Transfigured by His Glory
Let you turn to Mark chapter nine and we are an important topic together, for the two of you, the rest of you can listen in on this. The series that we’re on together is the Genius of Jesus and we just desire to know Christ as He desires to make himself known in our lives. That simple of a series that we’re going through together. And the reason is that because this summer and every summer, people like to do what we call vacation. And there are some Sundays like today, I’m like, man, where did you go? I want to go on vacation with you. And we could have church in two locations probably today. But the idea of this morning and knowing Christ and making him known, we just want to spend the summer just getting to know Jesus and letting our heart just be saturated in his goodness.
And together we are in Mark chapter nine. And these three chapters, eight, nine, and 10 are such a central part of what Jesus desires to do in our lives. What we’ve seen throughout this gospel together as we’ve examined Mark, is Jesus gave the declaration of his kingdom, then he demonstrated his kingdom and he invites us to join. And Jesus goes around and he preaches to the crowds.
But then in Mark chapter eight something significant happens. He becomes more intimate because he’s approaching his death. He’s about to make his transition into Jerusalem. He’s about to go into Jerusalem with such boldness. In fact, it floors the disciples. But in Mark chapter eight he calls the disciples to something that is profound, something that is sacrificial, something that we as people would not be inclined to do unless the glory of God has been made known in our lives.
So this morning, that’s really the central idea that I want to get across in our lives as we worship here today is for the glory of God to be made known in our lives. Now that is a simple thought, but it’s also profound and I would acknowledge it’s difficult to just convey the significance and glory of who Jesus is. But Jesus does something in the lives of his disciples here that he wants all of us to grab ahold of it and see how that same power in which he demonstrates to the disciples in the story we’re about to read is the same power that rests in you today. Because when we look at what Jesus calls his disciples to in Mark chapter eight, which I’m going to read in just a moment, when we see what takes place here in the sacrifice he lays in our lives, we’re not going to have the ambition to want to see this goal achieved unless the power of God rests in us.
So when we see the significance of Jesus’s glory and we see how that translates into our lives, this calling that Jesus puts on his disciples, I find that we are compelled to live out in our lives when the glory of God rests in our hearts and in our lives.
We studied together last week this statement in Mark chapter eight which is really the hinge point of this gospel. Jesus preaches to the crowds. He gives this the statement that becomes so ostracizing to the people that the crowds really leave Jesus. The intimate followers of Christ stay with him. When Jesus gives this statement, you remember the backdrop of what Jesus said in this passage in Mark 8:31 he asked the disciples, who do you say that I am? And the significance of that for all of us is there comes a place in all of our lives where we need to acknowledge who Jesus is, Jesus came in a very intimate form so that you could connect to him. Jesus gave his life so that you could experience a relationship with him for all of eternity.
So the intimacy of who Christ is needs to become personal to your lives. So who Jesus is matters in your life. Jesus asked Peter that question. Peter says, you’re the Messiah. What we find about the life of Peter is that Peter then denies the acknowledgment of Messiah because he had a misconception of why he thought the Messiah represented. He thought the Messiah was bringing his kingdom now. And that kingdom would set up Israel over everything.
In fact, that the end of Mark, you see the disciples arguing about who’s going to be greater in this kingdom. Jesus turns the world upside down and he starts to talk about his suffering. He says in Mark 8:31 he then began to teach them that the son of man must suffer many things. This idea of must, it must take place and suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers and the law. And they must be killed. And after three days rise again.
Jesus has given this idea of what must happen in his life. And just before this, Peter acknowledges who Jesus is the Messiah, and God calls him a rock. You are the rock. And upon the foundation of me, I will build my church. And then right after this, after Jesus talks about he must die, Peter then tells Jesus, you need to not do that, Jesus. You’re supposed to build your kingdom now. You’re not supposed to suffer. You’re supposed to end suffering. And then Jesus says to Peter, get behind me Satan. So in one sense he’s this rock and the next sense he’s the devil himself.
