Review of Mark 9

by Victor Fawole

Mark 9 is another loaded chapter that will require one to sit down and patiently suck out the juices therein. Very quickly, let’s explore four key sections in this chapter.

Mark 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.

Many people are divided as to what Jesus meant by this prophecy. Some claim that Jesus was referring to His resurrection and ascension, some claim that it was the coming of the Spirit, while some claim that it was Jesus’ second coming and the Millennial reign. But the context itself gives us what He meant. One, Jesus said that some of the people standing would be living eyewitnesses of the event. Two, Mark quickly moves on to “six days later…” Thus, we safely conclude that Jesus was speaking about the Transfiguration. To understand this better, and to fully understand the transfiguration, listen to Pastor Dammy’s 4-part series on the Transfiguration here.

Mark 9:17-18 One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”

Let us flash back to Mark 6:13
And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

The disciples were not newbies in the healing ministry. So, it was not like they “lacked power”. Instead of rebuking the evil spirit, they were distracted into a debate. No wonder Jesus asked them: “What is all this arguing about?” (v. 16 NLT). Needless analysis leads to paralysis. Transformation does not come by arguing; it comes by faith! Jesus said… If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. Glory to Jesus for healing the young boy and granting him transformation.

Mark 9:28-29 Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”

Instead of praying in faith, the disciples were arguing! The KJV reading adds “fasting”, but it was not in the original manuscripts. Learn more about this in Pastor Dammy’s article titled “Right Perspective To Fasting” here.

Mark 9:33-35 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. 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.

Jesus’ disciples can sometimes be “lugubrious” – but then, the Lord loves them in spite of their flaws! One could imagine how their debate among themselves went. “…because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest.” One can only imagine the set of criteria they put forward for greatness. One can imagine Peter saying: “I am the one who declared Him Christ, and I also saw Moses and Elijah with our Lord…” or Andrew saying: “I’m the biggest evangelist here; always bringing people to the Lord…” or Matthew saying: “I sacrificed by money-loaded job to follow Jesus…” and so on. They saw greatness as a transaction of “highest bidder gets it”.

Jesus asked them the essence of their arguments, and they responded with a kind of silence that showed their embarrassment. They were ashamed of their obsession with greatness. They knew that they were wrong for even discussing this matter. Then Jesus wasted no time in taking them through “Humility 201”, a sequel to “Service 101”. Guys, the way up is down! The “Jesus way” of achieving the first position is to become “last of all” and “servant of all”. Jesus taught it and exemplified it! That’s the only valid “transaction” for greatness.

Mark 9:42-44 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. 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: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

I checked through for how heavy the millstone mentioned here is, and most commentaries say “thousands of pounds”. The least particular figure I got was 1500kg. For context, imagine putting the combined weight of 30 bags of Dangote cement on a person’s neck and throwing the person into the sea… Hmmmmmn… That’s how serious Jesus takes this matter. He is very clear on his stance. He wants to protect His children (the believers) from sin. He would not spare the enticers that entrap them into sin. It could be better for a man to be loaded with the weight of 30 bags of Dangote cement, than for him to cause a believer to sin. Then, Jesus went radical in His “solution to temptation.”

Apparently, Jesus did not mean that His disciples should cut off their limbs or eyes (neither is He telling us to do that today). He was only revealing how radical and evil sin was. A radical evil will always require a radical cure. Here, Jesus is employing a figure of speech known as “hyperbole” – and His point was: Nothing is worth missing heaven for. Nothing is worth going to hell for. Nothing.

We must not forget that Jesus made this statement before He died as the sacrifice for our sins. The Law was still in effect here. But for us, through the death of Jesus Christ, we have a permanent solution to sin.

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

And we also have very clear New Covenant instructions on how to overcome temptations. You can revisit Pastor Dammy’s 9-part series on “Overcoming Temptations” here.

Grace to you. Amen.

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