“And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. 2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. 3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. 4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. 5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. 7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. 10 And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. 11 And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? 12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. 13 But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.” Mark 9:1-13 (KJV)
THE GLORY OF JESUS IS SEEN BY A FEW WHILE JESUS SPEAKS TO ELIJAH AND MOSES ABOUT HIS DEATH (Luke 9:31).
In verse 1 Jesus is most likely speaking of those who would see His “Transfiguration” which is about to happen, and it happened only before the three disciples – Peter, James, and John. In Luke’s account of this glory the three disciples had fallen asleep. There are times to sleep and times to fight going to sleep, and this seems like it was one of those times to fight sleep. They almost missed it.
The two to whom Jesus was speaking were considered dead and gone. Moses died and Elijah had just “gone” by the power of a “chariot of fire”. Moses represents the “Law” of God, and Elijah represents the “Prophets” of God. It is important for us to catch the message which the “Voice from Heaven” speaks. “This is my beloved Son: hear Him.” Those words tell us that the most important thing we can hear is Jesus. The “Law” and the “Prophets” speak of Jesus. John the apostle wrote in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, “…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (REV. 19:10).
According to Luke 9:31 Jesus was speaking to Moses and Elijah of His coming death. No other of the gospel writers mention this. It tells us clearly that was the direction Jesus was headed – to Jerusalem to die, and make atonement for the sin of mankind.
In Matthew and Luke the text tells us it was “Moses and Elijah”. Mark is the only one who writes “Elijah and Moses”. It is important for us to remember the history of these two men. Moses died and was buried by God, and no one knew where he was buried (DEUT. 34:5-6); and Elijah never died. He was carried to Heaven by a fiery chariot (2 Kings 2:11), and Elisha, his pupil in the prophetic ministry, received a “double portion” of Elijah’s spirit. There is quite a picture given here to us. That is that at the future coming of Jesus Christ in His glory all that know Jesus, the living and the dead, will be raised to share in that eternal glory with Him.
“And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. 15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. 16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? 17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; 18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. 19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. 20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. 22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. 26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. 28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:14-29 (KJV)
ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO THEM THAT BELIEVE.
It is apparent by our text that the young man of whom it is speaking was afflicted by an “evil spirit”. He has been afflicted for several years, even from early childhood. We can see from this that children are not exempt from evil or even the devil or his demons. Children can be susceptible to Satan from a very early age, but then, all are born into sin, and none are without sin.
This boy had often been thrown into the fire, and into the waters. This demon hated this boy, and that is something we all need to remember that the devil and his hordes hates mankind, and will do whatever it takes to destroy the human race.
Notice, Jesus’ rebuke of the “Faithless generation”. He is probably referring to “scribes” who are there in argument with the disciples, accusing and excusing their own actions and accusing the disciples of not having power to help this boy.
When Jesus calls for the boy and they bring him to Him the boys goes into a “fit”; falling on the ground and foaming at the mouth. You will notice the father is not only asking Jesus to help his son, but also himself; he says, “Have compassion on us, and help us.” The father later says, “I believe; help thou mine unbelief”. This father new to whom to bring his son, but he had not witnessed the power of Jesus before, but he was about to. He had the faith to bring his son to Jesus, and that was a good starting point.
There are many psychologists who probably would reckon this boy to have epilepsy, or some neurological disorder, but not demon possessed. Notice though why it must be demon possession; 1) this personality recognized Jesus because he did not want to come before him, thus causing the boy to throw himself on the ground and foam at the mouth; 2) Jesus spoke to the spirit and commanded him to come out, and to stay out; 3) the spirit cried out through the boy and wreaked havoc on him one last time, evidently fighting for his “territory” but could not fight against his creator and win.
Note Jesus’ final words on this matter, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. Mark 9:29 (KJV)”. The matter of this boy’s well being hinged on the battle of two worlds, and who was to overcome. There is a spiritual warfare we must wage everyday. It is not an easy fight. We must commit ourselves to prayer, and at times we must give ourselves to it diligently even to the point of forsaking our food and nourishment for the day or a period of time. We cannot win spiritual battles if we are weak in the Spirit of God. That was the problem with the disciples, and why they could not help this man or his son. It is a battle we wage to keep the souls of men from eternal torment. We must pray for them to have opened eyes to see the death of Christ on the cross, his resurrection; and that they will have an open heart to receive the glorious salvation of God through Jesus Christ.
