Masterclass: The Gospel of Mark

Part 9: The Bigger Picture

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So often we live for the temporary. We spend so much of our time focused on the things of this world that will not last. We become consumed with money, shopping, sports, and more. And, while these things are not bad in and of themselves, they can take our eyes off of the Bigger Picture. Jesus wants us to focus on Him. He gives us glimpses of the eternal that really matters. There are only three things that are eternal: God, His Word, and people. Where are you investing your life? As a disciple of Jesus, invest your life in what will last forever. Focus on Jesus.

The Best of Your Life is Still to Come

Did you know that, as a Christian, the best of your life is still to come? To be clear, we mean in eternity. Since we live in a broken and fallen world, there’s no promise that tomorrow will be easy, if we get a tomorrow at all. Remember that Jesus didn’t say there might be trouble; He said in this world there will be trouble. But we know something else for certain — in heaven, all things will be perfect. All pain, illness, and hurt will be no more, and our Lord will wipe away every tear from our eyes. The separation that sin has driven between man and God will be no more, as we are freed from the sinful urges of the flesh and live forever in the love of our Father. 

If you have put your faith in Christ Jesus, your eternity has already begun. Think about how freely and joyously you could live if you fully embraced that truth! Whatever difficulty you face in the remaining time you have in your earthly life will pale in comparison to the goodness of all eternity to follow. 

A Glimpse of Heaven 

Peter, James, and John had an incredible glimpse into the glory of God, which we will all experience together one day in heaven. We hear an account of this moment in Mark 9:2-12, which describes The Transfiguration. The word transfigure means “to transform into something more beautiful or elevated.” On a mountain top, Jesus was transfigured before these three disciples, with His clothes turning dazzling white. Beside Him were Moses and Elijah, who represented the Law and the Prophets, respectively. Jesus was shone in the center, signifying that He is greater, because He had come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. The voice of God then spoke to them, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him.” And in that moment, only Jesus was visible to them.

God presented Jesus to His disciples during The Transfiguration to encourage them. He was confirming to them Jesus’ authority and His relationship with God the Father. He also was giving them a brief peek at what is heavenly and eternal — Moses and Elijah had died earthly deaths, but yet, here they were! Now, we don’t wake up every morning expecting to witness The Transfiguration for ourselves, but we should be on the lookout for glimpses of the bigger picture from God throughout our life. Perhaps you will see it during a baptism, or in a child’s selfless act, or in the unexplainable peace of Christians around you experiencing affliction. 

When Peter, James, and John heard the voice of God, the only person they could see was Jesus. God told them to listen to Jesus, and He wants us all to do the same! Consider what it would take for you to see only Jesus, as if He were illuminated in dazzling white before you. How wonderful would the sight be if we could look away from the things of this world? And consider how you can help others to see Jesus just as clearly. Let us not block the light of Jesus, but get out of the way so others can see! 

Help Me Overcome My Unbelief

Later in chapter 9, a man brings his demon-possessed son before the disciples, but they are unable to drive out the demon. When the man then brings his son before Jesus, he tells Him that his son has been afflicted since childhood, and asks, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24-24

Jesus then drove out the spirit, and lifted the boy to his feet. This is another miraculous display of Jesus’ power, but it may also leave us feeling like we can identify with the caring father. Desperate to find help for his son, he turned to the followers of a man rumored to do the impossible. And when they failed, he fell before Jesus Himself. But even after this extended pursuit of relief, the man let slip from his mouth the lack of faith in his heart. He was, no doubt, shaken by the disciples’ inability. 

We, too, may feel like our faith wavers at times. We, too, may temporarily forget God’s promises, which are so good that they can ring untrue. We can find it tempting to interpret His “no” or “not yet” as a lack of power or benevolence on His part. Intellectually, we may know that our God is almighty and good, but when we are in the valleys of life, the truth may not be on the forefront of our hearts. The good news is that even struggles with doubt can be placed before God, and we can ask Him to help strengthen our faith. Jesus responded to this plea then, and He will respond to ours now.


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