MARK 9:30-50

v30-32, “The Son of man….into the hands of men”, Here a play on words points us to the irony of his own reign over humanity being given over by himself to his own kinsmen to betray, beat and slaughter him as the perfect sacrifice of love for the very people who would try to destroy him. The necessity that the Son of Man must suffer & die is the point that needed emphasis, because for many 1st century Jews the Messiah was a glorious and powerful figure, not a suffering one.

v33-37, Capernaum became the hub of Jesus’ Galilean ministry, Mt. 4:13 & Mk. 2:1. In modern times the site was discovered in 1838 by the American explorer E. Robinson, and major excavations began in 1905 by German archaeologists H. Kohl and C. Watzinger. But in 1968, remains from the time of Jesus were visible; Mr. Corbo & Mr. Loffreda began a series of annual archaeological efforts that lasted until 1985. They uncovered what might be the house of Simon Peter as well as ruins of a first century synagogue.

This word “Welcome” is a verb, δέχομαι (dechomai), a term of hospitality! The action of Jesus taking children into his arms is repeated in 10:16 and how could anyone paint a more lovelier image of Jesus than this! What do you think is the first step in becoming “the servant of all”?

v38-48, the fact that others were able to work this miracle of exorcism, when the 12 disciples were unable in the last chapter, had to be somewhat embarrassing, and yet they were arguing about who amongst them would be ‘great’. Why would anyone need to be following them? The point we must emphasize is that we only follow Jesus, not other Christians! An eternal reward for meeting the smallest of needs of people who bear the name of Christ must be pointing to the promise in Revelation 14:13.

The word for “hell” is Gehenna, or “The valley of Hinnom”, located on the southside of Jerusalem, the public place for incinerating excrement, the corpses of unknown vagrants and rubbish, the smell must of have been horrible, and was symbolically referred to as the place of divine punishment. The blunt language of v47 must make it clear to us that a Christian’s life with no real repentance is a totally wasted life and forfeits your own salvation. Jesus taught repentance with much more emphasis than baptism!
v49-50, to be “salted with fire”, must be a reference to Lev. 2:13, and for Christians this means the suffering of purification, and for unbelievers it means eternal torment, where suffering is preserved. Salt was used as seasoning or fertilizer, or as a preservative. If salt ceased to be useful, it was thrown away. With this illustration Jesus warned about a disciple who ceased to follow him. For salt to lose it’s flavor is a practical impossibility but the background of the saying is the use of salt blocks by ancient bakers to line the floor of their ovens. Under the intense heat these salt-blocks would eventually crystallize and undergo a change in chemical composition, finally being thrown out as unserviceable. Genuine salt can never lose its flavor. In this case the saying by Jesus here may be like Matthew 19:24, where it is likewise impossible for the camel to go through the eye of a sewing needle.

Mark 8:27-9:29

8:27-30, Luke 9:20 adds “Christ of God”, and Matthew 16:15, uses the word “Son” indicating what kind of Christ he is. Jews in those days believed there would be different kinds of Messiahs/Christs, but God promised only one, Gal. 3:16. Every reference to this inquiry Jesus made, emphasized his Messiahship. So the different words related to describing him as the Christ, was an introduction to the world that Jesus was any and every kind of Messiah they could expect. (John 6:69 & 11:27)

8:31-33, “teaching” the disciples about his suffering, death and resurrection is very different from just telling or proclaiming it. Matthew 16:21 says “show”, which tells us he was getting to the details and purpose! v33, The idea of “Setting your Mind” on the things of God, demands a committed conviction to consciously concentrate your thinking on to Christ and no one else, for he cares for you, and has the power to do what needs to be done, where we do not, 1st Peter 5:7.

8:34-9:1, The experience of the coming kingdom will be cognitive, in reality coming to learn of an event by the five senses most human beings have, they would not experience it, solely by thought in learning, reading and thinking, but by the active experience of feeling the coming kingdom in their environment physically. They will be alive, it will happen before some of them die, that generation will not (in the most adamantly negative sense) die first before God’s kingdom comes to earth! This is one of the most astounding prophecies Jesus makes, because there are critics alive to try and prove him false, amongst the generation that would see it fulfilled. Yet they could do nothing to prevent it from happening and indeed it came to fulfillment in Acts 2.  The power of the kingdom by the Spirit affected and/or benefited thousands of people from at least 15 different nationalities., Never in the ministry of Jesus did the power (DYNAMIS – Mk. 9:1) of God bless so many people all at once., Act. 2:1-11, WORKS of God. In Acts 2:2, the presentation was with a sound of BIAIOS (violent force) wind, but no damage! In Acts 2:11, the result felt by everyone was described as “Wonderful Works” MEGALEIOS, or magnificent favor/grace from the message that sound of forceful wind presented.The apostles message powerfully established the Kingdom which Jesus initiated.

9:2-13, The Transfiguration of Jesus gives his closest disciples a look into God’s glory which is truly other-worldly. Yet, even since he received this powerful demonstration of glory, he still felt trauma in going to His cross. This work of encouragement to strengthen Jesus for the coming sacrifice, would only serve as a memory. Fore-warned is fore-armed! But we must learn as we follow Jesus, to use the memory we have of blessings in the past, to help feed our endurance for staying faithful and standfast during temptations. He still needed an angel in Gethsemane to spur him on to persevere in suffering and complete the sacrifice of his own life. As we count our blessings of answered prayers from the past, how will we stay faithful through future trials, if we do not use this Message of comfort, wisdom and prophecy? The transfiguration moved Jesus to pray in Jn. 17:24-26. Do we pray like this?

9:14-29, The failing of the disciples to cast out the demon, was blamed on a lack of faith and prayer. Jesus was adamantly frustrated at this dilemma with the disciples, but he still loved them. He proved his love by continuing to teach them. Their lack of faith v19, is spoken of and experienced by the prophets of old, Duet. 32:10-20, yet God still brought Jesus into the world through them. The miracle of healing the boy came out of desperation by the Father crying for help with his weak faith, or rather the unbelief of his belief. This should teach Christians for all time, that we can not follow Jesus with a half-hearted faith, but that we must be totally devoted and rely on only him for wisdom, forgiveness and strength to do what is right. If we only rely on him for salvation at the end of our days? What will the entirety of our daily life be like? Very much filled with failings to do what is right.