Mark 9:1-10 Jesus told His disciples that some of them would not die until they see until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power. This was referring to Jesus’ transfiguration six days later when He took Peter, James, and John up a high mountain to witness His transformation into Glory as He spoke to Moses and Elijah. Jesus’ clothes became radiant and brightly white. Peter requested to make three tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, saying this because they were so dumbfounded by what they saw. God the Father spoke to the three disciples from heaven and said to listen to His beloved Son. When they looked again, Moses and Elijah had gone and Jesus was back to His unglorified self. Jesus commanded them to tell no one until after He rose from the dead. They did what Jesus asked as they questioned what rising from the dead meant.
Notes: To see the coming of the kingdom of God … with power refers to an anticipation of this future event in the transfiguration, which prefigures the overwhelming glory of Christ in his return. Jesus is greater than both Moses who represents the Law and Elijah who represents the Prophets. Jesus thus fulfills both the Law and the Prophets.
Mark 9:11-20 See Elijah, it prompted the disciples to ask Jesus why the scribes say Elijah must come first before the end of time. Jesus said that Elijah would come first to restore things, but Jesus questione them and asked how then is written that the Son of Man must suffer. (How do they two things reconcile). Jesus said that Elijah has already come (in the form of John the Baptist). Returning to the other disciples, there was a great crowd surrounding them. The scribes were arguing with the other disciples. The crowd ran toward Jesus who asked what they were arguing about. A man said to Jesus that he brought his son that had an unclean spirit to be healed by Him, but because Jesus wasn’t there, had his disciples try instead, but the disciples failed. Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief (whether he was talking to everyone, the father of the boy, or the disciples who could not cast out the demon is unclear). The father brought the boy to Jesus, when upon seeing him, fell to the ground in a convulsion.
Notes: John the Baptist restored all things by preparing the way (Mal. 3:1) for the coming of the ultimate Restorer.
Mark 9:21-30 Jesus asked how long the boy was possessed and the father said since childhood. The father asked that IF Jesus could do anything, to have compassion and help. Jesus said, what do you mean IF? Have faith! The father said that he believed but to help is weak belief. Jesus then commanded the unclean spirit to leave the man as the crowd came closer. The boy was motionless and many thought he died. Jesus picked the boy up by the hand and led him into his father’s home. The disciples asked Jesus in private why they couldn’t cast out the unclean spirit. Jesus said that this type of unclean spirit could only be cast out through prayer. The left the area and passed through Galilee in secret.
Notes: Their failure is an occasion for encouragement to more prayer implying that more time and effort in prayer (and therefore in closer fellowship with God) leads to growth in faith.
anything but prayer. Perhaps overconfident from their earlier successes, the disciples became enamored with their own gifts and neglected to draw on divine power.
Mark 9:31-40 Alone, Jesus taught His disciples that the Son of Man was going to be delivered up and put to death, but will rise in three days. The Apostles didn’t understand and were afraid to ask. As they walked, the disciples argued with each other who would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing what they argued about, said to his 12 Apostles that he who desired to be first must be last and be a servant of to everyone. Jesus put a child in His lap and said that whoever received a little child in His name actually receives Him. John told Jesus he saw someone casting out demons using Jesus’ name, but didn’t actually follow Jesus with the rest of the disciples, so he tried to stop him. Jesus said not to stop him, for all who do mighty works in His name would not later speak evil of Him.
Notes: In conjunction with their messianic expectation of a political liberator, the disciples dream of status, honor, and power, along the lines of the Maccabean revolt.
Mark 9:41-50 The smallest deed, like giving a cup of water to one that belongs to Jesus will be rewarded in the future. If someone who causes one that belongs to Jesus stumble into sin, that person might as well drown himself in the sea. Sin is so deadly, that it is better to cut off the offending part of your body that caused you to sin if it prevented you from entering heaven. Jesus says that everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt loses it flavor, how will you make salt salty again. Jesus told them to have salt in themselves and be at peace with one another.
Notes: Jesus has emphasized that receiving lowly persons in Christ’s name means receiving him (v. 37). Now he warns against causing such people who believe in me to sin, that is, to lead them to disbelief or to transgression of God’s moral laws. Any who do this will receive severe punishment from God (thrown into the sea). This warning applies to anyone who would seek to destroy the faith of a child or a new Christian. No amount of self-mutilation can deal with sin, which is an issue of the heart. The Lord is emphasizing the seriousness of sin and the need to do whatever is necessary to deal with it.
Everyone will be salted with fire The meaning of this difficult verse seems to be that believers are purified through suffering and persecution. The link between salt and fire seems to lie in the OT sacrifices, which were accompanied by salt.
Salt is good. Salt was an essential item in first-century Palestine. In a hot climate, without refrigeration, salt was the practical means of preserving food. Have salt in yourselves. The work of the word and the Spirit produces godly character, enabling a person to act as a preservative in society.