Mark 9 Reflection by Lou C
Following right on from Jesus's teaching at the end of chapter 8, that to come to him you have to deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow him; it's becoming clear that the people who Jesus is investing the most in (his disciples) just aren't getting it. The transfiguration surely would have been amazing! Moses represents the law and Elijah is the forerunner to the Messiah, all up a mountain (think Mt Sinai and encountering God's glory again) and Peter doesn't get it.
I loved that on the way down the mountain, Jesus literally tells them that the Son of Man will rise from the dead and then 'they kept the matter to themselves discussing what rising from the dead meant'! More and more it's obvious that the disciples don't quite get it. I often wonder how they could have not understood- Jesus himself was literally telling them! But maybe we easily miss stuff- God is still actively at work in our lives and around us but maybe we just don't grasp the fullness of him.
I also was intrigued by the boy who had the evil spirit in him (versus 14-29). When the boy is bought to Jesus initially, he is thrown to the floor by the demon and 'rolled around foaming at the mouth'. If I was the boy’s dad, I wouldn't be okay with that- he took his son to the disciples who couldn't do anything, and now things seem to look worse with Jesus there. Even in the face of this though he has the boldness to say he believes and asks Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief! What crazy faith. Afterwards, the crowds say the boy is dead because he looked like a corpse. But Jesus has actually just given him life! Maybe pointer to the resurrection, that things might look like they're going from bad to worse but God is working!
My last reflection is about when the disciples are arguing about who is greatest. Jesus has been challenging them to realise who he is (the Messiah), but what that means for him is suffering and ultimately death, whereas for them it doesn't look that way. The disciples again aren't getting it, but Jesus doesn't give up on telling them. Again, God's kingdom does things in an upside-down way- where do we need to think more upside down about things?
Additional thoughts from John H
Perhaps part of what God is saying is that we won't know the fullness of what is happening until later, possibly not until after we've died. Faith+trust are key!