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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Mark 9

 

 

Verse 1

Mark 9:1Comments - In Mark 9:1 Jesus Christ refers to the Day of Pentecost when the early believers will be filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. They will "see" the Kingdom of God coming in power as the Holy Spirit manifests Himself as cloven tongues of fire resting upon each individual, and the Jews will see and hear them speak their own foreign languages.

How does the kingdom of God come? Luke 17:20-21 says that it does not come with observation, but that it comes in us and is within us.

Luke 17:20-21, "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

Paul says that the kingdom of God is revealed in power:

1 Corinthians 4:19-21, "But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?"


Verses 2-13

Jesus On the Mount of Transfiguration ( Matthew 17:1-13, Luke 9:28-36) - Mark 9:2-13 records the story of Jesus with of His three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Mark 9:7Comments - The voice of God the Father spoke from Heaven to mankind on a number of occasions. God spoke to King Nebuchadnezzar when he took his mind from him for a season ( Daniel 4:31). God spoke from Heaven at the water baptism of His Son Jesus Christ ( Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22). God spoke to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration ( Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35-36, 2 Peter 1:17-18). God spoke to Jesus when He rode into Jerusalem before His Passion ( John 12:28-29). Jesus spoke to Paul from Heaven on the road to Damascus ( Acts 9:3-7).

Mark 9:12-13Comments - The Sufferings of John and the Messiah - The phrase "as it is written of him" is unique to the Gospels and implies that the Old Testament Scriptures predicted the sufferings of John the Baptist. However, there is no clear Old Testament prophecy about John's suffering and death. 110] Scholars have proposed a number of interpretations as to the meaning of this phrase. (1) The Sufferings of John/Jesus- Heinrich Meyer suggests that Mark 9:12-13 forms a syllogism describing the sufferings of John the Baptist in conjunction with those prophesies of the suffering of the Messiah. 111] The sufferings of John the Baptist simply point to the fact that the Messiah will suffer in a similar manner. It is possible that the sequence of events described in Mark 9:12 are repeated and reflected in Mark 9:13, so that the phrase "as it is written of him" encompasses the suffering of John and the Messiah. Craig Evans supports this view, and describes the similar fates of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ as an "intertwining of materials." 112] (2) The Sufferings of John/Elijah- Ezra Gould proposes a second view that the phrase "as it is written of him" refers to statements in the Old Testament about the suffering of Elijah. 113] In other words, the Jews persecuted John the Baptist in the same way the Scriptures mention the sufferings of Elijah ( 1 Kings 18:17 f; 1 Kings 19:1 f).

110] Craig A. Evans, Mark 8:27-16:20, in Word Biblical Commentary, vol 34B (Dallas, Texas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Mark 9:13.

111] Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Gospels of Mark -, Luke , trans. Robert Ernest Wallis, William P. Dickson, and Matthew B. Riddle, in Critical and Exegetical Handbook on the New Testament, ed. Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer (New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1893), 111-113.

112] Craig A. Evans, Mark 8:27-16:20, in Word Biblical Commentary, vol 34B (Dallas, Texas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Mark 9:13.

113] Ezra P. Gould, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Mark , in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1896), 166.


Verses 14-29

Jesus Heals the Epileptic Boy ( Matthew 17:14-20, Luke 9:37-43 a) - Mark 9:14-29 records the account of Jesus healing the young boy who had epileptic seizures. It is important to understand this story within the context of Mark's Gospel. Jesus began Him ministry by preaching the Gospel with signs following. He then appointed twelve apostles and sent them out to do the same. Now that they had been with Him for some time, Jesus expects them to have delivered this boy with epilepsy. Instead, they failed and received a rebuke from Jesus because of their unbelief.

