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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Mark 9

 

 

Verses 2-21

Mark 9:2-7. And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.

You and I have sometimes wished that we could see Christ in his earthly glory. We need not however wish it; for, if such a sight were permitted to us, in all probability we should be more full of fear than of joy. These three men, the elect out of the elect, the very choicest of the apostles, yet had little delight in what they saw at the time, for the glory was too bright for their overwhelmed natures.

“At the too transporting sight,

Darkness rushes o’er my sight.”

We had better wait awhile until these eyes shall have been cleansed, and our whole fabric shall be fit for such a weight of glory as the sight of our exalted Lord will be.

Mark 9:8. And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.

Unhappy, indeed, would they have been if they had looked about and seen none but Moses, for poor comfort could Moses bring. Or if, looking around, they had seen none but Elias, for the stern prophet of fire would have been but a poor consolation to them in their life struggles. But Moses may go, and Elijah may go. Lawgiver and prophet may vanish so long as Jesus Christ remains, it is enough. Jesus only is enough for all our wants, —for all our desires.

Mark 9:9-10. And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

For they did not understand the Master’s words — not even these apostles for the Spirit of God was not yet fully given. Happy indeed is he upon whom the spirit of God resteth, and in whom he dwells, for as John says “Ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and know all things”, and these men without that measure of anointing did not know at that time even such a simple word as this — that the Son of man should rise again from the dead. Brethren, we must be taught of the Holy Spirit, or we shall never know anything profoundly. We might go to school to Christ himself —now, mark this word — we might go to school to Christ himself and yet learn nothing until the Holy Ghost should come upon us to write the truth upon our heart which Christ has spoken to the ear. Oh, if ye lack wisdom, ask of God, and he will give you of his Spirit.

Mark 9:11-13. And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things, and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at naught. But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, —

John the Baptist was he.

Mark 9:13. And they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.

It is rather singular that the disciples should begin to ask about the scribes, for this was, as it were, a sort of warning note for a battle into which they were about to plunge. They talked about the scribes, but the scribes were down below in conflict with the rest of the apostolic brotherhood, and now, while they are talking about them, they find themselves immediately in their presence.

Mark 9:14-15. And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.

The probability is that the face of Jesus Christ was shining like the face of Moses when he came down from the mount, and the people were amazed though not with that same amazement which seized upon Israel when they saw the face of Moses, for Moses had to cover his face with a veil. But they ran to him and saluted him. The glory of Christ attracts, whereas the glory of Moses repels. The glory of the law is terrible, but the glory of the Gospel is cheering and attractive.

Mark 9:16. And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?

Like some great commander stepping into the field when his under followers are being beaten, he comes right to the front and charges the foe boldly. Christ said, “What question ye with them?” — as much as to say, “Why did ye not wait a bit and ask me. I could have answered you if they can not.”

Mark 9:17-18. And one the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away:

A case of dreadful epilepsy accompanied with satanic possession.

Mark 9:18-19. And I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

That is a grand piece of advice, and a blessed word of permit — “Bring him unto me.” There is no case so bad but, if you bring it to Jesus, he can meet it. “Bring him unto me.” Now, good woman, bring your daughter’s case to Christ tonight in prayer while you are sitting in the pew. Now, come, brother, bring the case of your son who seems utterly to be abandoned to vice. Bring the case before Christ tonight. “Bring him unto me.” Oh, who would not bring his friend — his wife? Who would not bring her husband or her child unto Jesus Christ? “Bring him unto me.”

Mark 9:20. And they brought him unto him:

Some came to help the father, probably the bringing of the young man was too much an effort for one alone. “They brought him unto him.” Two or three of you with united prayer can do what, peradventure, one man’s prayer would not. Come, help one another. “Bear ye one another’s burdens” in prayer. I would suggest that, if one of you should have an ungodly son who causes you trouble, you should communicate with some few of your brethren and sisters in Christ, and say, “Let us conjointly make this case a matter of prayer till God hears us.” And then you must take up a case of theirs, you know, turn and turn about, and see whether God does not in answer to prayer bless one after another that you thus bring to Christ. I know what the result will be, if it be honestly tried in simple confidence in the power of Jesus.

Mark 9:20-21. And when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him, and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, how long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, of a child.

A terrible case.


Verses 2-29

Mark 9:2-6. And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.

Brethren, like these disciples of our Lord, we are not yet fit to be favored with a sight of his glory. As we now are, we could not bear it. As our poet says, —

“At the too-transporting light,

Darkness rushes o’er my sight.”

