An Advent Journey: Reflections for Weary Travelers — Day Twenty-One


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.”

Peterson, once again, nails it. The scene for this small interchange is the Mount of Transfiguration and those three close disciples have just seen something that made the eyes bug out of their heads. And then . . . Jesus orders them to shut up about it. Say what? We just saw you shining like lightening and Elijah and Moses coming alongside, having a little sidebar with you, and now we cannot talk about it?? Exactly.

Mark has Jesus tell his disciples to keep quiet frequently. Scholars call it “the Messianic secret,” and it’s an interesting part of Mark’s viewpoint. Clearly, they don’t keep all those secrets terribly well, do they? And they don’t understand Jesus’s logic for this particular secret-keeping at all. Rising from the dead? What the heck does that mean?

But they found out, didn’t they? And then all those other warnings came flooding back, all those secrets — the ones they kept and the ones they didn’t — and they began talking about them and writing them down. So now, we have them. Isn’t that wonderful? 

Personally, I think Jesus still shows up secretly. A lot. In the midst of ugliness, suddenly there is a spot of beauty. In the midst of despair, there is a shaft of hope. Just glimpses, that’s usually all we get. But eventually, those glimpses will grow and grow and grow, until the time is here when ALL will be revealed. That’s what Advent is about, you know. Yes, we wait for the baby. But we wait for the Risen Savior, too. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Help us to wait well, Lord. Help us to look for you in the secret places  you show up between now and then. And open our hearts and our arms to those small moments of grace, goodness, beauty and love that make life worth living. Help us to bring them as well as to see them, Lord God. Make us hope-bringers and love-givers.

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  1. Yes, Diana, I think Jesus continues to show up secretly in our lives. May we stay ever watchful for those splendid moments!

  2. Amen!!! I absolutely love this, Diana. Thank you! xox

    • You’re welcome, Patricia! Thank YOU for the share yesterday — that meant a lot to me. I write these seasonal daily devotionals primarily as a spiritual discipline for myself and I am always grateful when they are helpful to others. To have you acknowledge that in the internet world was humbling and I am grateful.

  3. Oh Yes Diana , He does sho up in secret places. Today it was a text 🙂

  4. Marsha Goller says

    I agree too! I do, however, need reminding to watch and wait and to have eyes to see Him when he shows up secretly. Reading in the word and reading devotions like this help me to keep my focus and pay attention to Jesus in my life. I have so appreciated and needed these beautiful writings. They have blessed me and reminded me this Advent season. Thank you!

    • We all need reminding, Marsha. It’s so easy to forget, to get distracted or feel overwhelmed by whatever responsibilities that are ours to bear. I write these devos to help me remember – and I’m always glad when they help someone else to do that, too.