Let's Talk About The Color of Purity

by Andrea Murdock

Mark 9:2-6

Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain where they were alone. He was transformed in front of them, and his clothes were amazingly bright, brighter than if they had been bleached white. Elijah and Moses appeared and were talking with Jesus. Peter reacted to all of this by saying to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good that we’re here. Let’s make three shrines—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t know how to respond, for the three of them were terrified.

 

Key Passage:

[A]nd his clothes were amazingly bright, brighter than if they had been bleached white. —Mark 9:3

 

Commentary:

White by definition is the absence of color. If a piece of fabric is white, then it reflects all colors away from itself, whereas black absorbs all colors. Perhaps that is why when we look at bright white, it’s glaring. Our eyes are bombarded with all the colors at once. Now, imagine that the whiteness you see is Jesus—Jesus at his most pure, most divine. How impossibly bright would that be?

 

Elsewhere in the Bible, white is used to describe purity, including the previous passage from Isaiah. However, no image is as powerful as that of Jesus in communion with Elijah and Moses at the top of the mountain, as described in this Scripture passage. When we seek to be like Jesus, allowing God’s forgiveness to wash us of our sins, our souls become new, bright, and pure.

 

Questions to Discuss:

How were the Scripture passages and commentary mentioned above misused throughout history to defend the mistreatment of people from various classes, races, and ethnicities?

How do you feel when someone forgives you for a mistake?

What can you do to share God’s forgiveness this week?

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