Today’s readings.. (1 Kings 9), (Jeremiah 35), (Mark 9)
    Jesus said many things his disciples did not at first understand, it was only the events that followed that led to their understanding – and they are explained to them.  This is part of the challenge in reading the Bible – our continuous reading should encourage us to read and search further and increase our understanding. By comparing Scriptures our minds open up to their fuller meaning.  But our motives in this must spring from a contrite heart, we should never ‘boast’ about our understanding to others.  If Scripture was all clearly understood on our first reading we would probably not feel so inclined to read it;, as it is, it is wonderful ‘food’ for thought every day.
   Our chapter in Mark (9) starts with Jesus saying, “Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”  What does he mean?  The meaning is revealed 6 days later when Jesus takes 3 of them “up a high mountain by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them.” [v.2]  He is the king, and a foretaste of his kingly glory is experienced. 
    Not only that – but “there appeared to them Moses and Elijah and they were talking with Jesus ….(the disciples) were terrified.” [v.4,6]   So they saw a “vision” (Matt. 17 v.9) of future glory – and this would also have strengthened our Lord for the ordeal that lay ahead. We must not think of our Lord as some kind of ‘superman’.  Heb. 5 v.7-9 tells us how “Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears …”
    As they come down from the mountain Jesus tells them “to tell no-one what they had seen, until the son of man had risen from the dead.” [v.9].  They did not know “what this rising from the dead might mean” [v.10] He later said, “after three days he will rise.’ But they did not understand …” [v.32]. It is all very well to be wise after the event, but put yourself into the disciples shoes!  Would we have been any better? We live at the climax of the ages, certain coming events are clearly stated, but how exactly they are going to unfold we cannot know – and if we think that we do, we are unwise.
    The chapter ends with Jesus using symbolic language as to why some will not be in the kingdom. He says “for everyone will be salted with fire.” [v.49]  Purified? The disciples are told, “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” [v.50]  On another occasion Jesus told the disciples, “You are the salt of the earth” [Matt. 5 v.13] A true relationship with God brings peace, but so few seem to have such a relationship today? The “salt of the earth” is now so diluted!  Christ’s original message now has so little effect; the scene of faithlessness adds to our feeling that Christ is at the door, read Matt 25 v. 6-10.