Lesson 12 -- second quarter 2003
May 18, 2003
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications
We pick up today's story with Jesus approaching some of His disciples and taking note of the large group of people surrounding them. More interesting, though, is that as soon as all the people looked on Jesus, they were "greatly amazed." Why so? The immediate Biblical text does not elaborate on the cause for such a response to a familiar Person. However, what transpired just before this allows us to do some surmising.
"And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them" (Mark 9:2,3). Jesus had just experienced what we call The Transfiguration. Even His clothing became gleaming white. It would seem the people were struck by the residual evidence of that glorious experience. Just like the Israelites who many years before had seen Moses right after his mountain top experience with God and had seen that "the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him" (Exodus 34:30).
You may wonder what this has to do with amazing Christians. Well, if I have arrived at the correct conclusion, the people were "greatly amazed" because they saw in Jesus some of the effects of His transfiguration. The Greek word translated transfigured is used sparingly in the Bible, half of the times to refer to the Lord's experience. One of the other times it appears in Romans as a different English word: "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (12:2). Now do you see what I'm talking about?!
The word Paul chose to describe what should happen to Christians is the same word Mark used to describe what happened to Jesus. The Lord experienced a radical change on the mountain top. Christians experience an ongoing radical change that begins at conversion. Is anyone amazed at what they see in me? May each of our lives establish and demonstrate the essence of God's good, acceptable, and perfect will. When that happens, those around us will see amazing Christians.
The disciples had experience dealing successfully with devils and sicknesses. Just three chapters earlier in the book of Mark we find this recorded: "And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them" (6:13). Jesus had empowered them to do some of the same miraculous things He did.
They almost certainly expected similar success when the father brought his demon-possessed son to them. Yet when they confronted the evil spirit intent on casting him out, they could not. Instead of experiencing triumph, they must have experienced shock, discouragement, puzzlement, and embarrassment.
What do you do when you fail at some aspect of Christian living in which you have had a good track record? Don't give up! Don't accept defeat and failure as anything more than a temporary condition. With Jesus, you can go on to victory and success. Go to Him as the disciples did and learn the reason for your failure and the key to success.
When your faith isn't enough
The child's father knew his faith was very limited and incomplete. But he knew Jesus could work in his heart to increase and develop his faith. He expressed the faith he had, acknowledged the faith he had not, and ask Jesus to help him bridge the gap.
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