And then Jesus gives this call to the disciples. It’s the hinge point statement of this gospel in which Jesus goes from preaching to the crowds, to intimacy with his disciples and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. And he specifically talks about discipleship in chapter eight, chapter nine, chapter 10. And Jesus gave this statement, then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself, take up their cross and follow me.
So Jesus gives this negative statement first of denying self, this place of operating from that’s not good. And when we talk about denying self, this thought of denial is not necessarily denying personality, though it might include it if it’s sinful. It’s not this necessarily, this idea of being a martyr, though your faith could lead to that. It’s not even necessarily this idea of letting go of the things that you possess in this world. Though Christ could call you to do that. The self denial carries this idea of turning away from self centered idolatry and the desire to orient life by your own self interest and reorienting your life in the interest that is in Christ.
Meaning at some point your Christian faith will conflict with your convenience. But if your God is convenience, you will deny Jesus. At the same time it’s also acknowledging the most valuable thing you have to give to God, is yourself. The greatest gift you have to offer, is yourself.
So he says deny self, take up your cross. The idea of this cross is one of submission. You think in Roman society what the picture of the cross was about: it publicly demonstrated one who wants rebelled against Rome, who now finds themselves in submission and obedience to Rome. One who was a rebel against what Rome represented now is in submission under the authority of Rome as they carry their cross. The cross demonstrates the same thing for us.
I liken it too that of a symbol of marriage and the wedding ring. How Jesus gave all that he was for us and calls us to give all that we are to him. The idea in the thought of marriage is that one human being lays down their life for the benefit of another, that they may become all that God has called them to be in him. And so in marriage you see this mutual submission of the giving of yourself that two may become one. And so it is in Jesus and laying down of ourself as He laid down his life for us. We see this intimacy in our relationship with him. And then he calls us to this in identity. He calls us to follow him. The laying down our self-orientated, life about me. It becomes about him.
This word follow me is in what’s called in Greek a present imperative. It means this planning of your will of the submission of yourself every day. The glory and goodness of who God is. Why would we do this? Why would someone lay themselves down like this to such an extent?
He tells us in the remaining verses in verse 35, for everyone’s to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
What he’s recognizing for us this morning is that there is a battle taking place over your soul. I think in the life of an unbeliever, the stakes are even higher, but you, if you’ve even trusted in Christ this morning, I think it’s important to recognize there is always a battle raging for your soul. In fact, in Revelation chapter 12 it tells us that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. Meaning the followers of Jesus, he is the accuser of them. What Satan loves to do is to take your past and place that on you, to accuse you of that, to immobilize you of your future in Jesus. Because as long as he can trap you in your past, it keeps you from living out your future in Christ.
So this idea of following after Jesus is recognizing there’s this battle that takes place over our soul. The decision to follow is to live in the identity of Christ in this and present imperative, this continuation of stepping in Christ. What would compel us to do that? I think the answer is demonstrated in the sacrifice of Jesus. He also continues to demonstrate it in Mark chapter nine this morning, I think it’s this: His glory made known in our lives.
Really today, I want us to understand not only just the glory of God, but how personal it becomes in our world because of the calling that Christ place on you to live so sacrificially for him. It’s only by the power of God that you could ever demonstrate a life like that. It’s only because of his glory made known in your lives that I think we feel the pressing desire to live a life like that to such a degree.
In 2 Corinthians 4:16, Paul in recognizing the life of the disciples and the degree of which we give our lives, and following after Christ, he says this, therefore we do not lose heart. In the context of 2 Corinthians 4:16, it’s always important to ask what therefore is there for? And so Paul has laid out the lives of the disciples and the sacrifice they’re making and the world and what they’re losing in the world. But at the same time, what they’re gaining in Jesus. And the infinite worth that’s present in Christ.
So he says, therefore we do not lose heart, though our outer self is wasting away. Yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. For our light in temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles.
