The Transfiguration. An Epileptic Healed. Prediction of His Death
2-8. The Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1; Luke 9:28). See on Mt.
9-13. A question about Elijah. See on Matthew 17:9-13.
14-29. An epileptic healed (Matthew 17:14; Luke 9:37). See on Mt.
23. If thou canst believe] RV 'If thou canst! All things,' etc.
29. By prayer and fasting] RV omits 'and fasting,' but the evidence for it is strong.
30-32. Prediction of the Passion (Matthew 17:22; Luke 9:43). See on Mt.
33-37. The controversy as to which should be greatest.(Matthew 18:1; Luke 9:46). See on Mt.
38-40. The man casting out devils in Christ's name (Luke 9:49). The apostles report that a private Christian, who had not been called to the apostolic office ('he followeth not with us,' Lk), and had received no definite commission from Christ to work miracles, as the apostles had (Mark 3:15), was nevertheless casting out devils in Christ's name. Jealous for the privileges of their newly acquired office, they forbade him, but Christ says that they ought to have welcomed his help. Cp. the history of Eldad and Medad (Numbers 11:26), where Moses rebukes Joshua for the same jealous attitude. The lesson is that the spiritual gifts of the laity ought to be fully developed and utilised for the good of the Church, and that the clergy ought to welcome and not be jealous of their help.
38. John] The name only in Mark. The fiery temperament of Boanerges here comes out.
39. That can lightly speak evil of me] RV 'and be able quickly to speak evil of me.' The success of the man's ministry proved the genuineness of his faith. If he had been an enemy of Jesus, he could not have worked the miracles: see Acts 19:13.
40. For he that is not against us is on our part] Much to be preferred is the more pointed version of Lk, which is also strongly attested here: 'For he that is not against you is for you' (Lk RV). The meaning is, The man, though without your apostolic commission, was doing, and doing successfully, the very same benevolent work that you were doing. You ought, therefore, to have esteemed him a friend and a helper, not an enemy. A jealous and exclusive spirit is unworthy of the ministers of Christ.
41-50. On offences (Matthew 18:6; Luke 17:1). See on Mt.
41. See on Matthew 10:42.
44, 46. These vv. (which are identical with Mark 9:48) are omitted by the best modern authorities.
48. Where their worm dieth not] Isaiah 66:24. Literally, the worm is the maggot bred in putrefying substances (Exodus 16:20; Isaiah 14:11; Acts 12:23). Figuratively it stands for the moral corruption and degradation which follow upon a long course of wilful sin, and ultimately issue in eternal death. The lost soul, being at length hopelessly corrupt, and loathsome even to itself, has its own hell within it.
49. For every one shall be salted with fire] The conclusion of this v. (and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt) is omitted by the RV, but is too strongly attested to be safely rejected. The saying is a most difficult one, and there are about twenty different interpretations. The probable meaning is, Every believer shall be 'salted,' i.e. purified and prepared for eternity, by the 'fire' of discipline, i.e. by the struggles with the flesh (Mark 9:43), and other afflictions and temptations of this life; and 'every sacrifice,' i.e. every person, who presents himself, his soul, and body, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice to God, shall be 'salted,' i.e. purified and prepared for eternity, by the salt of divine grace. The 'salt' here is the salt of the new covenant, i.e. the grace which is given to believers in. Christ: see Leviticus 2:13.
50. Salt is good] 'Divine grace is good, but if the divine grace given to you as Christians dies, owing to your neglect to use it, how will you revive it? Preserve and make due use of the divine grace given to you, especially the grace of charity, and thus you will be at peace with one another.' In Matthew 5:13, by an easy transference, the apostles themselves are called 'salt,' as possessing divine grace. Among the ancients salt was an emblem of wisdom and of friendship. To the latter signification our Lord alludes when He says, 'Have peace one with another.'
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Mark 9". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany