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Hebrews 1:5-14 – NT

01.18.2011

Mark 9:2-8

Some notes on the Transfiguration, which will hopefully tie this passage back to Hebrews:

  • I noticed for the first time, here, Mark’s language that Jesus’ clothes became radiant, ‘intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.’  This an almost theological note on how Jesus is so clean, sinless, that he’s whiter than any earthly effort could ever accomplish.  Jesus’ righteousness is not attainable through moral bleach; it is evidence of His divinity and holiness.
  • As I think I pointed out when reading this story last fall, Jesus’ appearance with Moses and Elijah represents His relationship with and superiority to the law and the prophets.
  • God’s endorsement of Jesus, reminiscent of that during His baptism, echoes Psalm 2:7 (which is quoted in Hebrews, as we’ll see Thursday).  Additionally, God’s command to listen to Jesus calls back to Deut 18, which we looked at last week.

One more fascinating point deserves its own section.  The ESV study Bible clarifies that Moses and Elijah are not reincarnations but rather are visible in spirit because the disciples are in the presence of God.  This reminds me of Lewis’ thoughts about seeing friends and loved ones in Heaven.  He says that the aspects of each other that we love and that bring us joy are the parts of us where God shines through.

I wonder if the same thing applies here.  Moses and Elijah were titans of Jewish history in that they were vehicles for God’s revelation, and their glory is really God’s glory.  This isn’t to suggest that they were not real men with distinct personalities, but it just makes sense that we would see them in the presence of God because we so often saw that presence in them.

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