And so what he’s recognizing in verse 17 is this glory of God. The thing that pales in comparison to the world is this eternal glory of God that far outweighs our troubles. Why would we give our lives to such a degree? Because in recognition what the world has to offer, it is nothing in comparison to Jesus. And when that glory is made known in our lives, we give and we sacrifice and we lay ourselves down for that glory.
In fact, the word glory carries this idea of burden. But on the same token it also carries this thought of wealth and honor. Literally it means the weight of the wealth and honor that is in Jesus. The depth of his glory made known in our lives compels us to give our lives to this degree.
C.S. Lewis even wrote a book called, “The Weight of Glory.” And in that he calls believers to dive into the significance of who Christ is. Because until your heart is saturated in the goodness of Jesus, you will never live your life the way that Christ has called you to.
In fact, C.S. Lewis says this, “Like an ignorant child we go on making mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” It’s on the backdrop of Mark chapter eight when Jesus shares with his disciples, the laying down to their lives that he then turns in Mark chapter nine and he says this, he says, Jesus was saying to them, truly, I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.
What Jesus is saying is in the call of the sacrifice of your life. You need a touch of my glory. You need to see it demonstrated in your world. Now, I’ll tell you some people debate as to when this happened. When did Jesus reveal this power to the disciples? Some argue at the resurrection, some argue with at the Ascension of Christ, some argue at Pentecost. Some even say within the text it happens in the very next verses as Jesus unfolds this story which you’re about to see, but what Jesus is recognizing is the significance of having demonstrated in their lives the weight of his glory.
In fact, one of the most powerful verses I think in the Bible and the calling of believers happens in Romans chapter 12. If you read the book of Romans, that’s the gospel laid out. Then chapter 12 he calls us to respond to that gospel and he says this, therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship. He’s calling the body of Christ to give your lives. He says, your bodies individually, your bodies who make up God’s people. And then I love what he does here. He talks about this in the plural, your bodies, but then he goes to the singular as a living sacrifice.
God sees his body, his church holistically as one sacrifice to his glory in this world. But then again, he uses this word, therefore. The question becomes what’s therefore, for there? What compels the life of the individual to lay down themselves to such a degree. And when you look in Romans chapter 11, the verses that just precede this verse, this is what it says in verse 33, oh the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments and unfathomable his ways. For who has known the mind of the Lord or who can become his counselor or who has first given to him that it might be paid back to him again. For from him and through him and to him are all things to him be the glory forever. Amen.
Did you catch that? To him be the glory forever. What compels your life to respond with such worship that it would sacrifice self to the glory of God? It’s the weight of his glory being made known in our lives. What Jesus is saying to the disciples in the calling that he’s given them in Mark 8 and this profound thought that just floored the crowd, is to saturate themselves in the weight of his glory, to live out the calling of which he has placed upon them.
So then it tells us in Mark 9:2, six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves and he was transfigured before them. His garments became radiant and exceedingly white as no launder on earth can whiten them. I know there’s some of you reading verse three and you’re like challenge accepted.
Jesus is transfigured before them. Something interesting is happening in Mark 9:2, and it’s comparable to Exodus chapter 24. Exodus chapter 24, God tells Moses and his followers that he’s going to reveal themselves to them as they’re making what is the old covenant about to become old before the Lord. They’re making a covenant before God and God tells him he’s going to appear and six days later he does up on the mountain. And now here you find, just like Exodus chapter 24 here in Mark nine God’s revealing his glory again. He promises that he’s going to do that in Mark chapter nine. And six days later he takes him up on the mountain, just like Exodus chapter 24 revealing to him his glory demonstrating what’s going to be the new covenant in him?
