Coming Down From The Mountain: Mark 9:9-13
“9) As they were coming down from the mountain, He gave them orders not to relate to anyone what they had seen, until the Son of Man rose from the dead. 10) They seized upon that statement, discussing with one another what rising from the dead meant. 11) They asked Him, saying, “Why is it that the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 12) And He said to them, “Elijah does first come and restore all things. And yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13) But I say to you that Elijah has indeed come, and they did to him whatever they wished, just as it is written of him.”” Mark‬ ‭9‬:‭9‬-‭13‬
This is an instructional text. Jesus did not waste the return trip from the mountain. He spent the time processing with them and preparing them for what was soon going to take place.
The paramount topic was His coming death, burial and resurrection. Preparing them for this event had become a reoccurring theme for Jesus. (See Mark 8:31-33, Matthew 17:22-23, Matthew 20:17-19, Matthew 29:18-19, Mark 14:27-28) He rehearsed this theme over and over again to prepare them before it happened.
Yet, they did not understand or accept this teaching from Jesus. This was the theme Peter rebuked Jesus for giving (Mark 8:31-33), yet it is the core of the gospel. (John 3:10-21)
The fact of the resurrection was often tied to this discussion. Death is a common human experience. Though a few people were raised back to life in the Bible and through the ministry of Jesus, this was going to be an extraordinary event. (Review John 11:1-53) Jesus is indeed the resurrection and the life.
Peter, James and John then started unpacking their theological understanding by asking Jesus about the teaching of the Scribes related to the coming of Elijah prior to the return of the Messiah. This may have been a reference to Malachi 4:5-6.
In this discussion, Jesus connected Elijah to the forerunner ministry of John the Baptist. (See Matthew 17:19-13) Keep in mind, these three had also just witnessed Elijah and Moses appearing to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.
But what about prior to the second return of Jesus to set up His earthly kingdom? Will Elijah have another forerunner role in the end times? Many see Elijah and Moses as the two witnesses talked about in Revelation 11:3-13. This will also fulfill Malachi 4:5-6.
This is an example of dual nature of some prophecy. A prophecy can apply to more than one occasion. Though the Scribes has some things right, they missed many of the dual fulfillments of prophecy related to both the first and second coming of the Messiah. They were separate events.
But let’s shift our focus for a moment. How long do you suppose it took Jesus and His disciples to descend from the mountain? The time frame is not mentioned, but Jesus took advantage of the time to process what had just happened. This is part of disciple-making.
Debriefing is often where the most growth takes place. Take time to reflect, rehearse and squeeze meaning out of your encounters with God and key people in your life. There is a great blessing for those who practice journaling.
Debriefing goes beyond what happened to answer the questions: “1) What does it mean?” 2) What can I learn from this experience? 3) How does it apply to me?
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

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