Mark 9


Mark 9:1

And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

Will not taste death. All of the disciples, except Judas, would be alive to see the Son of Man ascending into heaven and coming into his kingdom. Peter saw it and later wrote, “We were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Pet. 1:16).

Further reading: “They will not taste death


Mark 9:4

Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.

Moses and Elijah. The Mount of Transfiguration was like a stage play with three characters. On one side stood Moses and Elijah, representing the law and the prophets.


Mark 9:5

Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

The disciples marveled to see these two pillars of the old covenant talking with Jesus. But this was no cast of equals, for the spotlight shone only on one (see verse 7).


Mark 9:7

Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!”

My beloved Son. The heavenly voice repeats the message heard at Christ’s baptism. See entry for Matt. 3:17.

(b) Listen to Him. Initially, all three actors spoke. Then the Director of the transfiguration play gave his instruction: “Listen to Jesus.” What happened to Moses and Elijah? They exited stage left, leaving the Son of promise to stand alone. The ministries of Moses and Elijah were glorious, but theirs was a fading glory. They could not share the stage with the more glorious ministry of Jesus. By the mandate of heaven, Jesus, the new covenant messenger, speaks alone.


Mark 9:18

and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.”

They could not do it. The disciples had experience casting out demons (Mark 6:13), but failed to deal with this one. When they asked Jesus about it later, he said “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer” (Mark 9:29).

Prayer reminds us who is on the throne. Instead of lifting up the name of Jesus, these disciples had been arguing with the scribes (Mark 9:14). They had been contending in the flesh instead of walking by faith.


Mark 9:22

“It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”

Help us! Like the Canaanite woman who cried to Jesus for help (Matt. 15:25), this man knew that God sent Jesus to help us. See entry for Heb. 13:6.


Mark 9:24

Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

(a) I do believe. This man was a believer. He had either seen or heard accounts of the Lord’s healing and deliverance ministry. Yet his faith was being rendered ineffective by unbelief.

(b) Unbelief. The father had seen the child’s symptoms from childhood and he had looked to the disciples for help, but this only fed his unbelief. He needed to fix his eyes on the Lord.

(b) Help. For a second time, the man cries out to the Lord for help (Mark 9:22). Shamelessly asking God for help in our time of need is one way we receive grace (Heb. 4:16).


Mark 9:26

After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!”

Most of them said. When you walk by sight you will hear all sorts of negative reports. “It’s incurable.” “Get your affairs in order.” “He is dead.” But those who walk by faith look to Doctor Jesus to see what he says.


Mark 9:29

And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”

Prayer. Jesus is not saying we need to pound heaven with our prayers or that we need to pray ourselves into a lather. Don’t babble on like those who think they will be heard for their many words (Matt. 6.7). Prayer is as much about what we see rather than what we say. Paul prayed that the eyes of our hearts may be opened (Eph. 1:18). Prayer helps us see as Jesus sees. Prayer reminds us Who is on the throne.


Mark 9:43

“If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,

(a) Cut it off; see entry for Matt. 5:30.

Enter life. Two kinds of life are described in the Bible; the psuche– or soul life we inherited from Adam and the zoe– or spirit life that comes from God (John 5:26). It’s the second kind of life that is described here. To enter life is synonymous with entering the kingdom (Mark 9:47).

See entry for New Life.

(c) Hell; see entry for Matt. 5:22.

(d) Unquenchable fire; see next verse.


Mark 9:44

[where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.]

(a) Worm. This strange quote about worms, which is only recorded in Mark’s Gospel, comes from Isaiah’s prophecy on the final judgment of the Lord (see Is. 66:24). After Judgment Day, those who rebel against the Lord will be dead (“they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me”), but the worms or maggots which feed upon them will not die.

(b) Fire is not quenched. The insatiable maggots and the unquenchable fire are graphic images of a judgment that is utterly final and complete. See also the entry for Rev. 20:14.


Mark 9:45

“If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell,

(a) Enter life; see entry for Mark 9:43.

(b) Hell; see entry for Matt. 5:22.


Mark 9:46

where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.

(a) Worm; see entry for Mark 9:44.

(b) Fire is not quenched; see entry for Mark 9:44.


Mark 9:47

“If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell,

(a) To enter the kingdom of God is to enter new life and vice versa. See entry for Mark 9:43.

(b) Hell; see entry for Matt. 5:22.


Mark 9:48

where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.

(a) Worm; see entry for Mark 9:44.

(b) Fire is not quenched; see entry for Mark 9:44.


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