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Bible Study Guide for Sunday February 14, 2021

February 11, 2021
  • 2 Kings 2:1-12
  • Psalm 50:1-6
  • 2 Corinthians 4:3-6
  • Mark 9:2-9

Our Gospel reading today skips to the center of Mark’s Gospel. In the Sundays since Epiphany, our readings have been from the beginning of Jesus’s ministry as he calls the disciples, shows his power by casting out demons, and begins to proclaim the Kingdom of God.  Now we jump from chapter 1 to chapter 9, in anticipation of the beginning of Lent.  In Mark, the first half of the Gospel builds up to Peter’s declaration that “You are the Messiah.” (Mark 8:29).  After that turning point in the Gospel, everything is building towards the Cross.  After Peter’s declaration, Jesus tells his followers that they must expect to take up a cross and follow him (the lectionary will get to that passage in a couple weeks) and then we come to today’s reading, the Transfiguration.

At this point in the Gospel, everything is beginning to be fulfilled.  Here Moses and Elijah appear next to Jesus, as these two were expected to usher in the Messiah. God had promised to raise up another prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15) and as we see in today’s first reading, Elijah never actually died but instead was carried off in a fiery chariot. Due to his dramatic exit, people were expecting Elijah to return before the Day of the Lord. Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, ends by telling the people to remember Moses and look for Elijah. (Malachi 4:4-5) And now here they both are.  The Kingdom is truly at hand.  Peter wants to build dwellings and stay there, but they can’t because Jesus still has work to do.  They need to come down from the mountain and head toward Jerusalem.  The disciples’ job is not to simply to recognize Jesus and passively adore him but to listen to him and then do what he says. 

Jesus is saying a lot of confusing and frightening things.  He promises hope but it’s a hope that comes through suffering and death.  Often it would seem more convenient to have a different Messiah.  But we don’t have a convenient Messiah.  We have Jesus, who keeps talking about his own death and tells his disciples to expect to take up their own crosses.  This is God’s beloved son.  Listen to him.

  • In the Transfiguration, Jesus’ identity and purpose become clear.  Have there been times when God’s presence was especially clear to you?  What happened?
  • Right after Jesus has said some hard and frightening things, God speaks from the cloud to say “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him.” This past year has been especially hard and frightening for a lot of us.  How should we be listening to Jesus in this season?

Author - Kristen Filipic


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