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Sunday, July 14th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Mark 9

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-29

1 Compare Mat_16:28 ; Luk_9:27 ; 2Pe_1:16-18 .

1 It is most fitting that the kingdom proclamation should close with a demonstration of its glory and power. It should have come immediately and for all, yet now it is put far into the future. Some should live to see it. This is shortened to six typical days, a week of work, leading up to the seventh day, or sabbatism, as the kingdom is called. Only Peter, James, andb John are taken, for they represent three different classes in Israel who will enter the kingdom. James stands for those who died in faith in the past, for he was assassmated by Herod ( Act_12:1 ). Peter, by his epistles, ministers to those who will be in the great affliction of the end time. He also dies a martyr. John suggests those who will live through the end time and enter the kingdom alive ( Joh_21:18-23 ). These all enter the kingdom and behold His glory, and meet Moses and Elijah, representatives of the two ministries, the law and the prophets. The glory of the kingdom did not consist in the lightnings of Sinai, or spectacular scenes of bliss but in the transformation of Christ. No longer was His glory veiled beneath the form more marred than any man's, but the Immanent splendor of His person shone through His glistening garments.

2-10 Compare Mat_17:1-9 ; Luk_9:36 .

5 Alas, poor Peter! The presence of Moses and Elijah, who were held in highest veneration by the Jews, quite overcame his reason. The solitary sublimity of the transformed Christ should have so filled his vision that Moses and Elijah would hardly appear. The kingdom is not going to be a triumvirate. Moses and Elijah will be completely eclipsed by Christ. It is the same error that the unbelieving nation has made. They thought Him a prophet or even Elijah. Why should Peter put them on a level with Him? There must be only one tabernacle in Israel, and that one is Christ Himself the embodiment of the complement of the Deity ( Col_2:9 ). No wonder a cloud blotted out the vision and a voice corrected his misconception. No longer were they to hearken to the prophets. "This is My Son, the Beloved. Hear Him !"

11-13 Compare Mat_17:10-13 .

11 The Minor Prophets close with the promise ( Mal_4:5-6 ): Lo! I send you Elijah the prophet Before the great and fearful day of Jehovah comes And he restores the heart of the fathers to the sons

And the heart of the sons to their fathers, Lest I should come and smite the earth to its doom. John the baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah, and would have done his work had the people repented. But he did not exercise the destructive power of that prophet. So Elijah must come again, before the kingdom is established. There is little doubt that one of the two witnesses of the end time is Elijah ( Rev_11:3-12 ) , for they perform similar prodigies. Both cause a drought for three and a half years. Both destroy their enemies by supernatural fire. Elijah did not die, but was taken up heavenward in a tempest ( 2Ki_2:11 ). His appearance on the mount, an actual spectator of Christ's glory, qualifies Him for the testimony which the two witnesses will uphold.

13 See Mat_11:14 ; Luk_1:17 .

14-27 Compare Mat_17:14-21 ; Luk_9:37-42 .

14 Having descended from the mountain, the Lord now faces Golgotha. Instead of the power and glory, He speaks of weakness and shame. He will not allow them to even mention what they have seen, until the time to proclaim the kingdom once more arrives. The first symptom of this change has already been made manifest to the disciples He has left behind. They are unable to cast out the demon from the dumb boy. Their power over the unseen world is on the wane! The demons have perceived the unbelief of the nation, and are well aware of the great change which is coming over His ministry. He no longer wishes to display His power, or that of His apostles. Rather He is laboring to teach them a far more difficult lesson-that of His weakness and death. He does not wish them to go about proclaiming the kingdom, so He withdraws the power that they had received over demons.

