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Bible Commentaries
Mark 9

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


Remember this! This must speak of the Kingdom coming with power on the day called Pentecost (Acts 2:0). Matthew says: “until they have seen the Son of Man come as King” (Matthew 16:28). Luke says: “until they have seen the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:27). Jesus says this will take place during the lifetime of some who stood there with him. See also notes on Matthew 16:18; Colossians 1:13.

Verse 2


Six days later. For notes on the Transfiguration, see Matthew 17:1-13. Be sure to see also Luke 9:28-36.

Verse 12


Elijah does indeed come first. John the Baptist came in the “spirit” of Elijah. See notes on Matthew 17:10-13.

Verse 14


When they Joined the rest of the disciples. This is just after the Transfiguration. For notes on healing the boy, see Matthew 17:14-21. Mark gives the most details. The symptoms were those of epilepsy, but in this case it was an evil spirit causing the problem.

Verse 23


If you can! There is no question that Jesus can do it. He turns it around to the father: “if you can!” Jesus requires faith (Hebrews 11:6).

Verse 24


The father at once cried out. Both eagerness and fear are mixed in the outcry of the father: eagerness to have his son healed; fear that his faith is not strong enough. Help me have morel The father was not certain that Jesus could heal his son (Mark 9:22). He asks for more faith, since Jesus has made him aware of the need (Mark 9:23). If your faith is weak, ask Jesus to help!

Verse 26


Threw the boy into a bad fit. The evil spirit doesn’t want to leave, and it tries to destroy the son. The boy looked like a corpse. The fit leaves him exhausted and in a coma. Jesus takes the boy by the hand, and the cure is complete!

Verses 28-29


Why couldn’t we drive the spirit out? Jesus said: “It was because you did not have enough faith” (Matthew 17:20). No demon could defy them if they had faith [on faith, see note on James 2:19-20]. Only prayer can drive this kind out. Faith reaches out through prayer to seize the power of Christ [for one who is already a Christian, John 9:31]. [Some versions add: “and fasting” from Matthew’s Gospel. Do not think of prayer and fasting as a ritual of exorcism. These are general principles of spiritual growth.] When faith focuses on God’s act in Christ, we forget self and can do many things through Christ. When faith turns inward to “self,” we cannot drive out the “evil spirits” of worldliness, selfishness, greed, immorality, etc. See Peter’s example Matthew 14:29-30.

Verses 30-32


The Son of Man will be handed over. Judas would hand him over to the Jewish leaders. See notes on Matthew 17:22-23 [“Son of Man,” see John 9:35. ]

Verse 33


What were you arguing about? See notes on Matthew 18:1-9.

Verse 35


And be the servant of all. Not just the servant of friends, or family, or class, or even of church members. Jesus made himself the servant of ALL! Humility and service are the measure of true greatness.

Verse 38


Teacher, we saw a man. They had just returned from a teaching mission, on which they were driving out demons (Matthew 10:8). They probably met this man while on their mission. He must have been a disciple of Christ, yet not one who had been given a commission as they had. Driving out demons in your name. Actually doing it! Such workers as this were believers, or they could not have used his name (compare the sons of Sceva. Acts 19:13-17).

Verse 39


Do not try to stop him. They had tried to stop him, but had not succeeded. Jesus neither praises nor condemns the man for going his own way and not working with the twelve. Johnson says: “He simply declares that he must not be forbidden, and that those who work the same kind of work that we do should be regarded, not as enemies, but allies.” See notes on Philippians 1:15-18. Note that anyone who does not help Christ gather is really scattering (Matthew 12:30).

Verse 42


Cause one of these little ones to turn away. The parallel passage in Matthew 18:6-9 shows he is speaking of little children (see notes there.) Yet, as this comes just after his statement in Mark 9:40, Jesus may have intended them to apply this also to the man they tried to stop (Mark 9:38).

Verse 43


To the fire that never goes out. See note on Matthew 5:22 Gehenna was symbolic of the “lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14). Both the “heaven” where God lives, and the “hell” to which Satan is consigned, are spiritual places. Human language cannot accurately describe either of them. Both places will be very real to those who spend eternity there!

Verse 48


Their worms never die. This is the language of Isaiah 66:24. Probably the Jews in Jesus’ time used these words to describe eternal punishment.

Verse 49


For everyone will be salted with fire. In Mark 9:45-48 Jesus emphasizes that it would be the best of the bargain to sacrifice a hand, or foot, or eye [if that would help] to escape from God’s wrath. Fire symbolizes pain, suffering, punishment, persecution, etc. Salt symbolizes permanence, to keep from spoiling, etc. Every one, good or bad, must and does suffer. Fire will test and show the quality of each man’s works (1 Corinthians 3:13). The apostles, especially, would be salted with fire (1 Corinthians 4:9-13).

Verse 50


Salt is good. See note on Matthew 5:13. Have salt in yourselves. The spirit of self-sacrifice and humility [which “salting with fire” helps produce]. This would allow them to be at peace with one another, which was not true of them just then (Mark 9:33-37).

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Mark 9". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/mark-9.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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