There appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
— Mark 9:4
I remember well the summer of 1977 when my father prepared for heart surgery. Medical tests were completed. Plans were made on how the family farm would work during his absence and recovery. But another type of preparation was also under way. I remember a person visiting who had recovered from open-heart surgery. That person testified to what the experience was like, and that encouraged my dad and our family.
In our Bible reading today, we see that Jesus receives some unusual visitors in the dazzling brightness of heaven. We don’t know what they talk about, but this visit with Moses, Elijah, and God the Father is surely an encouragement to Jesus on his mission. Both Moses and Elijah met with God on a mountain at different times many years earlier, and they were encouraged in their work (see Exodus 33 and 1 Kings 19).
Peter, James, and John are eyewitnesses to this meeting, and they are frightened. They can even see Moses and Elijah. Peter, not knowing what to say or do, suggests building some shelters, but then God speaks to them urgently: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Jesus has already told his disciples that he will be killed and then rise again (Mark 8:31). And God is urging them to prepare for this change that is coming for Jesus—and ultimately for them and us. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus change everything. Are we listening too?
God of heaven and earth, may we be encouraged by all that Jesus has done to provide us full life. Amen.
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