And he chooses to use this word become significant to the Christian life. And I just want lay this out as it weighs on the glory of God making made known in our lives. But he uses this word transfigured. It’s a godly word. You’re going to find that at this transfiguration, this glory clouds surrounds just like the glory cloud appeared to Moses in Exodus chapter 24 when the presence of God was being made known to the people of Israel as they wandering through the wilderness, it was done so by a cloud.
Again in this story, the glory cloud is surrounding Jesus because the presence of God is with them. Because it’s in Jesus, it tells us in Colossians 2:9, deity dwells in bodily form in Christ. And so this idea of transfiguration happens. And the uniqueness of transfiguration, it literally means from the inside out. It’s as if Jesus takes off this shell for just a moment of this human body of what he’s going to suffer and die for our sins and he exposes the full glory of who he is.
From the inside out, the radiating glory of God is being made known the lives of these disciples. Because God has called them to intimacy with him. It’s a demonstration on the backdrop of of Mark chapter eight when Jesus calls them to die, that Jesus indeed transform suffering into glory. Substance, his glory.
The only one that displays this glorious God and Jesus is now demonstrating himself to the disciples as God in the flesh. You know what else is interesting. You study this transfiguration in scripture. You see it, we’ll look at it in a minute, but it’s laid throughout the Bible. There’s also another word in scripture that positions itself directly against this transfiguration. I think Jesus wants the disciples to experience this transfiguration because they’re in a system that is corrupt. They’re missing the point of what the Messiah is about. It’s become a false religion in that sense, coming as the Messiah that was promised and they don’t even see the point.
So when you study this idea of transfiguration within the Bible, there’s another word that runs counterintuitive against it, and it’s this thought of masquerading. In fact, in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 and no wonder for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It’s not surprising then that his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
We talk about this masquerading. I think it’s important in building the thought that we’re looking at what they’re masquerading. It says in verse 14 that Satan is masquerading as an angel of light.
Now, I wouldn’t recommend getting your theology from Halloween, but oftentimes during the season of Halloween, it’s likely that you’re going to see a few Satan’s running around. And when you see that depicted in the character that is our society, most often, you see them with red horns, a pitchfork and a red tail. And he acts a lot like you think he would, get away from me hoodlum.
But when you study Satan in scripture, Satan in his express form coming to us, is demonstrated as an angel of light. Quite different from the demonic dark ugliness that we might perceive Satan to be. Satan is deceptive. In fact, I would go this far and say, being an angel of light, Satan has no problem with good. In fact, Satan may love good. Because there’s a difference between good and godly. Satan wants people to be good all day long, as long as it’s not connected to God. So you give the appearance of goodness, but you deny the power there.
When you think about how this plays out and what he’s saying in this passage in verse 15 even the servants masquerade as servants of righteousness or servants of light are servants of good. I think one of the things that makes religion attractive in this world is that we as people are made in the image of God, which means all of us express a certain value, whether we acknowledge it from God or not. Love, joy, peace, patience, the characteristics of God that’s ingrained within us. And so there’s a hint of that in every religion and therefore it might attract people to those things.
But the point of what we’re saying in this passage is that good isn’t godly. In our lives some of the ways that we try to chalk up truth within this world is experiential. And so sometimes we will attribute the things to be of God because they’ve been expressed in a good form and it may never have been connected to God. And then when you walk in the world and you ask people, how do you know that what you believe is true, they chalk it up to this experiential demonstration in their lives. I know that it’s true because I’ve experienced this and it’s been good.
But when you compare all religions in this world side by side to one another, they teach all a different truth. But yet they can all be true, even though they’ve had a good experience. Good isn’t godly.
I heard a story once. It was in a book I read that talked about the devil and a cohort walking down the street. In front of them is a man and the man picks up something shiny. The cohort looks to the devil and says, what are the man pick up? The devil said a piece of the truth. The cohort gets worried and he looks at the devil and said, aren’t you going to try to do something about it? And the devil said, no, I’m not worried about it. I’ll just see that he makes a religion out of it. Good is not godly.
