My first Beatles record was ‘Do you want to know a secret.’ 


After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.


A mountain top experience

My first Beatles record was ‘Do you want to know a secret.’  If you don’t know it you can have a listen on the following link.

This short track is the early Beatles in their authentic and unvarnished voice.       

It can also be said that Mark’s short Gospel tells Jesus story in an authentic and unvarnished voice.


While the Beatles sing of a single secret love between boy and girl, chapters 1-9 of Mark’s Gospel speak of God’s love for humanity in an air of secrecy and subterfuge.

Absent from Mark’s Gospel is the Magi’s proclamation to Herod. Likewise, Luke’s story of Anna and Simeon’s recognition of the Messiah and John’s proclamation of the cosmic Christ speaking creation into being are also absent.


Mark’s Jesus emerges in obscurity from the badlands of Galilee. Mark depicts a kind of ‘guerrilla ministry’ with Jesus popping up where he is least expected by the Pharisees sent to keep tabs on this renegade teacher.


Word of Jesus movements seems to be passed below the radar by word of mouth.

‘Listen, do you want to know a secret, do you promise not to tell, (the Pharisees), closer, let me whisper in your ear, say the words you long to hear, God’s in love with you.   And what’s more he’s about to turn up in your village’


No sooner do the Pharisees catch up with Jesus than he disappears again back into the landscape ranging across northern Israel, southern Lebanon and Syria.


Agree with me or not a ‘guerrilla ministry’ would at least answer the puzzling number of times Jesus tells those he has healed to keep quiet and also why he sent disciples out in pairs to quietly spread the word.


Just a few days before this the Holy Spirit has whispered in Peter’s ear that Jesus is the Messiah. But this uplifting revelation is shattered as Jesus reveals his awful fate. What’s more Jesus followers must themselves each take up their cross and follow the same path.



As Peter, James and John set out for the mountain; feelings of confusion and inadequacy were mixed with gratitude that Jesus had chosen to share his private mountain top experience with them. Their spirits lift and their hopes rise with each step as they climb.

 The most likely location was the remote and vast Mount Hermon towering to the east at the head of the Jordan valley.




Image result for Dew of Mt. Hermon













Events on the mountain defy human thought when the senses are submerged within a mystical experience of God in the present moment and through all eternity.


The arrival of Elijah on the mountain suggested the fulfilment of Malachi’s prophecy that the Messiah would arrive just before the end of the world. (Mal 4 v5) which would have been terrifying.


The voice from the cloud ‘This is my son whom I love. Listen to him!’ would have struck them with awe


This remains a magical and transformative moment which Peter foolishly wants to cling to forever.


How typical of the impulsive Peter that he wants to build shelters for Jesus, Elijah and Moses to live in.


But the moment is over all too soon


I wonder whether you have experienced moments when time stood still and you sensed a oneness between yourself and all creation. Remote location away from the anxiety of daily life or indeed moments of desperate need can lead us to such experiences.


Memories of such precious moments give us succour in times of need but we cannot cling to them.


As they descend Jesus tells them not to speak of what they have seen until he is raised from the dead.


This marks the moment Jesus’ guerrilla ministry switches to a public all-out assault on the powers and values of this age. From now on Marks Gospel propels Jesus towards Jerusalem and the road to Calvary. His little band of followers may still seem puny but the heavenly host is with them.


Lent begins next Wednesday when we begin our annual journey towards the cross in Jesus footsteps.


I doubt our churches are presently equipped for a public assault on the values of our age and neither do I sense the reserved English would be receptive.


But we all love a secret even if not all find it easy to keep hold of to them.


But Lent remains the season for us each to spend time with our God in prayer and reflection.


I do pray that in the silence our Lord will share some of his secrets with you and you will share your secrets with him.


Who knows this may be the moment when God prompts you to quietly share his secrets entrusted to you with others around you?  You may even find God was there before you and that person has something the share with you too.

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Page last updated: 12th February 2021 10:56 PM