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Gospel of Mark, 50 - THE DESCENT FROM THE MOUNT (MARK 9:9-13)

By G.A. Chadwick

      "And as they were coming down from the mountain, He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, save when the Son of man should have risen again from the dead. And they kept the saying, questioning among themselves what the rising again from the dead should mean. And they asked Him, saying, The scribes say that Elijah must first come. And He said unto them, Elijah indeed cometh first, and restoreth all things: and how is it written of the Son of man, that He should suffer many things and be set at nought? But I say unto you, that Elijah is come, and they have also done unto him whatsoever they listed, even as it is written of him." MARK 9:9-13 (R.V)

      IN what state of mind did the apostles return from beholding the glory of the Lord, and His ministers from another world? They seem to have been excited, demonstrative, ready to blaze abroad the wonderful event which ought to put an end to all men's doubts.

      They would have been bitterly disappointed, if they had prematurely exposed their experience to ridicule, cross-examination, conjectural theories, and all the controversy which reduces facts to logical form, but strips them of their freshness and vitality. In the first age as in the nineteenth, it was possible to be witnesses for the Lord without exposing to coarse and irreverent handling all the delicate and secret experiences of the soul with Christ.

      Therefore Jesus charged them that they should tell no man. Silence would force back the impression upon the depths of their own spirits, and spread its roots under the surface there.

      Nor was it right to make such a startling demand upon the faith of others before public evidence had been given, enough to make skepticism blameworthy. His resurrection from the dead would suffice to unseal their lips. And the experience of all the Church has justified that decision. The resurrection is, in fact, the center of all the miraculous narratives, the sun which keeps them in their orbit. Some of them, as isolated events, might have failed to challenge credence. But authority and sanction are given to all the rest by this great and publicly attested marvel, which has modified history, and the denial of which makes history at once untrustworthy and incoherent. When Jesus rose from the dead, the whole significance of His life and its events was deepened.

      This mention of the resurrection called them away from pleasant day-dreams, by reminding them that their Master was to die. For Him there was no illusion. Coming back from the light and voices of heaven, the cross before Him was as visible as ever to His undazzled eyes, and He was still the sober and vigilant friend to warn them against false hopes. They however found means of explaining the unwelcome truth away. Various theories were discussed among them, what the rising from the dead should mean, what should be in fact the limit to their silence. This very perplexity, and the chill upon their hopes, aided them to keep the matter close.

      One hope was too strong not to be at least hinted to Jesus. They had just seen Elias. Surely they were right in expecting this interference, as the scribes had taught. Instead of a lonely road pursued by the Messiah to a painful death, should not that great prophet come as a forerunner and restore all things? How then was murderous opposition possible?

      And Jesus answered that one day this should come to pass. The herald should indeed reconcile all hearts, before the great and notable day of the Lord come. But for the present time there was another question. That promise to which they clung, was it their only light upon futurity? Was not the assertion quite as plain that the Son of Man should suffer many things and be set at nought? So far was Jesus from that state of mind in which men buoy themselves up with false hope. No apparent prophecy, no splendid vision, deceived His unerring insight. And yet no despair arrested His energies for one hour.

      But, He added, Elias had already been offered to this generation in vain; they had done to him as they listed. They had re-enacted what history recorded of his life on earth.

      Then a veil dropped from the disciples' eyes. They recognized the dweller in lonely places, the man of hairy garment and ascetic life, persecuted by a feeble tyrant who cowered before his rebuke, and by the deadlier hatred of an adulterous queen. They saw how the very name of Elias raised a probability that the second prophet should be treated "as it is written of" the first.

      If then they had so strangely misjudged the preparation of His way, what might they not apprehend of the issue? So should also the Son of man suffer of them.

      Do we wonder that they had not hitherto recognized the prophet? Perhaps, when all is made clear at last, we shall wonder more at our own refusals of reverence, our blindness to the meaning of noble lives, our moderate and qualified respect for men of whom the world is not worthy.

      How much solid greatness would some of us overlook, if it went with an unpolished and unattractive exterior? Now the Baptist was a rude and abrupt person, of little culture, unwelcome in kings' houses. Yet no greater had been born of woman.

