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Bible Commentaries

People's New Testament

Mark 9



SUMMARY.--The Coming of the Kingdom. The Transfiguration. Moses and Elias. The Elias That Must Come. The Boy with the Dumb Spirit. The Condition of Receiving Christ's Help. The Disciples Taught of Christ's Sufferings. Who Shall Be Greatest? The Narrowness of the Disciples Rebuked. A Cup of Cold Water in the Name of Christ. The Offending Hand or Eye.

Verse 1

Till they have been seen the kingdom of God come with power. Compare Matthew 16:28 and Luke 9:27. Matthew says, "Till they have seen the Son of man coming in his kingdom;" Luke, "Till they have seen the kingdom of God." A comparison shows that the reference is to "the coming of the kingdom in power" on the day of Pentecost. Of the twelve, one at a time was dead; the others had not tasted of death.

Verse 2

After six days. After six days intervening. Luke says, "About eight days," he counting the one before and after the six days that intervened. For notes on the Transfiguration see Matthew 17:1-13, and compare Luke 9:28-36.

Verse 14

And when he came to his disciples. After the transfiguration.

He saw a great multitude. For notes on this miracle, see Matthew 17:14-21. Compare Luke 9:37-42. Mark's account is the fullest. According to the Revision, Matthew says that the youth was an epileptic, and the symptoms given by Mark are those of epilepsy. Mark also states that he had been afflicted from childhood.

Verse 23

If thou canst. The question is not whether Jesus can, but whether the afflicted father can. Can he have the needful faith in Christ? Faith is the great need.

Verse 24

Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief. The spark of faith has been kindled; if his faith is not strong, he prays the Lord to give him stronger faith. So should always pray the doubting Christian. If your faith is weak, cry for help.

Verse 26

The spirit cried and rent him sore. The evil spirit obeys most reluctantly and seeks to destroy one whom it can no longer use. The paroxysm of departure was fearful, and left the boy exhausted and as dead. The touch of Jesus completed the cure.

Verse 28-29

Why could we not cast him out? His answer first was, according to Matthew (Matthew 17:20), "Because of your belief." The whole difficulty centered in their want of faith. No demon could defy them if only they had faith enough. And then Jesus illustrates the power of faith by showing that even a small amount of active, living faith, like a grain of mustard-seed, could remove "this mountain," perhaps pointing to Mount Hermon, at whose base they were, and which towered in its grandeur above them.

Can come forth by nothing, but by prayer. ({Fasting} is omitted in the New Version, but placed in the margin.) The faith which will be effectual must be a faith exercised in prayer. The work of the Church is still to cast out devils, the unclean spirits of worldliness, selfishness, greed, infidelity, lust, intemperance, Sabbath-breaking. These still defy the ordinary efforts and faith of God's people. We have faith enough for ordinary duties, for some giving, for prayer-meetings, for building churches; but there is a work which ordinary faith cannot do. How shall we get that higher faith? By prayer and fasting. By such an earnestness that we forget the needs of the body.

Verse 31-32

The Son of man is delivered. See notes on Matthew 17:22-23. Compare Luke 9:43-45.

Verse 33

What was it that ye disputed among yourselves? See notes on Matthew 18:1-9. Compare Luke 9:46-50.

Verse 35

Servant of all. The two conditions of true greatness are humility and service; not to be the servant of friends, or kindred, or of a class, or even of church members, but of {all,} like Christ.

Verse 38

John answered him, we saw one. The disciples had shortly before returned to Christ from their first missionary tour, in which they were empowered to cast out devils (Matthew 10:8). The man here referred to they probably met during this tour. He must have been a disciple of Christ, who was enabled by his faith, yet without a commission, to cure the possessed--{Abbott}.

Casting out devils in thy name. Really, and not in a wrong spirit, as did the Jewish exorcists (Acts 19:13-14); for it was done {in thy name}. Such workers as this man believed in him, or they would not have used his name.

He followeth not us. Did not join himself to the apostles as one of their followers.

Verse 39

Forbid him not. He neither praises nor blames him for following an independent course, and not working with his disciples. He simply declares that he must not be forbidden, and that those who work the same kind of work that we do should be regarded, not as enemies, but allies. Thousands, in every period of church history, have spent their lives in copying John's mistake. They have labored to stop every man who will not work for Christ in their way from working for Christ at all.--{Ryle}.

Verse 42

Cause one of these little ones... to stumble.. See notes on Matthew 18:6-10.

Verse 43

The fire that never shall be quenched. See note on Matthew 5:29. The fires that were occasionally lit in the literal Gehenna, or Tophet, were necessarily only temporary. They died out for want of fuel. It was to be otherwise with the "fire" of the other and ulterior Tophet. The "fire" referred to is, of course, a mere symbol of the sum total of certain dreadful realities, for which there are no adequate representations in human language.

Verse 48

Worm dieth not,... fire is not quenched. An expression borrowed from the last verse of Isaiah, and probably in current use among the Jews of our Savior's time, as applied to the state of future retribution.

Verse 49

For. Our Lord is alluding to the pervading idea of Mark 9:45-48. These sacrifices of hand, foot, eye, must be made; {for}--every one shall be salted with fire. Fire is used in the Scripture to denote suffering, persecution, trial, distress of any kind. Salt is used to denote permanence, preservation from corruption. {Every one,} good and bad, {must suffer}.

Verse 50

Have salt in yourselves. The spirit of self-sacrifice, and thus you will "have peace with one another."


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Mark 9:4". "People's New Testament". 1891.

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