The presentation of an angel of light, that’s what he desires to demonstrate. The form of godliness, but deny its power. That’s what this word masquerade means. This word masquerade is putting on this facade of what appears to be godliness. But when you peel back the mask, it’s emptiness on the inside. And so when you look at this word for transfiguration, it literally means from the inside out. And if you compare it to this word masquerade, it’s this appearance of godliness, but denying the power thereof. On the outside it looks godly, but on the end it’s full of brokenness. It denies God.
I don’t want to worry you, so how do you know that what you believe is godly? How do you know that what you follow in life is from God? 1 John 4, John writes the test for believers. He says, brothers believe not every spirit try the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone in the world. Just because you have a spiritual feeling does not mean something good.
When we encounter people in this world and they might say, you know what, I’m spiritual. I just want to acknowledge for a moment that’s nice. God makes us all spiritual beings. But at the same time, whether you acknowledge God or not, we’re all spiritual beings. So it’s not that big of a deal. Whether you acknowledge the presence of a spiritual world or not, you’re a spiritual being.
And so just because it’s spiritual doesn’t mean it’s of God. In 1 John 4, it says to test spirits whether they have God, because many false prophets have gone into the world. And so when John does in 1 John 4 starting in verse two down to verse eight he describes things that you should experience if it’s of God. It should point us to the truth of God’s word, that it should glorify Jesus in our lives. That it should oppose worldly systems and elevate the truth.
Verse seven and eight it should teach us to love God and love others. Now we’ll acknowledge in 1 John 4 it presupposes the truth of God’s word as being the foundation of truth and Jesus being who he claims to be. But in the life of the believer that becomes the foundation to filter truth because good isn’t necessarily godly.
And so you see in the context of the story these words, positioning it itself against one another. This thought of masquerading and this thought of of transfiguration. Masquerading, giving the appearance of godliness, but denying its power inwardly. Masquerading even acknowledges that people have all sorts of religious experiences. They’re all aren’t from God. So how do you experience transformation?
When you look at the word masquerade, it’s all about appearance and behavior. In fact, the idea of masquerading teaches us to cover up and perform in order to be accepted. But the idea of transformation speaks to the heart from the inside out. Transformation exposes what rests within and renews us afresh in Jesus.
When you look at the thought of Satan in this word, Satan and powers of darkness speak to our behavior and they glorify systems in our lives because it wants to give a facade. And so whatever system our idolatry might worship, Satan will teach us to masquerade ourselves within it, whether it be religion or politics, or power or pleasure. Or to create some sort of system to masquerade your worth and behind it. But what you find in living out that system is emptiness still rest on the inside.
What God speaks to is transfiguration. God speaks to our hearts and in that he glorifies himself, transforms our lives. Speaking to behavior without reaching the heart produces rebellion. But can I tell you what Jesus is interested in this morning more than anything else is what rests within you. So the beauty about Jesus becoming flesh, it tells us some John 3:18, Christ didn’t come to condemn the world because the world already rests condemned. But rather than we can find salvation in him.
God sees what rests in your heart and he loves you right where you are. And the weight of his glory being made known in your world is what compels you to respond with such sacrifice to him. Because this transfiguration is a demonstration of his grace being made known in your life. And listen, this is the way Jesus speaks about the heart and the Bible. He says in Psalm 147:3, he heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.
In Matthew 5, when Jesus delivers the very first sermon, the very first thing Jesus said, blessed are you who are poor in spirit. So when you look at this transfiguration of Jesus, I don’t want to just see it as some isolated story that these disciples had the opportunity experience apart from you. But rather, when we look at this transfiguration of Jesus, it becomes significant for us to see this transfiguration of something that we can still have demonstrated in our lives today. And the reason is because of what the rest of the New Testament shares with us through this new covenant that Jesus established us with his disciples.
