Mark 9

1 Then he drove it home by saying, "This isn't pie in the sky by and by. Some of you who are standing here are going to see it happen, see the kingdom of God arrive in full force." In a Light-Radiant Cloud
2 Six days later, three of them did see it. Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes.
3 His clothes shimmered, glistening white, whiter than any bleach could make them.
4 Elijah, along with Moses, came into view, in deep conversation with Jesus.
5 Peter interrupted, "Rabbi, this is a great moment! Let's build three memorials - one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah."
6 He blurted this out without thinking, stunned as they all were by what they were seeing.
7 Just then a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and from deep in the cloud, a voice: "This is my Son, marked by my love. Listen to him."
8 The next minute the disciples were looking around, rubbing their eyes, seeing nothing but Jesus, only Jesus.
9 Coming down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy. "Don't tell a soul what you saw. After the Son of Man rises from the dead, you're free to talk."
10 They puzzled over that, wondering what on earth "rising from the dead" meant.
11 Meanwhile they were asking, "Why do the religion scholars say that Elijah has to come first?"
12 Jesus replied, "Elijah does come first and get everything ready for the coming of the Son of Man. They treated this Elijah like dirt, much like they will treat the Son of Man, who will, according to Scripture, suffer terribly and be kicked around contemptibly."
14 When they came back down the mountain to the other disciples, they saw a huge crowd around them, and the religion scholars cross-examining them.
15 As soon as the people in the crowd saw Jesus, admiring excitement stirred them. They ran and greeted him.
16 He asked, "What's going on? What's all the commotion?"
17 A man out of the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought my mute son, made speechless by a demon, to you.
18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and goes stiff as a board. I told your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they couldn't."
19 Jesus said, "What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here."
20 They brought him. When the demon saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a seizure, causing him to writhe on the ground and foam at the mouth.
21 He asked the boy's father, "How long has this been going on?"
22 Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!"
23 Jesus said, "If? There are no 'ifs' among believers. Anything can happen."
24 No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, "Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!"
25 Seeing that the crowd was forming fast, Jesus gave the vile spirit its marching orders: "Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you - Out of him, and stay out!"
26 Screaming, and with much thrashing about, it left. The boy was pale as a corpse, so people started saying, "He's dead."
27 But Jesus, taking his hand, raised him. The boy stood up.
28 After arriving back home, his disciples cornered Jesus and asked, "Why couldn't we throw the demon out?"
29 He answered, "There is no way to get rid of this kind of demon except by prayer."
30 Leaving there, they went through Galilee. He didn't want anyone to know their whereabouts,
31 for he wanted to teach his disciples. He told them, "The Son of Man is about to be betrayed to some people who want nothing to do with God. They will murder him. Three days after his murder, he will rise, alive."
32 They didn't know what he was talking about, but were afraid to ask him about it.
33 They came to Capernaum. When he was safe at home, he asked them, "What were you discussing on the road?"
34 The silence was deafening - they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest.
35 He sat down and summoned the Twelve. "So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all."
36 He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said,
37 "Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me - God who sent me."
38 John spoke up, "Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn't in our group."
39 Jesus wasn't pleased. "Don't stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down.
40 If he's not an enemy, he's an ally.
41 Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.
42 "On the other hand, if you give one of these simple, childlike believers a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you'll soon wish you hadn't. You'd be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck.
43 "If your hand or your foot gets in God's way, chop it off and throw it away. You're better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owner of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire.
47 And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away.
48 You're better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty vision from inside the fire of hell.
49 "Everyone's going through a refining fire sooner or later,
50 but you'll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames. Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace."

Mark 9 Commentary

Chapter 9

The transfiguration. (1-13) An evil spirit cast out. (14-29) The apostles reproved. (30-40) Pain to be preferred to sin. (41-50)

Verses 1-13 Here is a prediction of the near approach Christ's kingdom. A glimpse of that kingdom was given in the transfiguration of Christ. It is good to be away from the world, and alone with Christ: and how good to be with Christ glorified in heaven with all the saints! But when it is well with us, we are apt not to care for others, and in the fulness of our enjoyments, we forget the many wants of our brethren. God owns Jesus, and accepts him as his beloved Son, and is ready to accept us in him. Therefore we must own and accept him as our beloved Saviour, and must give up ourselves to be ruled by him. Christ does not leave the soul, when joys and comforts leave it. Jesus explained to the disciples the prophecy about Elias. This was very suitable to the ill usage of John Baptist.

Verses 14-29 The father of the suffering youth reflected on the want of power in the disciples; but Christ will have him reckon the disappointment to the want of faith. Very much is promised to our believing. If thou canst believe, it is possible that thy hard heart may be softened, thy spiritual diseases may be cured; and, weak as thou art, thou mayest be able to hold out to the end. Those that complain of unbelief, must look up to Christ for grace to help them against it, and his grace will be sufficient for them. Whom Christ cures, he cures effectually. But Satan is unwilling to be driven from those that have been long his slaves, and, when he cannot deceive or destroy the sinner, he will cause him all the terror that he can. The disciples must not think to do their work always with the same ease; some services call for more than ordinary pains.

Verses 30-40 The time of Christ's suffering drew nigh. Had he been delivered into the hands of devils, and they had done this, it had not been so strange; but that men should thus shamefully treat the Son of man, who came to redeem and save them, is wonderful. Still observe that when Christ spake of his death, he always spake of his resurrection, which took the reproach of it from himself, and should have taken the grief of it from his disciples. Many remain ignorant because they are ashamed to inquire. Alas! that while the Saviour teaches so plainly the things which belong to his love and grace, men are so blinded that they understand not his sayings. We shall be called to account about our discourses, and to account for our disputes, especially about being greater than others. Those who are most humble and self-denying, most resemble Christ, and shall be most tenderly owned by him. This Jesus taught them by a sign; whoever shall receive one like this child, receives me. Many have been like the disciples, ready to silence men who have success in preaching to sinners repentance in Christ's name, because they follow not with them. Our Lord blamed the apostles, reminding them that he who wrought miracles in his name would not be likely to hurt his cause. If sinners are brought to repent, to believe in the Saviour, and to live sober, righteous, and godly lives, we then see that the Lord works by the preacher.

Verses 41-50 It is repeatedly said of the wicked, Their worm dieth not, as well as, The fire is never quenched. Doubtless, remorse of conscience and keen self-reflection are this never-dying worm. Surely it is beyond compare better to undergo all possible pain, hardship, and self-denial here, and to be happy for ever hereafter, than to enjoy all kinds of worldly pleasure for a season, and to be miserable for ever. Like the sacrifices, we must be salted with salt; our corrupt affections must be subdued and mortified by the Holy Spirit. Those that have the salt of grace, must show they have a living principle of grace in their hearts, which works out corrupt dispositions in the soul that would offend God, or our own consciences.

Mark 9 Commentaries

Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.