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See Also:
   Gospel of Mark, 1 - THE BEGINNING OF THE GOSPEL (MARK 1:1-6)
   Gospel of Mark, 2 - AT THE JORDAN (MARK 1:7-11)
   Gospel of Mark, 3 - AT THE JORDAN cont. (MARK 1:7-11)
   Gospel of Mark, 4 - THE TEMPTATION (MARK 1:12,13)
   Gospel of Mark, 6 - TEACHING WITH AUTHORITY (MARK 1:21,22)
   Gospel of Mark, 7 - MIRACLES (MARK 1:23)
   Gospel of Mark, 8 - THE DEMONIAC (MARK 1:23-28)
   Gospel of Mark, 9 - A GROUP OF MIRACLES (MARK 1:29-34)
   Gospel of Mark, 10 - JESUS IN SOLITUDE (MARK 1:35-39)
   Gospel of Mark, 11 - THE LEPER (MARK 1:40-45)
   Gospel of Mark, 12 - THE SICK OF THE PALSY (MARK 2:1-12)
   Gospel of Mark, 13 - THE SON OF MAN (MARK 2:10)
   Gospel of Mark, 14 - THE CALL AND FEAST OF LEVI (MARK 2:13-17)
   Gospel of Mark, 16 - THE SABBATH (MARK 2:23-28)
   Gospel of Mark, 17 - THE WITHERED HAND (MARK 3:1-6)
   Gospel of Mark, 18 - THE CHOICE OF THE TWELVE (MARK 3:7-19)
   Gospel of Mark, 19 - CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TWELVE (MARK 3:14-19)
   Gospel of Mark, 20 - THE APOSTLE JUDAS (MARK 3:19)
   Gospel of Mark, 21 - CHRIST AND BEELZEBUB (MARK 3:20-27)
   Gospel of Mark, 22 - "ETERNAL SIN" (MARK 3:28,29)
   Gospel of Mark, 23 - THE FRIENDS OF JESUS (MARK 3:31-35)
   Gospel of Mark, 24 - THE PARABLES (MARK 4:1,2,10-13)
   Gospel of Mark, 25 - THE SOWER (MARK 4:3-9,14-20)
   Gospel of Mark, 26 - THE SOWER cont. (MARK 4:3-9,14-20)
   Gospel of Mark, 27 - LAMP AND STAND (MARK 4:21-25)
   Gospel of Mark, 28 - THE SEED GROWING SECRETLY (MARK 4:26-29)
   Gospel of Mark, 29 - THE MUSTARD SEED (MARK 4:30-34)
   Gospel of Mark, 30 - FOUR MIRACLES (MARK 4:39)
   Gospel of Mark, 31 - THE TWO STORMS (MARK 4:35-41)
   Gospel of Mark, 32 - THE DEMONIAC OF GADARA (MARK 5:1-20)
   Gospel of Mark, 33 - THE MEN OF GADARA (MARK 5:14-20)
   Gospel of Mark, 34 - WITH JAIRUS (MARK 5:21-43)
   Gospel of Mark, 35 - WITH JAIRUS cont. (MARK 5:21-43)
   Gospel of Mark, 36 - REJECTED IN HIS OWN COUNTRY (MARK 6:1-6)
   Gospel of Mark, 37 - THE MISSION OF THE TWELVE (MARK 6:7-13)
   Gospel of Mark, 38 - HEROD (MARK 6:14-29)
   Gospel of Mark, 39 - BREAD IN THE DESERT (MARK 6:30-46)
   Gospel of Mark, 40 - UNWASHEN HANDS (MARK 6:53-7:13)
   Gospel of Mark, 41 - THINGS WHICH DEFILE (MARK 7:14-23)
   Gospel of Mark, 42 - THE CHILDREN AND THE DOGS (MARK 7:24-30)
   Gospel of Mark, 43 - THE DEAF AND DUMB MAN (MARK 7:31-37)
   Gospel of Mark, 44 - THE FOUR THOUSAND (MARK 8:1-10)
   Gospel of Mark, 45 - THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES (MARK 8:11-21)
   Gospel of Mark, 46 - MEN AS TREES (MARK 8:22-26)
