And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean.
And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.” Mark 9:9-13
On the way down the mountain of transfiguration, Jesus tells the three not to mention what they have seen until after he rises from the dead (the Messianic Secret). The boys have no clue what this means yet, but they listen to him. Note: This is now the second prediction of his death, and it also includes a resurrection statement in the mix.
Then comes the strange exchange about Elijah. The expectation from the scriptures is that Elijah will come as a forerunner of the Messiah. Jesus drops the bomb that “Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.” If you’re looking for an Old Testament reference to a prophetic quote about this, you won’t find one. This statement points to an entire storyline about King Ahab and Queen Jezebel (a match made in Hell) and how they made Elijah’s life miserable. (See 1 Kings 16-21) Jesus refers to King Herod and Herodias (another match made in Hell) who were responsible for John the Forerunner’s imprisonment and death. In other words, Jesus is declaring that John is the forerunning prophet of the Messiah (Son of Man), and Jesus is all that!
I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. There are some mysteries about Jesus that we will not know or understand until the final resurrection when he returns unless, of course, we are still alive when he comes! We have to be comfortable not knowing everything.
Son of Man,
You are mysterious and wonderful. Help us live with not knowing certain things about you, for we will eventually see you fully!
I pray in the name of the Resurrected One. Amen!