Because this word for transfiguration is the same word that’s used in the New Testament that talks about transformation for the believer. In fact, in 2 Corinthians 3:18 it says this, but we all look at this with unveiled face. No longer a masquerade, but God’s looking into your heart. And you’re able to see the glory of God. So we all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord are being transfigured or transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. From the inside out God transforms your life in him.
Remember Romans chapter 11 and 12 we already looked at together. The glory of God compels us in Romans 12:1, I beg you, brothers, by the mercies of God, presenting yourself as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable act of worship. And then it says this, do not be conformed to the world. It gives this thought that the world is this box and it’s just pressing you in trying to masquerade your life from God. But then it says, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
The same token in 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says, therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come, the old has gone, the new is here. This new creation is this work for metamorphosis. It’s what a butterfly goes through. The old self being made new in Jesus. What it is communicating in this story for us as we see the sacrifice that Jesus calls his disciples to and we see the impact that’s made in this world as God works through them. That same power that worked in them is at work and alive in you.
So we positioned this thought of masquerading towards transfiguration. I’ve found within the Christian community there tends to be two responses. One is healthy and one’s not. Let me give you the illustration. I like this. Sometimes in church people give ideas of what we should do for Bible studies, which is good. We should study the Bible. Every once in a while someone says, we should study Revelations. Which by the way, it’s Revelation. It’s one Revelation, okay? No plural. Don’t do that. If you’re part of Alpine Bible Church, we have to punish you for saying that, just kidding. It’s Revelation, one revelation.
Sometimes believers will read Revelation and they’ll say, there’s destruction. Build a bunker, run to the hills, pandemonium everywhere, oh my word! But when you read Revelation in the context of which it was written, it’s a worship book. The victory of the Lamb, who overcomes. Revolation isn’t a doomsday. It’s a declaration of the power that rests in Jesus and therefore in his church. When you read that book, you should see yourself as a victor in Jesus. That power is at work in you.
That’s why when Paul wrote to Timothy, he said, God doesn’t give you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind. That’s why when Paul wrote in Corinthians chapter four, the verse that we just read. The need above all else to see the weight of his glory, therefore we do not lose heart. Though the outer self is wasting away yet our inner self look, the weight of his glory is being renewed day by day for our light and temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles.
And so when you read the story that takes place in Mark chapter nine. This isn’t just the story that happens for three disciples and that’s it and they’re kind of telling you this. It’s saying that this transfiguration that’s being demonstrated in the life of the believers is now being demonstrated in the life of God’s followers today. That same power made known on this Mount is that same mountainous power that rests in the life of us believers.
So that when Jesus calls us to sacrifice our lives for him and we questioned, do I even have the ability? The answer is by his power and the weight of his glory: Yes.
And so in Mark 9, the story goes on and it says this, Elijah appeared to them along with Moses and they were talking with Jesus and Peter said to Jesus, Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. And as he calls him, rabbi now like just a teacher, let us make three Tabernacles, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah. For he did not know what to answer for they were becoming terrified. Then a cloud formed overshadowing them. And a voice came out of the cloud and said this, this is my beloved son. Listen to him. All at once they looked around and saw no one with them anymore except Jesus alone.
Peter again misses the point. It’s good for us to be here teacher, no longer Lord or Messiah. Can we build three things to acknowledge Mose’s presence, Elijah’s presence, and your presence? He missed the point of what God’s doing in this story. Because Moses and Elijah became a representation. And the representation in the story is the law in Moses, and the prophets in Elijah. The culmination of the old covenant being demonstrated in this story because Jesus is about to bring the new covenant to fruition.
So Moses and Elijah here, the demonstration of the old covenant in Christ, the fulfillment of everything in Jesus. And Peter just says, can we just acknowledge all three of you as equal? And that’s when the glory cloud shows up and the Father speaks and he makes the same statement that he made about Jesus at his baptism. You might remember this. This kesher draws to the Old Testament in the statement, this is my beloved son. Listen to him.