It is an imperative that we remember the words of Jesus, “All things are possible to him/[her] that believeth”. It is not just believing in the event as history, but in the person of Jesus Himself.
“And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it. 31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. 32 But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him. 33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? 34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. 35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. 36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, 37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. 38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. 39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. 40 For he that is not against us is on our part.” Mark 9:30-40 (KJV)
A GRASPING FOR POWER BRINGS A REBUKE FROM JESUS, AND AN ANSWER TO THEIR PROBLEM.
Jesus is teaching a valuable lesson in these verses about service and “Greatness” or power and position. He says He is going to die and then He will be glorified by resurrection. He will die for our sins, and then by resurrection be given all that was His from the beginning. By His death Jesus was serving the human race by providing our eternal salvation.
There are many people today looking for a longevity to life; they look for power and prestige, and position; but they look to themselves, when all that is needed is to bow at the feet of Jesus and call Him Lord, and wash the feet of our fellow man by service. What great privilege it is to serve the Lord and bless our fellow man.
Jesus does enlist a small child as an illustration of humility and service. A child will subject themselves to an older person, and most of the time trust in their care. We are to come to Christ as little children, and we are to always receive our fellow man as if they were “little children”. In receiving the “child” we receive Jesus and the One who sent Him. And that is the Father.
When we see others working in the name of the Lord do we grow jealous, protective of our own work, or do we say, “Great! Someone else is working in His vineyard.” The latter should be our attitude and we should be an encouragement to all who are serving the Lord, and living for His glory. This is not to be a blanket statement that approves of all who claim to be working in the name of Jesus, but to those who are Biblically sound, and those who are truly in Christ Jesus.
“For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. 42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. 43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. 50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” Mark 9:41-50 (KJV)
THE HORRENDOUS, ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES OF SIN.
What is the price of sin? “Sin will take you farther than you want to go; slowly but wholly taking control; sin will leave you longer than you want to stay; sin will cost you far more than you can ever pay.” ANON. It is something that Jesus took quite serious. He took it so seriously that He went all the way to the cross and died, taking all our sin on Himself, paying the price that was mine and yours to pay.
How seriously does Jesus take sin? Let us look at these verses. Do not offend a “little one” for it would be better that a millstone were tied around your neck and be thrown into the sea. “If your hand offends you, cut it off”; “If your eye offends you pluck it out”. It seems to me like Jesus takes sin quite seriously. He was willing to pay the price for our sin that we might have eternal life in His eternal presence. Jesus is not advocating the torture, or destruction of our bodies, but He is showing us the degradation of sin and its costliness and the price we should pay. Simply cutting off a hand will not keep you from sinning. Plucking out an eye will not keep you from the sin of lusting. We saw in chapter seven that it is in the heart of man where we must deal with sin. How much are you willing to pay to rid your life of sin? Jesus was willing to give His life.
Jesus uses here the illustration of Gehenna – the garbage, trash, waste dump of the city of Jerusalem – that burned continually and the fire was never out. There is an eternal fire that burns, where no desires are ever met, and there is nothing but pain, sorrow, hatred, vileness, hostility, and war. Is that the place you want to be? Is that the place where you want your friends and neighbors to spend eternity? It is the place Jesus described as “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:46 (KJV)”. He mentions this twice. Is there a Heaven? If Jesus said He was preparing a place for us, and that He was coming to take us to that place; then, yes there is a Heaven. Is there a place called Hell? Jesus mentions more about Hell than He does about Heaven. He spent a whole story of a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus to tell us of the reality of Hell. He describes it as a place of flames, torment, and a place you would not want to be. This is in Luke chapter sixteen.
Hell is the place we all deserve to be. We do not deserve Heaven, but because of the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross and by the power of His resurrection we can go to Heaven for all eternity, but not without Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.
In the beginning of this chapter we see Jesus in His glory and speaking with Elijah and Moses. In between this picture of the glory of Jesus and this warning of Hell we find a child being tormented by a demon, disciples arguing about who is the greatest will be the greatest among them, and one disciple wondering about a man who is doing the work of Jesus who is not a part of their group. These are the things that happen between Heaven and Hell. As a matter of fact when Jesus died on the cross His head was toward Heaven and His feet were toward Hell, and His arms were outstretched to the world in invitation to come to Him.
What a Servant. What a Savior. For His arms are still outstretched to all so we may come to Him.
-Tim A. Blankenship