These three apostles of Christ were too bewildered to know what to say, they were quite lost, and I suppose that, if we could go to heaven as we are, our bewilderment would even exceed our bliss. But we may rest assured that God will prepare us for that which he has prepared for us.

Mark 9:7-8. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.

And although this was not so ravishing or so astonishing a sight, yet it was more encouraging to them, — something which they could more easily bear with joy and peace: “they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.” May God grant to us, as long as we are here below, that, If no Moses or Elias shall ever come to visit us, at any rate Jesus may never be absent from us! May our fellowship with him be unbroken!

Mark 9:9-10. And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

These were Peter, and James, and John, the three most privileged disciples of Christ, — probably, the best scholars in that class which had the Lord Jesus Christ himself for its Teacher; yet his plain language, was without meaning to them: “questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.” I wonder whether, when our Lord comes the second time, we shall discover that the prophecies concerning his advent were wonderfully clear, but that we could not understand them till he came. Plain as his teaching concerning his resurrection was, his disciples could not understand it till that great event had really occurred.

Mark 9:11-13. And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.

John the Baptist had come, in the spirit and power of Elijah, and had reconstituted matters, and prepared the people for the advent of the Saviour, whose herald he was.

Mark 9:14; Mark 9:16. And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.

Some relics of the glory on the mount still remained upon his face, and the people were astounded; so, though deeply interested in the battle which was proceeding between the scribes and the disciples, they left them, and turned to look upon that mysterious radiance which hovered about his brow.

Mark 9:16. And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?

The circumstances of the disciples resembled a battlefield on which the enemy was winning the day, and the loyal troops were about to die defeated; when suddenly, the great Commander himself appears for their relief. His presence is worth more than a thousand battalions of men; and he charges at once upon the adversary, and puts them to rout: “He asked the scribes, What question ye with them?”

Mark 9:17. And one of the multitude answered —

One who had a peculiar reason for answering; just as, I trust there will be one in this multitude before me who will have a peculiar reason for listening to my message, and a peculiar reason for remembering it after it is delivered: “One of the multitude answered” —

Mark 9:17-19. And said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

I suppose our Lord’s rebuke was meant specially for his disciples. It was something like the speech of a schoolmaster, who, having taught his pupils the same lesson a great many times, and laboured hard with them, from year to year, yet finds them failing in the very elements of knowledge. Christ does not speak as if he were tired of his life, and wished to get away from his disciples; but this is his way of saying how disappointed he is that these Iearners have learnt so little.

“How long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me” Those words struck my heart very forcibly as I read them: “How long shall I suffer you?” Does not the Lord Jesus Christ have to put up with a great deal from every one of us? I applied his words to myself, and I thought I heard him saying to me, “How long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?” Often, he must derive more pain than pleasure from intercourse with many of his people. How grieved he often must be to see their slowness to learn, their readiness to forget, and the difficulty with which they can be brought to live the lessons which he so carefully imparts to them! Then note what his action is concerning the poor child: “Bring him unto me.”

Mark 9:20. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him;

As soon as ever Christ looked at him, “the spirit tare him.” One look from Christ awakes the devil. Sometimes, sinners are worse for a time when Christ looks upon them. The devil always has great wrath, when he knoweth that his time is short; and he rages and tears most violently when he is about to be ejected. The Jews have a proverb, “When the tale of bricks is doubled, Moses appears,” and we may make it into a Scriptural proverb, “When the devil’s torment of the heart is doubled, then Jesus appears to cast him out.”

Mark 9:20. And he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

And Jesus, instead of curing him at once, gave his first attention to the other patient before him, namely, the father of the child, He was suffering from an equally bad disease, though the symptoms were different, and Jesus meant to cure him as well as his boy.

Mark 9:21-22. And he asked his father, how long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

He put himself on a level with his child, and that is the best way to pray for your children: “Have compassion on us, and help us.” It will be compassion on you, as well as upon your son, if the Lord saves him.

Mark 9:23. Jesus said unto him, —

Catching at his words, “If thou canst do anything,” —

Mark 9:23-29. If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

There are some things, which we are not fit to do until we have drawn very near to God, and have been deeply humbled, and, with sincere repentance, and the gracious operation of the Holy Spirit, have been cleansed so as to receive so great a boon. Faith alone will not accomplish everything. Faith must be accompanied by prayer, and prayer must be at least sometimes, in special cases, attended with fasting. The Lord makes reserves of his mercies, which he does not give immediately even to the request of faith, he demands importunity on our part, and heart-searching, and heart-cleansing, before the blessing will be bestowed.


Verses 14-48

Our Lord had been absent from the people, and transfigured on the top of the mountain; when he came down from this manifestation of his glory, he was brought face to face with Satan’s work at almost the first step he took.