Mark 9:18Comments - The disciples has been casting out demons when Jesus sent them out by twos. They clearly understood the necessity of using the name of Jesus during exorcism since they will soon complain to Jesus that a man was casting out demons in Jesus' name who was not in their group ( Mark 9:38). The disciples will later ask Jesus why they could not cast out the demon and He will respond by explaining that this demon does not come out without prayer and fasting. It seems that some demons were more stubborn and resistant than others.

Luke 10:17, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."

Mark 9:38, "And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us."

Mark 9:19Comments - The author of Hebrews makes a similar statement to his readers when he tells them that they should have grown in spiritual maturity, yet they were still babes in Christ ( Hebrews 5:11-14).

Mark 9:23Scripture References- Note similar passages regarding faith in God:

Genesis 18:14, "Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son."

Isaiah 59:1-3, "Behold, the LORD"S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness."

Jeremiah 32:27, "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?"

Mark 14:36, "And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt."

Luke 18:27, "And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."

Ephesians 3:20, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,"

Mark 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

Mark 9:24 — "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief" - Comments- With a man's heart (spirit) he can accept the things of God, while with his "natural mind" he struggles to understand the things of God. Jesus still responded to this man's faith, because of his honest and sincere heart. Note these words from Frances J. Roberts:

"Never stifle the cry in your heart. God put it there. God puts no special premium on our perennial spiritual Pollyannas. His joy springs forth most abundantly in souls that have been soaked in tears. Not the tears of self-pity. Never. But the tears of devotion and longing after Him. Weep. But when you weep, weep in His arms. Doubt if you must, but tell each doubt to Him candidly. You will be surprised how quickly they will melt away. His love and His smile will dispel every doubt as silently and surely as sunshine removes frost. You cannot look in His face and doubt at the same time!" 114]

114] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 46.

Mark 9:29Comments- One of the early jobs of a sports coach in training a group of men or boys is to instill discipline into the team members. Those who develop discipline will excel in the sport. This topic of discipline underlies what Jesus is explaining to His disciples in Matthew 17:21 about prayer and fasting.

Note that the disciples had already prayed for him without results. Yet, the twelve apostles had already received power to deliver men from unclean spirits, and surely some of these nine apostles (note that three disciples were with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration) were among those praying for this demon-possessed boy, but to no avail.

Jesus explained to them that the answer to their dilemma was to pray and fast. Fasting weakens the flesh while prayer edifies the inner Prayer of Manasseh , the spirit. This is effective because the spirit of man and the flesh oppose one another.

Galatians 5:17, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."

Prayer and fasting do not give us more spiritual authority over the devil. Jesus gave His disciples the authority to use His name when He sent them out two by two. Rather, fasting and prayer causes us to become more sensitive to the Spirit of God. Another way to say it is that our anointing will increase through prayer and fasting.

Jesus appeared to Kenneth Hagin and gave him a special healing anointing by touching the palms of his hands with Jesus' finger. Jesus told him that when the anointing left, he was to pray and fast, and the anointing would return. 115] The Lord also spoke to him about leading a "fasted" life, rather than doing routine fastings. 116] It is the fasting that keeps a person close to the Lord by learning to be led by the Holy Spirit, and this keeps our faith-level high.

115] Kenneth Hagin, Understanding the Anointing (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1983, 1994), 136.

116] Kenneth Hagin, A Commonsense Guide to Fasting (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1981, 1994), 21.

Mark 9:29Comments- Andrew Murray says, "If the life is not one of self-denial, of fasting- that Isaiah , letting the world go; of prayer- that Isaiah , laying hold of heaven, faith cannot be exercised." 117]

117] Andrew Murray, The Prayer Life (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1912), 18.

Scripture Reference- Note the parallel passage in Matthew:

Matthew 17:21, "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."


Verses 30-32

Jesus' Second Prediction of His Death and Resurrection ( Matthew 17:22-23, Luke 9:43 b-45) - Mark 9:30-32 gives us the second account of Jesus predicting to His disciples how He will be killed and then resurrected from the dead. We find the account of his first prediction in Mark 8:31 to Mark 9:1.


