9 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”
Jesus Heals a Boy with an Unclean Spirit
And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Who Is the Greatest?
And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
Anyone Not Against Us Is for Us
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.
Temptations to Sin
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Mark 9 Commentary
by Hank Workman
It was a moment of complete transparency and revelation. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up to the mountain where right before their eyes he transformed. It was a moment when Jesus the human revealed Himself in all His glory as Jesus the King. He showed Himself for who He was from the beginning of time and throughout eternity. It’s a tangible expression that although He was rich, He became poor.
There are many depths and layers in this revelation to consider. First, there is the timing of this event. Just prior to this hike up the mountain, Jesus spoke of anyone who wanted to follow Him would have to take up their cross and follow Him. Although this statement of Jesus has probably become somewhat common to us today it would have been a shock. This was capital punishment and meant one thing – not only was He to die, so are His followers to do so in regards to their own self-will.
When the events of His life would play out and His physically going to the cross and dying in agony, this event would resonate to their core in what doubts they had. Yes, they would flounder at the moment and be in such fear as they hid but Jesus not only showed up to them behind those closed locked doors but reaffirmed through even this story He was still in control and knew that even if he was murdered, it was part of God’s redemptive plan.
Not only did He reveal His kingly glory, but he also had 2 important visitors. Moses and Elijah showing up and speaking with Him speak several things.
“These 2 men represented one who would die and be taken into glory (Moses) and being caught up and taken to heaven without death (Elijah).”David Guzik
That in itself was something. But also Moses represented the Law. Elijah represented the prophets. Jesus was the fulfillment of both.
And it was right there in that moment these 3 saw something very profound beyond their likeness standing before them. They were evidence of life beyond this life. Moses had died 1400 years prior, Elijah had been 900 and yet they were alive in glory! What confidence these would have in the years to follow of their life going on in the presence of Jesus the King throughout eternity.
One last layer to peel back. A cloud enveloped them. This was something very familiar as the cloud of God’s glory known as Shekinah had been throughout their history.
“It was a pillar of cloud that led the Israelite’s that God through the desert. It was through a pillar of cloud during that desert time God spoke to the people. It was a cloud of glory that appeared by the door of the Tabernacle. It was a cloud that appeared to the High Priest in the Holy of Holies. It was a cloud that appeared to Solomon as the Temple was dedicated, filling up the space that the priests could not continue their duties.
Ezekiel saw a cloud in a vision filing the temple of God with brightness. It would be a cloud of glory that received Jesus during the ascension. When Jesus returns it will be a cloud that displays His magnificent glory. And it would be from this cloud on that mountain God would speak stating, “This is my son whom I love. Listen to Him.”David Guzik
Is it not beautiful to unpack and simply consider this?
This moment for them would draw their focus in the future. We need that. There are so many things that jockey for our attention. There are so many aspects of our lives which shatter our hopes and create distractions. The reality is we are here but for a passing moment and then we are gone. Eternity is what matters people. We get so caught up in foolish things. Things that are nothing more than distractions to what is important.
The things and ways of Jesus are what matters today in how we live out our faith and life. The reality is Jesus who came as a human was magnificently a King. A King who takes tremendous interest in our lives and longs for us to be with Him.
Mark 9 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
We all know the greatest commandment according to Jesus. Here’s a refresher… “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” These are found in Mark 12. Here in Mark 9, Jesus sets the stage to practically live out those commands.
Sitting down, He called the twelve and *said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”Mark 9:35 NASB
Self-denial is the precondition for following after Jesus. Jesus hinted at this in the previous chapter.
And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.Mark 8:34 NASB
Denying self is a once-and-for-all mindset. Sometimes we equate self-denial in our spiritual lives as “passing by the desserts during the holiday season.” Jesus is not speaking of a haphazard self-restriction done occasionally in order to appease God. He is commanding a total denial of self. Of course, we can’t just flip a magically switch when we meet Jesus. The commitment He is describing is a perspective change with regard to our outlook. Every day we have opportunities to serve ourselves or deny ourselves. When we view life through the lens of “the first shall be last,” we begin to make changes in behavior that illustrate our trust in Jesus’ Kingdom.
Simply put, Jesus is not saying “Don’t forget to find a way to deny yourself today.” That would imply that by default we are fixed on ourselves, and serving others is an addition to our life. This is why Jesus says “pick up your cross and follow Me.” You leave your old self and old desires in the grave. The old version of you that loved to serve yourself has been buried with Jesus and now you share in His resurrection power.
“From the human point of view, we are losing ourselves, but from the divine perspective, we are finding ourselves. When we live for Christ, we become more like Him, and this brings out our own unique individuality.”Warren Wiersbe
Yes, that might mean giving up possessions, but it is so much more than that. It’s everything. Our desire for success, our prejudices, our political ideologies, our insecurities, our financial futures, and yes, possibly even our family. This doesn’t mean we never see or do any of these things again. It just means we do not hold any of them in higher regard than our relationship with Christ.
The only way we can understand this lofty idea is to first understand that in God’s kingdom, the first is last and the last is first. Jesus was describing Himself with that statement. He is the greatest, and He become the lowest. Jesus holds the highest honor for those who take the lowly position of a servant in His Name. Are we really living like that? Are we even thinking about it?
Jesus, help us to lower ourselves in order to serve others in Your Name.