Let us read about what he did.

Mark 9:14-15. And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.

There was a glory about his face not altogether unlike that of Moses when he came down from the other mountain, so that the people were struck with wonder when they looked upon him.

Mark 9:16. And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?

The battle had been raging between Christ’s enemies and his disciples but now that their Captain has come, he rallies his forces, and at once attacks his foes: “What question ye with them?”

Mark 9:17. And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;

We do not know if the scribes gave any answer to Christ’s question; and it does not signify at all. What does always signify is practical, living, earnest prayer. So what the scribes may have said is not recorded, but the prayer of the poor father is: “Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit.” If any of you have come here to cavil, we shall take no notice of that; but if there is a soul that has come here to pray, the recording angel will write it down in the eternal book.

Mark 9:18. And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

No, it was no use going to the disciples, it is of no avail to pray to saints and angels; go to the Master himself. “Straightforward makes the best runner.” There is nothing like carrying your case to headquarters. Get to the Court of King’s Bench as soon as you can, for there the matter will be finally settled.

Mark 9:19. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

Grand words: “Bring him unto me.” Lord, he has a dumb spirit. “Bring him unto me.” It is the devil who is his enemy. “Bring him unto me.”

Mark 9:20. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

What a dreadful sight! He struggled on the ground, like one in a fit of epilepsy.

Mark 9:21-22. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him?. And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

“Help us,” he cries, identifying himself with his child. Father, mother, when you pray, use the plural, as this man did, “Have compassion on us and help us.” That is the way to pray for every sinner whom you bring before Christ. Join yourself to the poor soul for whom you are pleading and say, “Have compassion on us, and help us.”

Mark 9:23. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Hear that, any of you who have come in here, desiring to be delivered from sin, to be made holy, to break off old habits, and to become new men in Christ Jesus. “All things are possible to him that believeth.” So, take courage, trust in Christ, and cry unto him to save you.

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

There were within him two men, as it were, a believing man, and an unbelieving man, and the two struggled for mastery; “Lord, I do believe; but there is so much unbelief in me, I pray thee to drive it out, that I may believe in thee wholly.”

Mark 9:25-26. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him:

It must obey Christ. The Master bids that dog of a devil to lie down, and he must do so. It shows what an abject creature, after all, the prince of darkness is; he must obey the voice of Christ. Lord, speak to him at this moment, and drive him out of other souls by thine omnipotent word!

Mark 9:26. And he was as one dead; inasmuch that many said, He is dead.

It was not a case of “kill or cure,” but it seemed to be one of “cure and kill,” and, sometimes, poor sinners, in their struggles with sin and Satan are brought to such despair that they are afraid that they will die before they get a glimpse of hope. “Many said, He is dead;” but he was not.

Mark 9:27. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

So may the Lord come, and take by the hand any here who seem to be dead in despair! A touch of his hand will enable them to stand.

Mark 9:28-29. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

The watchword for Christ’s disciples is “intensity.” Here was the devil in an intensely terrible form, and he could only be driven out by intense grace. There must be prayer and fasting. Even Christ himself must exert the greatness of his power to work a cure in such a case as this. Oh, for more intensity in us all! Carry that word in your ear as we read on.

Mark 9:30-32. And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it. For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.

See how intense he was; always thinking of his approaching death, that cruel, bitter death, yet he hasted towards it, longed for that baptism to be accomplished, for the great redeeming price to be paid. Oh, that you and I were as fully absorbed in the service of God as our great Master was!

Now let us see what intensity he requires of us.

Mark 9:43. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Anything is better than the loss of your soul. It is better to lose the greatest joy, skill, comfort, honour, that you ever had, than to lose your soul for ever.

Mark 9:44-46. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

That is the second time he said these words. Our Lord was not fond of dreadful metaphors and terrible language, but he knew that they must be used, though some of his servants shrink from the use of them. Are they more loving than he is? Is it, after all, a greater love for souls that makes men keep back terrible truths? Is it not more honest and loving to tell the whole truth, whatever it may be? It is harder to speak, but does it not show a tenderer heart to be able to speak so as to warn men of their peril? If anything should seem as necessary to you as your foot, so that you can make no progress in life without it, yet if it would cost you your soul, give it up. Just as it would be better to live without a foot than to die, so is it better to go to heaven without even the necessaries of life on the road than to perish everlastingly.

Mark 9:47. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out:

Notice how severe our Saviour is, how deep he goes. He does not say, “Shut it, cover it up with a green shade;” but, “Pluck it out.”

