The Gospel of Mark is filled with many exciting encounters and events that display Jesus’ supernatural power over demons, disease, and death. If I’ve counted right, there are twenty miracles recorded in the book’s sixteen chapters.
The nineth chapter of Mark begins with a miraculous moment atop an unnamed “high mountain” (Mark 9:1, Matthew 17:1). The only other time that Jesus appeared on a “high mountain” was during His forty-day battle with Satan. “The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to him, ‘I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me’ ” (Matthew 4:8–9). That, of course, was an empty promise... a lie!
With Peter, James and John as witnesses, Jesus stood at the lofty peak with the kingdoms of His world below him. There, Jesus was miraculously transfigured. Like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly by the process of metamorphosis, Jesus was changed, transformed! In fact, the English word, “transfigured” comes from the Greek word “metemorphothe,” from which we also get the English word “metamorphosis.” Miraculously! “He was transfigured in front of them, and his clothes became dazzling—extremely white as no launderer on earth could whiten them” (Mark 9:2-3).
The three astonished disciples saw something akin to what the prophet Daniel saw when he peered into Heaven’s throne room. “The Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was white like snow, and the hair of his head like whitest wool. His throne was flaming fire”(Daniel 7:9).
John was with Jesus on the high mountain that day. Decades later, as an old man on the Island of Patmos, John saw it again. Jesus was ablaze in His glory! “Then I turned to see ... one like the Son of Man, dressed in a robe and with a golden sash wrapped around his chest. The hair of his head was white as wool—white as snow—and his eyes like a fiery flame. His feet were like fine bronze as it is fired in a furnace, and his voice like the sound of cascading waters ... His face was shining like the sun at full strength” (Revelation 1:12–16).
That was an unforgettable miracle! But that wasn’t all. As the glorified Jesus stood on the high mountain, He was joined by Elijah and Moses. Moses had scaled Mount Nebo fourteen-hundred years earlier (Deuteronomy 34). Elijah had been ushered into heaven in a whirlwind more than eight centuries earlier (2 Kings 2:11). Straight from heaven, these two Old Testament heroes, robed in Heaven’s finest garments, appeared and stood with Jesus. “They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem” (Luke 9:31).
Memorable miracles? Yes! Absolutely. But what marked Peter most indelibly was God’s voice thundering with delight. On that high mountain, Jesus “received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased!’ We ourselves heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain” (2 Peter 1:17–18).
“When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown and were terrified. Jesus came up, touched them, and said, ‘Get up; don’t be afraid.’ When they looked up they saw no one except Jesus alone” (Matthew 17:7). With that, Jesus led His friends back down the mountain to resume His important mission to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.