9:1 And Jesus was saying to them [the disciples], “Truly I say to you, there are some of those [perhaps reference to Peter, James, and John who witnessed the Transfiguration; these three comprised the inner circle of the disciples] who are standing here who will not taste death until they see [cf. 2 Pet. 1:16-18] the kingdom of God after it has come with power [the three disciples saw this in the Transfiguration].”
9:2 Six days [cf. Ex. 24:16 re: Moses waiting six days before ascending Mt. Sinai to meet the Lord] later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James [would become the first of the disciples to suffer a martyr’s death (Acts 12:1-2)] and John, and brought them up on a high mountain [mountain not identified but believed to be Mount Hermon or Mount Tabor] by themselves. And He was transfigured [from Gr. Word “metamorphothe” or metamorphosis; this experience gave the three disciples a brief glimpse of Jesus’ true glory and divinity] before them;
9:3 and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer [a fuller or bleacher of clothing] on earth can whiten them.
9:4 Elijah [represented the prophets who foretold coming of Messiah; had met God on a mountain (1 Kings 19:8-18)] appeared to them along with Moses [represented the Law; had meet God on a mountain (Ex. 24:12-18) and predicted coming of a great prophet (Deut. 18:15-19)]; and they were talking with Jesus.
9:5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi [Master or Teacher], it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles [like the booths used to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:42-43)], one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
9:6 For he did not know what to answer [Peter impetuously spoke when he should have remained silent and listened and learned from the experience]; for they became terrified.
9:7 Then a cloud [reminiscent of the “pillar of cloud” that led Israelites after the exodus (Ex. 13:21)] formed, overshadowing them, and a voice [the voice singled out Jesus] came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen [cf. Deut. 18:15] to Him! [cf. Mk. 1:1; Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah]”
9:8 All at once [suddenly] they looked around and saw no one with them anymore, except Jesus alone.
9:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, He gave them orders not to relate to anyone [this likely included the other disciples] what they had seen, until the Son of Man rose from the dead [this was the specified time period for their silence].
9:10 They seized [to grasp] upon that statement [to keep in mind], discussing with one another what rising from the dead meant [cf. Jn. 20:9].
9:11 They asked Him, saying, “Why is it that the scribes say that Elijah must come first [i.e., before the Messiah in order to usher in messianic age; Mal. 4:5-6; see Mk. 1:1-4 re: role of John the Baptist]?”
9:12 And He said to them, “Elijah does first come and restore all things as per Mal. 4:5-6]. And yet how is it written [cf. Ps. 22:14,16-17; Isa. 53:1-12] of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be treated with contempt?
9:13 “But I say to you that Elijah has indeed come [cf. Matt. 17:13 re: John the Baptist who confronted sin and pointed people to God], and they did to him whatever they wished [John the Baptist suffered at the hands of Herod and Herodias (Mk. 6:14-29); see also Lk. 7:30], just as it is written of him.”
9:14 When they came back [according to Lk. 9:37 this occurred “the next day”] to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them [most likely about disciples failure to cast out a demon].
9:15 Immediately, when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed [filled with wonder] and began running up to greet Him [the people were happy to see Jesus].
9:16 And He asked them [possibly asked the scribes], “What are you discussing [disputing or arguing] with them?”
9:17 And one of the crowd [the father of the demon-possessed boy] answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit [an evil spirit] which makes him mute;
9:18 and whenever it seizes him, [symptoms similar to an epileptic seizure] it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out [the demonic always seeks to destroy]. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it [cf. Mark 6:7,13 re: disciples “casting out many demons”].”
9:19 And He answered them and said, “O unbelieving generation [cf. Moses’ frustration in Deut. 32:5,20], how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me [note that Jesus takes action at this point]!”
9:20 They brought the boy to Him. When he [the evil spirit] saw Him, immediately the spirit [responded with a final attack on the boy] threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth.
9:21 And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him [this question would highlight how long the boy and his family had struggled with what was to them a hopeless situation]?” And he said, “From childhood.