19 It is not that they had not faith enough to cast out the demon, but they refused to recognize the change which

Verses 30-39

His new attitude involved, which would keep them from attempting such a miracle. The great lesson in this sign is that the demon will not come out of Israel under the ministry of the apostles, as set forth in the book of Acts. Their effort is a failure. Even after that there is a delay, during which there are convulsions. The demon will go out of the nation in the midst of the severest throes, leaving it almost lifeless. The experience of the demoniac is a parallel to the experience of Israel, beginning with the renewed proclamation of the kingdom by the apostles, during the Lord's absence. Hence there is such insistence on faith and such a protracted period taken up in his healing. We may be sure that the apostles did not understand the significance of their own failure, neither could He explain this to them at that time without revealing secrets God had reserved. Had they known it they could not have entered wholeheartedly into their Pentecostal ministry. It is just such scenes as this, so meaningless and tedious to unbelief, yet so significant to the anointed eye, which overwhelm us with a sense of the divine presence on the sacred page.

30-32 Compare Mat_17:22-23 ; Luk_9:43-45 .

30 How unlike His former journeys which were crowded with the powers of the coming eon!

He spread abroad blessing with a lavish hand. The sick sought Him and were cured. The unclean spirits left at His slightest word. He scarcely had time to eat or sleep, so fully was He occupied in relieving the infirmities of the people. There is a season for every act under the sun; a time when it should, and a time when it should not be done. It had pleased God to testify to the proclamation of the kingdom by appropriate powers and signs. But now that season is past. The heralding has been hushed. The signs cease. He walks a lonely Wanderer, rejected, proscribed, threatened. Seeking to enlist the sympathy of His disciples, His words thrust them from Him, for they cannot comprehend, and His manner makes them afraid to ask. Lonely in the midst of His people! Lonely in the midst of His intimate friends! And so He sets His face toward the cross whose chill shadow is already casting its pall about Him.

33-34 Compare Mat_18:1 ; Luk_9:46 .

34 While the Son of God was in sad contemplation of the deep humiliation of the cross, His disciples were puffed up with pride, arguing about their own greatness. They could hardly have been further removed from Him in spirit. He Who had been above all was now sinking beneath all. Higher than the archangels was His primeval position; lower than the lowest of sinners is the appalling place to which His path is winding. Higher! is the selfish shout of man, intent on his own exaltation, though he tread his fellows under foot to reach his proud pinnacle. Lower! was the cry of Christ, intent on the weal of others, though He be trodden in the mire to serve them. True greatness can never be attained by striving for self. It lies only in service for others.

35-37 Compare Mat_18:2-6 ; Luk_9:47-48 ; Luk_22:24-30 .

33-41 Compare Luk_9:49-50 .

38 It was not long since the disciples had failed to cast out a demon. They were doubtless jealous of this man, for they wished to monopolize all the privileges of discipleship. The spirit of this act of the apostles has been a curse in Christendom. We are apt to think that only those who follow with us are countenanced by the Lord, or have a right to a place in His service. But the incident seems to point to a wider thought. The Lord evidently was not present when John used his authority to stop the offending miracle-worker. So, after His ascension, a whole group of men arose with Paul at their head, who did not follow with the twelve. It took much careful work to persuade the apostles that he had a ministry from the Lord as well as they ( Gal_2:2 ). There was a great work done, including the actual casting out of demons ( Act_16:18 ), in which the twelve apostles had no part. We are not associated with the twelve apostles, but with this group. Because the believing Jews would not allow the nations a place in the kingdom or the pardon of sins, their own pardon was recalled. The work here hinted at and commended by our Lord in time displaced the ministry of the twelve apostles. It is only by a grasp of their dispensational application that we may read these signs.

Verses 40-50

40 See Mat_12:30 ; Luk_11:23 .

41 See Mat_10:40-42 .

42 Compare Mat_18:6 .

43 Compare Mat_5:30 . See Deu_13:6-11 Isa_33:14 ; Isa_66:24 .

45 Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom just below Jerusalem, must not be confounded with the lake of fire, or Tartarus, or the unseen, commonly called "hell" or hades. Its fire and worms were quite as literal as can be, for the city offal was burned there. No living beings were cast into this incinerator. It is the worms, which feed on the carcases of criminals, who do not die. The fire was kept burning at all times. This will be the place where bodies of executed malefactors will be cast during the kingdom era.

