Saturday after Septuagesima
Scripture: St. Mark 9:2-32 (NKJV)
2 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. 4 And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—6 because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. 7 And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” 8 Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves.
9 Now as they came down from the mountain, He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept this word to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant. 11 And they asked Him, saying, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 12 Then He answered and told them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I say to you that Elijah has also come, and they did to him whatever they wished, as it is written of him.”
14 And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. 15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. 16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?” 17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.” 19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” 20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. 21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” 30 Then they departed from there and passed through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know it. 31 For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.” 32 But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him.
How is it that One Who was glorified by God and was so powerful as to overcome a very powerful demon could be betrayed and killed by mere men? This was only possible because the Son of Man laid down His life by His own power! In His great power He would also take His life up again and rise the third day to show He had overcome sin and death!
Our Lord’s innocent submission to death was the most profound display of power that God has done for us. The glory of His transfiguration is directly connected with His death and resurrection. He is worthy of all honor and glory because He paid for the sins of mankind and brought redemption to all who would believe and be baptized. By His death, which itself manifested a stunning amount of power, He drove out and crushed not just a powerful demon, but Satan himself.
This submission is foolishness to man. It cannot be properly understood apart from faith. But thanks be to God that He reveals this glory to us through faith in His Word! When His Spirit opens our eyes we are able to understand how the history of God’s works and promises among man were fulfilled in His submission to death. The sins of us all, from Adam and Eve to each one of us, were paid for by His blood. And so we have the glorious forgiveness that comes from His powerful act. This is why the cross of Christ is even more glorious than even the transfiguration or His greatest miracles. God loved us and gave Himself to save us in this!
We pray: Lord God, all thanks, glory, and honor to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost on account of Your powerful mercy in Jesus Christ! Help us to always understand and live according to the blessings of our salvation in Him. Amen.