Mark Chapter 9
Read verse 1 . The meaning is that some of them will see God’s power before they die. The next verse tells how this happened.
Read verses 2 and 3 . On the mountain, the appearance of Jesus changed.
Read verse 4 . These two men lived in the time of the Old Testament. Elijah lived about 700 years before Christ, and Moses lived about 1400 years before Christ. It is very unusual that God allowed them to leave heaven for a short time and talk to Jesus on this mountain, because usually people can not come back from the dead and make contact with people on earth ( look at II Corinthians 5 : 6 to 8 ).
Many people did not want to believe in Jesus because they thought that Jesus taught new ideas that were in conflict with their faith, which was based on the Old Testament. Therefore it is very important that these two men stood next to Jesus, to show that they supported him and that there was no conflict between Jesus and the Old testament teachings. Moses was the one who gave God’s law to the Jewish people. Because he stood next to Jesus, he showed that he supported the things that Jesus said about the law. For example, Jesus said that when we hate someone, we are disobeying Moses’ command ” Do not kill ” ( look at Matthew 5 : 21 and the first part of 22 ).
Elijah was a prophet who did many miracles and healed many people. Because he stood next to Jesus and supported him, everyone can know that the same God which helped Elijah do meracles is the God that sent Jesus.
Read 5 and 6 . Peter’s response was not suitable. The fact that he wanted to build small places to honor Moses and Elijah shows that he did not honor Moses and Elijah. Moses and Elijah appeared so that people would accept and honor Jesus.
Read verse 7 . This sentence is very similar to mark 1 : 11 . God is talking. The word ” son ” comes from Psalm 2 : 7 , and the idea that God loves this son comes from Isaiah 42 : 1 . By using these two concepts, God wants everyone to know that Jesus is the savior who was promised in the Old Testament. When God said ” listen to him “, God meant that Jesus had a message which will complete the message brought by Moses and Elijah. There is no conflict with Moses and Elijah, but the message of Jesus is more complete, and so Jesus is the standard for understanding God’s will ; Moses and Elijah are no longer the standard. Look at John 1 : 17 .
Read 8 and 9 . Jesus did not want them to tell others, because he knew other people would misunderstand, just like Peter misunderstood. But after Jesus rose from the dead, then people would know that Jesus is God, and people then will be able to understand the purpose that Moses why Moses and Elijah appeared : to show that the God who raised Jesus from the dead is the same God that the Jews worshipped in the Old Testament times. This story can help Jewish to accept Jesus.
Read 10 . This verse shows that the disciples did not expect Jesus to rise from the dead. Therefore it does not make sense to say that the disciples stole Jesus’ body from the grave and made up a lie that Jesus rose from the dead.
Read 11 to 13 . There was a prophecy in the Old Testament that someone like Elijah will appear before the Messiah comes. This prophecy is in the last chapter of the Old Testament ” Malachi 4 : 5. This prophecy does not refer to the real Elijah, who talked with Jesus on the mountain. In Matthew 17 : 11
to 13, Jesus explains who this person like Elijah really is.
Read 14 t0 18 . The father did the right thing when he asked the disciples to save his son from the evil spirit, because Jesus had given his disciples the power to cast out evil spirits ( see mark 6 : 7 ). So it is very surprising that the disciples could not help this case. The purpose of the story is to tell the reason why the disciples had difficulty. The next verse tells the answer :
Read 19 . Jesus knew that the reason why the disciples could not get rid of the evil spirit was because they did not have enough faith.
Read 25 to 27 . When Jesus tells an evil spirit to come out, the evil spirit must obey, because Jesus is stronger than evil spirits.
Read Read 28 and 29 . A person who lives by faith will naturally pray, and he will not allow his work to be limited by his body’s commands ; if there is a need, he is able to skip eating in order to do God’s work.
Read 30 to 32 . Jesus was not surprised when people nailed him to the cross ; he knew that it was going to happen. He told about it before it happened, so that people would know that he had the power to see into the future. This will encourage people to believe in him. But notice that the disciples did not understand what he was talking about. If they could not understand, then certainly the common people would not be able to understand, so therefore he did not want to talk to them about it. But after Jesus rose from the dead, then the disciples remembered that Jesus had told them about this a long time before it happened, and this helped them to have more faith in Him. Look at the words that the angel spoke when the disciples found the empty tomb : see Luke 24 : 6 – 8 .
Read 33 . Capernaum is a city on the north coast of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus knew that the disciples had beenj arguing, and he knew what they were arguing about, and he wanted to teach them an important lesson, so he decided to bring up the topic. The next verse tells us how this happened.
Read 34 and 35 . Even though they didn’t tell Jesus, he already knew what they were arguing about. He then taught them that the purpose of life is to be a servent. Jesus had this same purpose.
Read 36 and 37 . Jesus uses a child as an example of someone who does not care about being great. The meaning here is expressed in more direct language in Matthew 18 : 4 .
Read 38 to 40 : Jesus’ purpose is that people will believe him and follow him. In this case, the man who is using Jesus’ name does not know Jesus yet, but because he is interested, hopefully he will know Jesus in the future, so there is no need to criticise him.
Read 41 . Maybe we see someone who is weak and unimportant, and so we decide to ignore him. This is not right. We don’t look at a person’s outward position, but we recognize that Jesus loves everyone, so we should love everyone.
Read 42 . If you say to a small child, ” You are stupid to believe in God. There is no God. When you are older, you will understand “, God will punish you for harming the faith of this small child.
Read 42 to 48 . Most scholars understand this as a figure of speech. We do not recommend that you cut off your hand. The meaning is that it is very terrible and serious for us to commit sin. We must seriously fight against sin, and when we sin we must repent. These verses also show us that Jesus taught that hell is real, and that hell is terrible. Jesus hopes that people will believe in Him, so that they will be with Hi in eternal life.
Read 49 . This sentence refers to the Old Testament custom of putting salt on a sacrifice. When we fight against sin, we are offering ourselves to God just like sacrifices ( Romans 12 : 1 ) . Of course this may cause us some pain, but it is worth it. By fighting sin, we are escaping the greater pain of eternal separation from God.
Read 50 . This is the same concept as Matthew 5 : 13 . Salt has the ability to preserve food and to give a good taste. Christians are supposed to have the same function in the world. By their prayers, they preserve order in society ( see I Timothy 2 : 1 – 2 ) , and by their behavior they help others. The problem is that many Christians don’t do these things, so Jesus here is encouraging them to perform the function they are supposed to perform in the world, so that they can be a good influence on other people.