the brakes and put a pause on it.
Listen closely. There is a huge challenge here for all of us. Just because you saw something and hear it from God doesn’t mean you share it immediately. We are all guilty of saying things too quickly that we heard from God.
Let’s speculate for a moment: what could have happened if they would have told that story when they came down?
The truth is whatever might have happened wouldn’t have been what Jesus wanted for a good reason. The truth is that some things need to marinate before they are spoken. I think there are many things I read in the Bible that I was called to sit on before speaking them—for the following reasons:
• to grow in me
• to protect me from pride
• to give me more clarity on it
• to determine the best place and the best way to share it
And the best place or best way are not always immediately. Waiting develops self-control and turns it to God to say, I trust Your timing.
In this transfiguration scene, we do know whether this event occurred around AD 29 or AD 30, which means they may have had to keep their mouths shut for more than a year. Though Mark tells the story, Peter does too in 2 Peter 1:17-18:
I was there on the holy mountain when he shone out with honor given him by God his Father; I heard that glorious, majestic voice calling down from heaven, saying, “This is my much-loved Son; I am well pleased with him.” (TLB)
Peter finally got his time. He was finally able to tell it. And are you ready for this? That 2 Peter passage was written in AD 67, which would be almost forty years later. We have no record that he said anything before that.
One final thought: what are you supposed to do when God says to pause on speaking? Don’t say anything. Let’s read it together:
As they were coming down from the mountain, He gave them orders not to relate to anyone what they had seen, until the Son of Man rose from the dead. They seized upon that statement, discussing with one another what rising from the dead meant. (Mark 9:9-10)
The Bible says when Jesus gave them the command, “they seized upon that statement.” That is such a good phrase for us to learn in this journey. As you read the New Testament, you will seize upon a verse or seize a story.
Seize. This is such a strong word. To seize a statement means to forcibly take possession of something forcibly. You make it your own. They did that with something they did not understand fully. So practically, what do you do when one of these New Testament passages seize you? You do what the disciples did:
First, in verse 9 it says they “discussed it with one another.” They got others’ perspective from experience, study, and their own wrestling with a passage. For you and me, this means we need to read books, ask our pastor, discuss with our friends. We can’t simply trust our viewpoint.
And second, verse 11 says, “They asked Him.” Don’t forget this: the author of the Bible is still alive and He knows what He wrote. There comes a time when you have to go to God in prayer and simply ask Him. In answer, He may speak to your heart (revelation) or He may guide you to other passages. The best interpretation of the Bible is the Bible. Let God interpret God.
So be quiet, ask God, and then listen to how He responds.