When Jesus was baptized, the Father appeared and he gave this declaration over Jesus. And now the Father’s appearing and he’s giving this declaration to the disciples. And if you remember a keser in time to the Old Testament is this imagery of what’s represented. And this is my beloved son, comes from Psalm 2:7. It’s a kingship song. It’s also a messianic psalm acknowledging the King of Kings would one day come. And so the Father is saying of Jesus, this is the King of Kings. This isn’t just Moses and Elijah. This is the one who transfigured your life. Listen to him.
In this statement that comes from Isaiah 42, Deuteronomy 18 this is the Suffering Servant statement. That the King of Kings, Lord of Lords would give his life and this is the one you are to follow. The glory of God and the weightiness of this representation being demonstrated in the lives of the disciples. It’s the same glory that can rest in your souls.
Now, on a practical level, just think about what that means this morning in your worship. How sacred of an opportunity this is for you to connect to Christ. Not only in your own personal worship, but think about your interaction with each other. What God desires to do in us and through us as living sacrifices together as his community under the weight of his glory.
What God wants to do in us is sacred. And the potential of what God can do through anyone that comes through our doors on Sundays we gathered to worship. How sacred it is. Can I tell you church, that sacredness doesn’t happen when someone just starts to preach a message from the pulpit. It happens the minute a car shows up in a parking lot. We’re declaring the weight of his glory together. The significance of Christ and the way he continues to transform our lives.
It’s under the recognition of this statement that Jesus at the end of Mark gives this thought towards the disciples. He says this in Mark 9:35 they’re arguing over who’s going to be greater in the kingdom and then he sits down and he called the 12 said to them, if anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all in the servant of all. Taking a child, he set him before them and taking him in his arms. He said to them, whoever receives one child like this in my name receives me. And whoever receives me does not receive me, but him who sent me.
The cool thing about the word “child” in Aramaic is it’s also interchangeable with the word servant. Child and servant are the same word in Aramaic as Jesus would have spoken. Jesus is recognizing something that’s counter to the culture. Jesus is demonstrating in their culture that people have certain value. Children and servants are considered beneath others. Jesus is saying in the lives of the peoples, how sacred of a moment it is when the transforming work of God happens in your life, that you can begin to express it. So that transforming of work of God can happen the lives of others.
God can miraculously work in any way in this world, but the predominant way that God desires to work and chooses to work is in the form of his people who he has created in his image. That you may open your mouth and declare the glory of who he is. And the only way that that happens to a degree that we lay ourselves underneath the feet of others that some might see as less valuable, though in the eyes of God are tremendously significant because he gives his life for them, is by seeing the way that his glory has weighted itself on us.
What I mean by that is Paul continued to remind in the gospels of recognizing the compassion of Jesus in our hearts. Because in realizing how God, in our darkness, brought his light into our world reminds us of the way that we can extend that light into others. Not with a judgmental attitude but with a heart of compassion. Because we know what Jesus did for us.
When you see yourselves as helpless, unable to rescue, no longer able to hide behind the facade of a masquerade, but God exposing your heart and in its darkness, giving his life for you. The weight of that glory compels you to respond. To the extent that you demonstrate your life towards others that need the way that this glory rest upon them.
I can’t overemphasize how important and crucial to this text to see that this transfiguration of Jesus hasn’t stopped. That’s the power of God in you. That’s the light able to pierce the darkness. That’s why Jesus in Mark 8, 9, 10 could continue to call his disciples to lay down their lives because he knew the power that would rest within you through him.
John Piper in his book, Don’t Waste Your Life, says it like this, and I’m gonna end with this thought, but whatever you do, find the God centered, Christ exalting, Bible saturated, passion of your life. And find your way to say it and live for it and die for it, and you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life. My joy grows with every soul that seeks the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Remember, you have one life. That’s all. And you were made for God. Don’t waste it. Rather, saturate yourself in the presence of his glory as he desires to make it known in your life.