9:22 “It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him [read between the lines to see a father who had to constantly watch his son and to rescue him from danger]. But if You can do anything [indicates a bit of doubt on the part of the father, perhaps because of the inability of the disciples to help], take pity on us and help us [note that the father said “us” because he identified with his son’s suffering but would also be the beneficiary of Jesus’ help]!”
9:23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can [essentially asking, “Do you believe that I can?”]?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”
9:24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief. [the man honestly acknowledged that his faith was weak; cf. Syrophoenician woman in Mk. 7:25-30]”
9:25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again [complete healing].” [four out of thirteen healing stories in Mark’s Gospel deal with exorcism of demons]
9:26 After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions [cf. Mk. 1:26], it came out; and the boy [understandably exhausted] became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!”
9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him [Jesus had not healed the boy only to let him die; He renewed the boy’s health and strength]; and he got up.
9:28 When He came into the house [a private setting where Jesus could debrief with His disciples], His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we [the word “we” may reveal why they were ineffective] not drive it out [a legitimate question in light of the fact that they had previously driven out demons (Mk. 6:7,13)]?”
9:29 And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer [we must never become so lax as to think we do not need to pray to accomplish God’s purposes; we demonstrate our reliance on God through prayer].”
9:30 From there [the Decapolis] they went out and began to go through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know about it [perhaps to spend time with His disciples].
9:31 For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man [this title occurs fourteen times in Mark’s Gospel; Daniel used this term in reference to one who would come from heaven to preside over the last judgment and the new age (Dan. 7:13)] is to be delivered [will be betrayed] into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.”
9:32 But they did not understand this statement [because they expected Him to set up a political kingdom], and they were afraid to ask Him [perhaps because of the incident recorded in Mk. 8:32-33].
9:33 They came to Capernaum [located on northwest shore of Sea of Galilee; served as Jesus’ base of operations during early days of His ministry]; and when He was in the house [possibly the home of Peter (cf. Mk. 1:21,29)], He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?”
9:34 But they kept silent [they were too ashamed to answer Jesus], for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. [an indication that they were being driven by pride and ambition at this point, contrary to what they had heard Jesus teach about sacrifice and service in Mk. 8:34-35; these disciples value rank while Jesus valued servanthood; see Lk. 14:7-11 re: rank in Jewish culture]
9:35 Sitting down [the posture of a Jewish teacher], He called the twelve and said to them [Jesus illustrated that, in the kingdom, one must descend into greatness, a concept contrary to the world’s standards], “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all [meeting needs of others without expecting anything in return].”
9:36 [Jesus used an object lesson to illustrate His point] Taking a child [word for “servant” and “child” is the same in Aramaic language], He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them [cf. parallel account in Matt. 18:1-5],
9:37 “Whoever receives one child [represents those who are weak, innocent, and vulnerable] like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”
9:38 John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.”
9:39 But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me.
9:40 “For he who is not against us is for us [cf. Matt. 12:30; when it comes to our relationship with Jesus, there can be no neutrality; we are either for Him or against Him].
9:41 “For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink [cf. matt. 25:31-46] because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward [this is not a reference to salvation by works].
9:42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones [children or those weak and vulnerable] who believe to stumble [by way of teaching or example; there is accountability for those who influence children to do wrong or to stumble], it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone [a heavy stone used to grind grain, olives, or grapes] hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.
9:43 [although the metaphorical language is strong, it should not be misinterpreted to mean self-mutilation] “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off [renounce and forsake]; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,
9:44 [where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.]
9:45 “If your foot [the means by which one travels to do evil] causes you to stumble, cut it off [not literally, but instead to stop practices, relationships, or activities that lead us to do evil]; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell [or Gehenna, word derived from Valley of Hinnom, located south of Jerusalem; the city garbage dump where fires burned constantly],
9:46 [where THEIR WORM [represents internal pain] DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE [represents external pain] IS NOT QUENCHED.]
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,
9:48 where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.
9:49 “For everyone will be salted [purifies] with fire.
9:50 “Salt [cf. Matt. 5:13] is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty [loses it’s usefulness], with what will you make it salty again [impossible for salt to regain it’s saltiness once it has lost it?] Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”