And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.Mark 9:2-3
Why Six Days?
Mark, under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, provides us with two words that are out of character for his writing: “six days.” Why is this uncharacteristic of his style? Majority of the time Mark uses the word “immediately” to move from scene to scene. Here are three examples from chapter 1 of Mark’s Gospel:
“And when [Jesus] came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove” (Mark 1:10).
“The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12).
“And immediately [Jesus] left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John” (Mark 1:29).
Therefore, it seems rather odd that Mark would write “after six days” instead of “Immediately Jesus took with him Peter and James and John . . . up a high mountain” (Mark 9:2).
Mark provides the detail of “six days” for the purpose of trying to take our minds to Exodus 24. Brothers and sisters, I cannot stress the importance of knowing our Old Testaments. In fact, you can read through the Old Testament in the same amount of time it takes you to read through the New Testament twice. The Old Testament is extremely important for us to understand the greater depths and riches of the New Testament.
The Background of Exodus 24
Exodus 24 is right after Israel had just been delivered from their Egyptian slavery by the hand of God through Moses. Israel is camped out around Mount Sinai, and in Exodus 24:15-16, we read, “Then Moses when up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days” (Ex. 24:15-16, emphasis added). Do you see the parallels? Mark wanted to indicate to us using the “six day” verbiage to connect the account of Moses in Exodus 24 to Jesus’ transfiguration in Mark 9.
How Is Jesus Greater than Moses?
Some of you might say, “I see that Pastor Jeremy, but the similarities don’t seem to explain how Jesus is the Greater Moses.” Hebrews 3:5-6 helps us explain the difference between the two events. The author of Hebrews wrote, “Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son” (Heb. 3:5-6). Do you see the difference from this text? Moses is defined as God’s servant, whereas, Jesus is defined as God’s Son (cf. Mark 9:7). To put it another way, Jesus is a greater Moses because he is not just the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, but also the Son of God. This is exactly what Mark has been telling us from the opening of his Gospel when he wrote, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). The fact that Jesus is God’s Son makes him greater than Moses (cf. Heb. 3:1-6).
Why Is this Distinction Important?
The transfiguration account in Mark 9 affirms that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and as such, he would be the doorway by which all people can enter into God’s family (God’s house in Hebrews 3:6). Believing in Moses is insufficient for salvation. By that, I mean that believing in the Law will never save. You and I are inherently born to be rebellious and sinful. We are unable to keep the law that God handed down to Moses perfectly, and we know this to be true by taking an honest look at our sin ravaged lives. But, the Son of God’s work is both sufficient and efficient for the forgiveness of sins and a new life in Christ.
We can rightly conclude from Scripture: Jesus is greater than Moses because he is the Son of God, “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)! I pray this explanation of Mark 9:2-3 causes you to ask God if this is true, and that God would open your heart to turn from sin and trust in God’s Son. If you believe in this truth already, I pray that today you will give thanks to God for Jesus both in word and deed.
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