An Advent Journey: When God Became Small — Day Twenty-One

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Mark 9:9-13, The Message

Coming down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy. “Don’t tell a soul what you saw. After the Son of Man rises from the dead, you’re free to talk.” They puzzled over that, wondering what on earth “rising from the dead” meant.

Meanwhile they were asking, “Why do the religion scholars say that Elijah has to come first?”

Jesus replied, “Elijah does come first and get everything ready for the coming of the Son of Man. They treated this Elijah like dirt, much like they will treat the Son of Man, who will, according to Scripture, suffer terribly and be kicked around contemptibly.”

This little snippet of a passage comes at the tail end of one of my favorite gospel narratives: the transfiguration. I love that story for lots of reasons — Jesus glows (!!), three of the disciples are chosen for some extra revelation (and they don’t get it, at all), and most of all? Because Jesus has a very rich, personal encounter with God the Father, who encourages him on the cusp of his coming suffering, who tells his closest followers that Jesus is the one to listen to, the one worth following.

And then, Jesus says the words that I’ve highlighted here: don’t tell anybody! 

Don’t tell anybody? Are you serious? We’ve just had the experience of a lifetime and we cannot talk about it?

But apparently, that isn’t what troubles the disciples here. Oh, no, they’re kind of caught up in the details — the gnarly, religious details. Why do the scholars say . . .

Oh, Lord, deliver me from religious nit-picking!! Help me to stand in awe of who you are, to be blown away by why you came, to stand gap-jawed at your glory. 

And then, let me tell somebody about it, okay?

How I wish I could have been there for this one, Lord! I love reading about it. But there are days when I could really use a heavenly visitation, you know? Please give me the wisdom to know when to speak and when not to speak. And when it’s time to talk, will you help me find the best words? Thank you!

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