Verses 33-50

Sermon: Jesus Preaches on Humility and Offenses in the Kingdom of God ( Matthew 18:1-9, Luke 9:46-50; Luke 17:1-2) - Mark 9:33-50 gives us the third sermon of Jesus Christ. This message emphasizes true greatness, as He uses a child to explain the need to receive others and serve them, being careful not to offend anyone. Jesus tells us that everyone will be seasoned with salt, which means one's faith will be tested.

The Audience of Jesus- In this passage, Jesus is speaking to John the apostle about the danger of even him being cast into hell because of offences.

Mark 9:39Word Study on "lightly" - Strong says the Greek word ταχύ (G 5035) means, "shortly, i.e. without delay, soon, or (by surprise) suddenly," or "readily." BDAG says it means, "soon afterwards."

Mark 9:39Comments - If we follow BDAG's definition of ταχύ to mean, "soon afterwards," then we can interpret Jesus to say that a man who was casting out demons during this season in his life was devoutly dedicated to God and could not speak evil of Jesus' ministry. However, it was possible for this individual to backslide in the future and speak evil of the Lord. Thus, Jesus was saying that this man could cast demons out today and turn around and speak evil of Him tomorrow; for he was using the name of Jesus to cast out the demons.

Mark 9:40 For he that is not against us is on our part.

Mark 9:38-40Comments - God's Presence is for All Denominations- Many other churches today have God's people ministering in them. There is no single local church fellowship or denomination that has the monopoly on God"s presence ( Luke 9:49-50).

Luke 9:49-50, "And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us."

Mark 9:44 — "Where their worm dieth not" - Comments- In the natural world, worms, or maggots, are associated with death. A dead and decaying corpse if filled with worms. Yet, in hell, there is no death or deliverance from these worms.

Illustration- I was watching a small caterpillar being attacked by worms. It twisted and squirmed in torment until death. In hell, the torment does not end. There is no death, no heaven. The torment is eternal. Jesus was referring to Isaiah 66:24.

Isaiah 66:24, "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."

Scripture Reference- Note other New Testament passages on this subject:

2 Thessalonians 1:9, "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;"

Mark 9:44Comments- The function of maggots is to consume dead flesh, thus cleaning up the environment. Fire has a similar purpose in that it also consumes everything in its path. The statement in Mark 9:44, "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched," testifies to the fact that those people who are condemned to hell will experience the consuming fly maggots as well as consuming fire. However, since their flesh will never be totally consumed, the maggots and the fire will eternally do their duty of continual consumption of human flesh. We find a similar statement in Isaiah 14:11, "Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee."

Mark 9:49 — "and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt" - Comments- Salt went upon every sacrifice and offering in the Mosaic Law. In this passage, the salt represents fire (note "salted with fire"), which represents judgment.

Leviticus 2:13, "And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt."

Ezekiel 43:24, "And thou shalt offer them before the LORD, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offering unto the LORD."

Mark 9:49Comments- We find Paul speaking on this matter in his first epistle to the Corinthians. He tells us that our works will be judged by God as to whether they will merit a reward or not.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15, "Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man"s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man"s work of what sort it is. If any man"s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man"s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

Mark 9:50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.

Mark 9:50 — "Salt is good" - Comments- Salt makes a sacrifice that was to be eaten by the priest "tasteful", and without salt, this sacrifice that was to be eaten is "tasteless." Colossians 4:6 mentions that our speech should be seasoned with salt. This means to have our mouth speak things that are pleasant to God and others. Salt is good, making food pleasant to receive as food.

Colossians 4:6, "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."

Mark 9:50 — "Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another" - Comments- Note that the disciples were not at peace with this unknown disciple of Jesus who was casting out demons. Song of Solomon , having "salt in yourselves" involves having a Christ-like conduct, which is pleasing, or tasteful and pleasant, to God.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Mark 9:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/mark-9.html. 2013.

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