   Gospel of Mark, 47 - THE CONFESSION AND THE WARNING (MARK 8:27-32)
   Gospel of Mark, 48 - THE REBUKE OF PETER (MARK 8:32-9:1)
   Gospel of Mark, 49 - THE TRANSFIGURATION (MARK 9:2-8)
   Gospel of Mark, 50 - THE DESCENT FROM THE MOUNT (MARK 9:9-13)
   Gospel of Mark, 51 - THE DEMONIAC BOY (MARK 9:14-29)
   Gospel of Mark, 52 - JESUS AND THE DISCIPLES (MARK 9:28-37)
   Gospel of Mark, 53 - OFFENSES (MARK 9:38-50)
   Gospel of Mark, 54 - DIVORCE (MARK 10:1-12)
   Gospel of Mark, 55 - CHRIST AND LITTLE CHILDREN (MARK 10:13-16)
   Gospel of Mark, 56 - THE RICH INQUIRER (MARK 10:17-22)
   Gospel of Mark, 57 - WHO THEN CAN BE SAVED? (MARK 10:23-31)
   Gospel of Mark, 58 - CHRIST'S CUP AND BAPTISM (MARK 10:35-40)
   Gospel of Mark, 59 - THE LAW OF GREATNESS (MARK 10:41-45)
   Gospel of Mark, 60 - BARTIMAEUS (MARK 10:46-52)
   Gospel of Mark, 61 - THE TRIUMPHANT ENTRY (MARK 11:1-11)
   Gospel of Mark, 62 - THE BARREN FIG-TREE (MARK 11:12-14,20-25)
   Gospel of Mark, 63 - THE SECOND CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE (MARK 11:15-19)
   Gospel of Mark, 64 - THE BAPTISM OF JOHN, WHENCE WAS IT? (MARK 11:27-33)
   Gospel of Mark, 65 - THE HUSBANDMEN (MARK 11:1-12)
   Gospel of Mark, 66 - THE TRIBUTE MONEY (MARK 12:13-17)
   Gospel of Mark, 67 - CHRIST AND THE SADDUCCEES (MARK 12:18-27)
   Gospel of Mark, 68 - THE DISCERNING SCRIBE (MARK 12:28-34)
   Gospel of Mark, 69 - DAVID'S LORD (MARK 12:35-40)
   Gospel of Mark, 70 - THE WIDOW'S MITE (MARK 12:41-44)
   Gospel of Mark, 71 - THINGS PERISHING AND THINGS STABLE (MARK 13:1-7)
   Gospel of Mark, 72 - THE IMPENDING JUDGMENT (MARK 13:8-16)
   Gospel of Mark, 73 - THE CRUSE OF OINTMENT (MARK 14:1-9)
   Gospel of Mark, 74 - THE TRAITOR (MARK 14:10-16)
   Gospel of Mark, 75 - THE SOP (MARK 14:17-21)
   Gospel of Mark, 76 - BREAD AND WINE (MARK 14:22-25)
   Gospel of Mark, 77 - BREAD AND WINE cont. (MARK 14:22-25)
   Gospel of Mark, 78 - THE WARNING (MARK 14:26-31)
   Gospel of Mark, 79 - IN THE GARDEN (MARK 14:32-42)
   Gospel of Mark, 80 - THE AGONY (MARK 14:34-42)
   Gospel of Mark, 81 - THE AGONY cont. (MARK 14:34-42)
   Gospel of Mark, 82 - THE ARREST (MARK 14:43-52)
   Gospel of Mark, 83 - BEFORE CAIAPHAS (MARK 14:53-65)
   Gospel of Mark, 84 - THE FALL OF PETER (MARK 14:66-72)
   Gospel of Mark, 85 - PILATE (MARK 15:1-20)
   Gospel of Mark, 86 - CHRIST CRUCIFIED (MARK 15:21-32)
   Gospel of Mark, 87 - THE DEATH OF JESUS (MARK 15:33-41)
   Gospel of Mark, 88 - CHRIST RISEN (MARK 16:1-18)
   Gospel of Mark, 89 - THE ASCENSION (MARK 16:19-20)


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