Mark 9:47-48. It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hellfire: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

That is the third time he has uttered those terrible words; then they must mean something, what do they mean? Can they mean anything less than everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord? Oh, that we might be prepared to sacrifice everything rather than be lost for ever! Dear hearts, are you saved or not? If you are not saved, see first to this all-important business; let everything else go sooner than that, in eternity, you should find yourself for ever shut in where hope can never come.


Verses 20-41

This miracle is one that shows the transforming power of the Saviour in a remarkable fashion.

Mark 9:20-21. And when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.

A terrible case.

Mark 9:22-25. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.

That is one way in which Christ cures. When he drives the devil out of a man, he adds, “Enter no more into him.” I believe in the final perseverance of the saints, because I believe in the omnipotent ejection of Satan out of men, when Christ speaks the word, “Come out of him, and enter no more into him.”

Mark 9:26-29. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, —

According to another evangelist, it was from want of faith. Howbeit, he added: —

Mark 9:29. This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

God does not give us everything in answer to one prayer. It may be necessary for some blessings that the prayer should be reiterated — that it should deepen — that it should grow into an aching. It may be even necessary, in order that a blessing should come, that fasting should be used with prayer in order to show the intense eagerness and earnestness of the petitioner.

Now notice the 38th verse.

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.

John in this case was like a good many people at the present day. You notice it. They could not cast out the devils themselves, and when they found somebody else that did it, they forbade his doing it because he did not follow with them. I have known learned, eloquent, respectable ministers who cannot save sinners. And they hear that certain poor, illiterate, uneducated men have snatched sinners like brands from the burning, and they forbid them to do what they cannot do themselves. It is insanity — that would stop any man from doing what God enables him to do; and we ought to be the very last to forbid others from doing it.

Mark 9:39. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

These people were dissenters, we may say — a sort of outsiders. And John puts forth the whole power of his apostolical authority to put them down; and then Jesus Christ puts forth the full power of his divine authority to give them liberty to go on.

Mark 9:40-41. For he that is not against us is on our part. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.


Verses 30-40

Mark 9:30-32. And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it. For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of Man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.

Here is the ruling passion of Christ which was ever prominent throughout his life; though he has just won a glorious victory over Satan, he does not stay to congratulate himself upon it, but his heart is still away to the cross where he is to suffer. He is thinking of his dying for his people,-and lodging until he shall have paid the ransom price for their redemption, and set them free. Oh, the heights and depths of the love of Christ! See how steadfastly he sets his face to go unto Jerusalem where he must die. Let us imitate him; let us think as much of his passion now it is over as he thought of it ere it was come.

Mark 9:33-34, And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.

It was a dreadful descent from communing with Moses and Elias on the mount of transfiguration to meeting the furious demon at the hill-foot; but this looks like a far greater descent, from the self-sacrifice of the Divine Master to the petty jealousies and self-seeking of his chosen servants. Oh, sometimes, it makes our hearts sick - when we have been almost lost in rapturous meditation, when we have been taken up well-nigh to heaven in communion with the Lord, and then we have had to attend to some paltry squabble between two brothers or two sisters! It does seem such a terrible come-down, yet our Lord and Master does not disdain thus to come down, for in tenderness he deals with these diseases of the sheep like a good shepherd.

Mark 9:35-37. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

Perhaps they were jealous of Peter; possibly they were even more jealous of James and John. So the Lord gently pacifies them; he does not impatiently say, “I cannot enter into your disputes, I cannot be worried with you.” Oh, no! but he just sits down, and talks with them. I like that picture, it is almost as grand as the group of Christ and his disciples at the supper table in the upper room. “He sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” That is the way they come to be first, by being willing to be last of all, and the servant of all. This is the only way to get to the front of Christ’s army; he who would be chief, must always be aiming at the rear rank, willing to do the most humble service, and to be the lowest menial in his Master’s service. Only in this way can we rise. In Christ’s kingdom, the way to go up is to go down. Sink self, and you shall surely rise.

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.

He did it, I daresay, in love to his Master; but not in the love of his Master. He did it, no doubt, with the desire to honour his Master, but he did not honour his Master by what he did.

Mark 9:39-40. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.

Thus the Master had to talk to his poor disciples after having conversed with Moses and Elias. Again, I say, what a come-down it was from fellowship with the great law-giver of Israel, and with the mighty prophet of fire, to talk with these childish men who had fallen out among themselves, and fallen out with other people! O blessed Master, we may fain hope that thou wilt commune with us as thou didst commune with them! We may also trust that some poor sinner, even though the devil may be in him, may catch thine eye of pity and love, and that thou mayest heal him.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Mark 9:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/mark-9.html. 2011.

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