49 Since the kingdom has been rejected, entrance into it is necessarily a path of judgment. Salt is a preservative. During the kingdom era corruption will be stayed. The salt that counteracts the corruption of that day will be fire, a judgment. As already elaborated, nothing that offends can enter that kingdom. It must be judged. If not, it will drag down those who harbor it into

Gehenna and its fires.

47-48 Compare Mat_5:29 .

49 See Lev_2:13 ; Eze_43:24 .

50 See Mat_5:1 3; Luk_14:34-35 ; Col_4:6 .

1-12 Compare Mat_19:1-12 .

1 Our Lord is now in Perea, over which Herod held sway. Herod had dismissed his wife for no other reason than that he wanted to marry Herodias, his brother's wife. It was John the baptist's protest against this which really cost him his life. Hence the Pharisees hope to put the Lord on the horns of a dilemma. If He countenances Herod's act, that could easily be used against Him. If He condemns it, that could be used to inflame the Herodians, if not Herod himself. But the Lord is equal to the occasion. He is greater than Moses. He knew the hardness of their hearts. He, therefore, revokes the law, and bases the union of man and wife on the original creation. Adam was both male and female in one body when he was first created ( Gen_1:27 ). Later God took from Adam, not a rib, but an angular vault to build the woman. Marriage is the reversal of this. A male and a female are joined together to make one complete human being, as Adam was at his creation. God, Who took Eve out of Adam, and thus made the separation, yokes them together again in marriage. They become a physiological unit. No man should destroy such a union. Only one cause was given by our Lord as a ground for divorce ( Mat_5:32 ). In this day of grace even this is not valid. Only desertion by an unbelieving husband or wife breaks the bonds of matrimony ( 1Co_7:15 ). The reason for this lies in the character of this economy. It is the opposite of the administration of a stony law over hard hearts. God is now dealing in pure, unadulterated grace, which forgives offenses and pleads for reconciliation in the most desperate circumstances. This should be reflected in all our social relations, especially in the marriage bond.

4 See Deu_24:1 ; Mat_5:31-32 .

6 See Gen_1:27 ; Gen_5:2 .

7 See Gen_2:24 LXX 1Co_6:16 ; Eph_5:31 .

12 See Luk_16:18 ; Rom_7:3 ; 1Co_7:10-11 .

13-16 Compare Mat_19:13-15 ; Luk_18:15-17 .

13 Children were not supposed to be capable of understanding Him, hence, hardly candidates for the kingdom. But they had the very essential which was so lacking among His disciples at this time. They had implicit faith in what they were told, and trusted those who told them. The disciples, alas, were also immature in understanding. They did not apprehend the need of the cross which He was seeking to sink into their hearts. Yet they lacked the child-like faith which believes, though it cannot comprehend.

20 The incident of the rich man contains the line of thought suggested by the little children. He was their opposite. He had confidence in him self, in his accomplishments, in his ideas. He wanted to work his way into the kingdom. As a matter of fact what he had done so far had resulted in a condition quite the opposite of the kingdom. His many acquisitions, the result of his activities, meant so much loss to his poorer neighbors. He had been anything but good to them. Had the kingdom come at that moment, he must have lost all except his own allotment. If then, he really had faith in that kingdom, and wished to enter it and enjoy eonian life, the only practical way to prove it would be to do all he could to bring about kingdom conditions. It would be absolutely impossible to hold on to his lands in that day, for it will be redistributed according to each one's need. The disciples in the Pentecostal era acted on the principles of the kingdom. They did not sell their own allotments, but disposed of the allotments of others which they had acquired, using the proceeds to help those who were in need ( Act_2:45 ).

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Mark 9". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/mark-9.html. 1968.
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