“On Your Mark”
The Spirit of Elijah (Chapter 9 Verses 2-13)
Meanwhile coming down the mountain (vv9-13). Jesus instructs them to remain silent, because the others hearing of this phenomenal experience might be gripped with the wrong idea about him and desire along with the Jews to make him an earthly ruler. They all, have much to learn yet. The time would come after Jesus had been raised and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, all these experiences, along with the Lord’s teaching would be understood fully. The time would come, and was fast approaching, when these men’s lips would be opened with great power and boldness (Acts 1.8). Both proclaiming and writing these things for future generations. The thought of resurrection begins a discussion amongst them (v10). It seems the discussion was more of a dispute, it really is not to the credit of the disciples to be arguing about spiritual matters. Jesus often intervenes in these heated debates. It is good to talk about our faith, about the things of the Lord, but surely a mark of maturity in faith is when we can discuss things without heat, graciously, warmly, without falling out, without hurting, harming each other. We may disagree, but in love, because if there is not that, Paul says, there is nothing (1Corinthians 13.1-3).
The disciples had just witnessed Elijah on the mountain (v11-12). Now Elijah they know, must first come, before Messiah (Malachi 4.5-6). So if he has come, there is no need for Jesus to suffer, die, and rise again? And of course why remain silent? If this appearing of Elijah is the fulfilment of prophecy, then surely it ought to be proclaimed, not stifled? Jesus explains (vv12-13). The phrase it is written, means it stands written in holy Scripture, indelibly, and can never be changed. There are certain things written about Jesus and the Baptist, one is Jesus rejection (Mark 8.31; Isaiah 53.3), it must be. The second is the Baptist’s preparatory ministry for the coming Messiah, spiritual restoration, bringing the people to repentance and faith. Jesus says that Elijah has already come, in the Baptist, just as it was written, and they murdered him (Luke 7.30; John 1.19). That all these things were written and have come to pass, just as they were indeed written, surely is a great encouragement to our faith. The mark of authentic prophecy God says, is that that which is prophesied actually comes to pass (Deuteronomy 18.19-22). Therefore, the entirety of the gospel message, prophetically announced in the Old Testament, and fulfilled in the New, is authentic (John 17.17).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)