1. The Glory to Come foreshadowed in the Transfiguration. (Mark 9:1-13. Matthew 17:1-13; Luke 9:28-36.)
2. The helpless disciples and the secret of failure. (Mark 9:14-29. Matthew 17:14-20; Luke 9:37-42)
3. The second announcement of His death. (Mark 9:30-32. Matthew 17:22-23; Luke 9:43-45)
4. The self-seeking disciples.(Mark 9:33-37. Matthew 18:1-5; Luke 9:46-48)
5. The Servant’s gentleness and tolerance. (Mark 9:38-41. Luke 9:49-50)
6. The solemn warning. (Mark 9:42-50. Matthew 18:6-9.)
1. The Glory to Come foreshadowed in the Transfiguration., Mark 9:1-13
The Lord had the transfiguration in mind when He spoke of some standing there and not tasting death. 2 Peter 1:16 gives the meaning of the transfiguration as a type and earnest of His Coming into His Kingdom. On that mountain the three disciples saw the Kingdom of God come with power. The Servant appears in Glory. The Saints are represented by Moses and Elias, those who have died and those changed in the twinkling of an eye. The three disciples represented the Saints on earth, when He comes into His Kingdom; the Shekinah cloud was there. And Peter blundered again when he lowered the dignity of the Lord by putting Him alongside of the two Old Testament Servants of God. The Father’s voice is heard once more, vindicating the honor of His Son. What an encouragement the transfiguration must have been for the Servant-Son.
2. The helpless disciples; the secret of their failure. Mark 9:14-29
The whole scene is of greatest importance. The Conditions He finds returning from the mount of transfiguration are typical of the conditions on the earth when He comes again. Here are helpless disciples, triumphant, unbelieving scribes and the manifestation of Satan’s power. All this we cannot follow in detail. Notice the additions in Mark’s account. They had no power to cast out the demon, because they were “faithless.” The Lord told them that lack of prayer and fasting were the causes of their failure. Dependence on God and denial of self are meant. How gracious was the complete deliverance of the afflicted boy. If God’s people knew more of real prayer and real denial of self, there would be a greater manifestation of His power through them.
3. The second announcement of His death., Mark 9:30-32
Passing again through Galilee He announced His death and resurrection the second time. They understood not and were afraid to ask Him. The cross was foreign to them. Other thoughts occupied their hearts.
4. The self-seeking disciples., Mark 9:33-37
And while He who had made of Himself no reputation, who came to be the Servant of all, was looking towards the goal of His earthly ministry, the cross and its shame, they disputed all the way who should be the greatest. Vain glory filled their hearts in expectation of the earthly kingdom for which they waited. They were unable to enter into His thoughts. They were silent because they realized that their dispute was wrong. Then He taught them. The desire of being first shows only fitness to be last. Such a desire reveals nothing but self. Humility must ever be a leading characteristic of the disciple. Then He illustrates it by the small child He took in His arms. Such in dependence, humbleness in mind and confidence, the disciples must be to enjoy His fellowship. With such He can identify Himself.
5. The Servant’s gentleness., Mark 9:38-41
Another form of self appears among the disciples. John would have the Lord rebuke those who used His name effectually and belonged not to their company. It was a narrow sectarianism. Of all the manifestations of self the religious sectarian self, as expressed in exclusivism, rejecting those who do not fellowship with them--is by far the worst, and in the Epistles by the Spirit of God is designated as a work of the flesh. How very offensive it must have been to God’s perfect Servant. Yet what a gentle answer He gives. How we all can learn from Him. The smallest service in doing honor to His name would not be forgotten of God.
6. The Solemn Warning., Mark 9:42-50
The words are for both saint and sinner. We quote from another on this solemn word. “Nevertheless, as regards themselves, all depends on the faithfulness of Christ; and on this account they need to free themselves from all the things which tend to separate from Christ, which led into sin, and bring on apostasy in the heart as well as outward apostasy. God will keep His own, but He will keep them in making them obedient to His Word. Besides this, God puts all to the proof; the fire of His judgment is applied to all, both to saints and sinners. In the saints it consumes the dross, in order that the pure gold may shine in its true lustre; in the case of sinners it is the fire of eternal judgment that is not quenched.
“‘Every sacrifice must be salted with salt’ refers to Leviticus 2:13. The salt represents the power of the Holy Spirit to keep us from all that is impure and produce holiness in a heart devoted to God, to keep us from all corruption. ‘Have salt in yourselves.’ He wishes us to exercise diligence in order that our souls, in our walk, may be thus sanctified before God, and then manifest it before the world and that we should walk with others in peace.” (J.N. Darby on “Mark.”)
“The burden” where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, “falls on the conscience stricken like the bell that tolls the felon to his doom. Would that it might kindle our hearts who believe into an unwonted earnestness on behalf of perishing souls!” Many attempts are made to deny the solemn warning in its fearful meaning, but they are eternal truth. The Son of God came from Heaven’s Glory, walked on earth as the Servant and tasted death, yea, forsaken of God on the Cross, to save man from the unquenchable fire.
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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Mark 9". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Lent