This week’s treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson (for February 13) is written by Rod Idle who serves with Journey Community Church in Fernley, Nevada.
Jesus Is God’s Son (Mark 9:2-13)
By Rod Idle
There is a discussion about Jesus still going on today. It doesn’t center on whether he existed. We all can agree Jesus lived 2,000 years ago, and historians accept that he was born in Bethlehem and lived in Galilee. The discussion is not whether or not Jesus really lived, breathed, and died. The question is, “Who was Jesus?”
It’s not a new question. This discussion was going on even when Christ was alive. In Matthew 16:13, Jesus arrives in the region of Caesarea Philippi and asks his disciples, “‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets’”1
Through the years, things haven’t changed much. People still argue about Jesus. Some want to recognize him as a good man, maybe even a great teacher. Some believe he was a prophet and preacher, not unlike Isaiah or Elijah. Some even believe there was not just one Jesus, but three. First, the historical Jesus, the man who lived more than 2,000 years ago; second, Jesus the Son of God, who has come to embody an institutional religion with specific dogma; and third, the cosmic Christ, the spiritual guide whose teaching embraces all humanity.
Mark tells us about the Transfiguration of Jesus, when Peter, James, and John witness a special revelation of Christ’s glory and purity. The Transfiguration showed Jesus’ true glory, a unique revelation of his divinity. It surely was amazing for Jesus’ closest disciples to witness his transformation from an earthly body to a heavenly one, and also to see Moses and Elijah there sharing in this experience.
A preacher namd Paul Naumann challenges us to imagine the wide-eyed wonder that must have struck the disciples there on that mountaintop. He points out that Jesus’ face shone “like the sun,” according to Matthew, “and his clothes radiated a powerful snow-white light. The disciples were stunned by the sight. This was no mortal human standing before them. This was God . . . just as he would appear in the courts of Heaven itself. Peter had only on reaction; he stammered, ‘It is good for us to be here!’”2
The culmination of this event came in Mark 9:7, “Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him’” (New Living Translation). Imagine that: The voice of God from within the cloud makes both a proclamation and command.
Proclamation: He Is the Son of God
The proclamation is “this is my Son”! He’s not just a prophet, a good guy, or “Rabbi” (as Peter had just called him in v. 5). Nope—Jesus was special; he was divine. Moses and Elijah were not equal with him. They too heard the proclamation. Jesus stands alone! There is no one else and no one as good. “This is my Son!”
One again, Paul Naumann’s sermon helps us:
For those disciples, the Transfiguration was a vivid reminder of Jesus’ deity that they would never forget. Years later, John would say, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Peter later used this experience to remind his hearers that Jesus really is God. “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). We saw it with our own eyes! We glimpsed Heaven, and it was good for us to be there!3
Command: He Is the Authority
The command was equally impressive. “Listen to him!” Wow, as a pastor and preacher, I would love it if a cloud appeared above me and the voice of God roared, “Listen to him!” For Peter, James, and John, at least, if they had any doubt, the fog was cleared and the skepticism was wiped away!
Jesus is the authority. Often the authority of Christ is watered down. There are people distorting who Christ is by making him Jesus the human teacher or Jesus the example. When preaching and teaching presents the life of Jesus merely as an ideal example we should follow, and no reference is made to his atoning death and shed blood which alone can cleanse sin, then lifeless dogma and spiritual lethargy exists there.
Jesus was not here to make a “moral stance” against the enemy. He came as the Son of God with authority to defeat the enemy.
1All Scripture quotes are from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise indicated.
|HOME DAILY BIBLE READINGS|
|Feb. 7. 17: Malachi 4:1-6|
|Feb. 8: Exodus 19:1-6|
|Feb. 9: 1 Kings 19:11-18|
|Feb. 10: Ezekiel 40:1-4|
|Feb. 11: Isaiah 2:1-4|
|Feb. 12: Psalm 48:9-14|
|Feb. 13: Mark 9:2-13|
ABOUT THE LESSON WRITER: Rod Idle and his wife planted Journey Community Church of Fernley, Nevada, with the help of Stadia, in September 2009. Rod serves the church as pastor. He is a graduate of Great Lakes Christian College, Lansing, Michigan.