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.

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