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Sarah Walker

Exegesis Notes for Mark 9:2-9 on the Transfiguration of Christ

Six days later


- Refers to Jesus questioning of the disciples as to his identity and Peters affirmation of
Jesus as the Messiah; followed by Jesus first prophecy of his coming crucifixion and
Peters denial of that reality as relates to the Messiah.
- This is a turning part in Marks gospel. It is about halfway through the length of the text,
but immediately follows (and links back to) Jesus first prophecy of crucifixion. This
would have changed everything for the disciples. They were expecting a Messiah who
would be powerful, either as a political leader or as a spiritual leader. Jesus has just
affirmed his identity as the Messiah and used ascriptive logic to redefine what it means to
be the Messiah in a way that hits home to the disciples.
- Moreover, we see Peter going from having exactly the right words (Jesus as Messiah) to
the wrong words (the Messiah cant be crucified), to no words at all later in this passage.
- The fact that this story begins by pointing backwards links this story to the earlier one of
Peters confession and Jesus prophecy. This story must be read as a continuation of that
story. Indeed, this is not a story that can be abstracted from the whole of the gospel, it
must be read and understood in context.

led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves


- An emphasis on the distance between the Jesus with the disciples and everyone else.
- Jesus is not often apart from the crowds with so few people in Marks gospel

And he was transfigured before them


- Transfigured. Mark only uses the Greek word in this verse of his Gospel.
- Matthew uses the same word in his transfiguration account.
- Luke changes and uses a different word.
- Paul uses the word a couple of times in his letters most significantly. to signify
Christians becoming like Christ.
- The word means to change in form. It is unclear exactly what this is comprised of.
o The text goes on to mention clothes being whiter than we have ever seen, but
other than that, even the text seems at a lack of words for this change.

And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses


- Why these two? Seems at first to put Jesus in line with great prophets (perhaps not
more?) until the voice from the cloud says otherwise. Perhaps Mark is correcting a
possible misunderstanding of who Jesus is in his gospel?
- Both encountered God on mountaintops
- Why can we not hear what they are speaking about? Their presence is more important
than their words?

He did not know what to say, for they were terrified


- Referring to Peter, who just said something about staying.
- There does not seem to be much speech in this story, Jesus says nothing until they are on
their way down the mountain, and even then it is to not tell anyone.
Sarah Walker 2
Exegesis Notes
- Moses and Elijah seem to talk with Jesus, but we do not hear what they say.
- God speaks, but is only a voice from a cloud.

Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, This is my Son, the
Beloved; listen to him!
- Confirms Jesus identity
- Voice from a cloud echoes the voice at Jesus baptism that says the same thing a
halfway reminder?
- Who is commanded to listen? Peter and the disciples? The readers? Might this reference
back to Peters denial of Jesus prophecy?

General Notes:
- A high Christology.
- A very passive Jesus compared to the Jesus we encounter in the rest of Marks gospel.
- The lack of words is striking the possible emphasis on presence versus words.
- The desire to set up dwelling places seems normal. We want to construct things, be busy.
- Of course, never get to stay on the mountaintop, always have to go down, find words?