9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve [cf. Lk. 6:13-16] together, he gave them power [“Divine work can only be accomplished in dependence upon divine power.” (Watchman Nee)] and authority [the right to accomplish a task] to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,
9:2 and he sent them out [“two by two” as per Mk. 6:7] to preach [to proclaim or herald a message] the kingdom of God and to heal the sick [healing authenticated their ministry].
9:3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey [travel light]—no staff [aided in walking long distances and could also be used for protection], no bag [used to carry supplies; beggars often carried bags], no bread, no money, no extra tunic.
9:4 Whatever house you enter [an indication of hospitality], stay there [do not move to a better or more comfortable place should the opportunity present itself] until you leave that town.
9:5 If people do not welcome you [warning to expect opposition], shake the dust off your feet [this action had strong cultural implications; indicated contempt for an area and no further involvement with the people of that area; cf. Lk. 10:10-11; Acts 13:51] when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.”
9:6 So they [six teams of two] set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.
9:7 Now Herod [Herod Antipas (a son of Herod the Great); had John the Baptist executed (Lk. 3:19-20; Matt. 14:1-12); Jesus taken to Herod before the Crucifixion (Lk. 23:6-12)] the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead,
9:8 others that Elijah [the OT prophet taken to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:1-11)] had appeared [some applied the prophecy in Mal. 4:5 applied to Jesus], and still others that one of the prophets [such as Moses, Isaiah, or Jeremiah] of long ago had come back to life.
9:9 But Herod said, “I beheaded John [cf. Matt. 14:1-12; Mk. 6:14-29]. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.
9:10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida [Andrew and his brother Simon and Philip were from Bethsaida (Jn. 1:44), a small town located on the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee; name Bethsaida means “house of fish”],
9:11 but the crowds learned about it and followed [continuous action: kept following] him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
9:12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said [note that the Twelve essentially were unwilling to accept responsibility for the welfare of the crowd…], “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”
9:13 He replied [note that Jesus placed the responsibility for the welfare of the crowd on the shoulders of the Twelve…], “You give them something to eat.” They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread [“five small barley loaves” (Jn. 6:9), the cheapest of all grains; considered an inferior sort of bread] and two fish [probably small pickled fish]—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.”
9:14 (About five thousand [indication of Jesus’ popularity] men were there.) But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit [recline; it was spring (cf. Jn. 6:4) and there was plenty of green (cf. Mk. 6:39) grass on hillside] down [to facilitate serving] in groups of about fifty each.”
9:15 The disciples did so, and everybody sat down.
9:16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish [meager human resources in divine hands] and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks [a reminder that God is the source of everything we have and need; important to express gratitude to God for providing for our material needs; similar to what was done by the head of each family at the Passover] and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples [disciples involved in this process] to set before the people [many of these probably seldom had enough to eat].
9:17 They all ate and were satisfied [completely filled; suggests an ample supply of food], and the disciples picked up [good stewardship] twelve basketfuls [cf. Jn. 6:13 re: “baskets” from Gr. kophinos: usually denotes a large basket, such as might be used to carry bulky objects] of broken pieces [excess bread rather than scraps; the pieces broken by Jesus and not consumed (cf. Mk. 6:41); including leftover fish as per Mk. 6:43] that were left over [Jesus was and able to abundantly meet needs].
9:18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked [the most significant question people must answer] them, “Who [asking questions was one of Jesus’ favorite means of teaching] do the crowds [popular opinion] say I am [Jesus used this question as an opportunity to clarify His mission to His disciples ; cf. Matt. 16:13: “Who do people say the Son of Man (Jesus’ favorite self description; a seldom used title for the Messiah) is?”]?”
9:19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist [whose ministry brought great spiritual renewal in Israel ; executed by Herod Antipas who later thought Jesus was John raised from the dead (Matt. 14:1-2)]; others say Elijah [Jews considered Elijah their most honored prophet; some believed Jesus was Elijah appearing in fulfillment of end-time prophecy as per Mal. 4:5]; and still others, that one of the prophets [term falls short of who Jesus is; popular opinion failed to recognize Jesus for who He really is] of long ago has come back to life.”
9:20 “But what about you [ultimately every person must decide for themselves the answer to this question]?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter [acting as a spokesman] answered [correctly; cf. Matt. 16:17], “The [use of the article defines Christ as the one promised in the OT] Christ [the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word Messiah (one anointed by God); many Jews were expecting a military leader] of God.”
9:21 Jesus strictly warned [to order, to instruct; strong prohibition] them not [until they fully comprehended His mission] to tell this [that He was the Christ; many Jews expecting an earthly Messiah different than the kind of Messiah Jesus was; to avoid “messianic misunderstanding”] to anyone.
9:22 And he said, “The Son of Man [Jesus’ favorite designation of Himself: links Him with the Son of Man mentioned in the OT] must [Jesus’ death was a divine necessity — God’s plan for His life — He voluntarily laid down His life] suffer many things and be rejected [as a result of fulfilling His mission] by [all the key Jewish religious leaders…] the elders [lay leaders; those who ruled the synagogues; responsible for religious and civil issues], chief priests [current and past; those in charge of temple worship — Sadducees] and teachers of the law [Pharisees; scribes or legal experts in the law], and he must be killed [Jesus had an awareness of His destiny] and on the third day be raised to life [see Mark 9:10; Jesus ultimate destiny was life, not death].”
9:23 Then he said to them all [His disciples (9:18)]: “If anyone would come after me [to be Jesus’ disciple], he must deny himself [willingness to let go of selfish desires or anything that would prevent complete commitment] and take up his cross [the cross meant one thing to Jesus: death; those who took up the cross in Jesus’ day went on “a one-way journey;” follow Jesus to death if necessary; die to selfish desires/ambitions; Jesus’ followers understood the meaning of the cross, the Roman instrument of execution] daily [as they faced new situations, new people, new challenges, new problems] and follow [to take the same road of self-denial and self-sacrifice as Jesus] me.
Note: “It is certainly the case that the Roman world was largely unanimous that crucifixion was a horrific, disgusting business.” (“Crucifixion” • by Martin Hengel • p. 37)
“But the executioner, the veiling of the head and the very word ‘cross’ should be far removed not only from the person of a Roman citizen but from his thoughts, his eyes and his ears.” (Crucifixion • by Martin Hengel • [Cicero quote] p. 42)
“Muhammad had such an extreme aversion to the cross that he broke everything brought into his house that had such a form.” (“Unveiling Islam” by Ergun & Emir Caner, p. 93)
9:24 For whoever wants to save his life [reflects attitude of those interested in holding on to earthly rewards and security; those who refuse to serve others] will lose it, but whoever loses his life [reflects attitude of one willing to give up earthly rewards and security] for me [for Christ and His kingdom] will save it.
9:25 What good [profit] is it for a man to gain [to win, to make a profit] the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit [to suffer loss, to suffer confiscation] his very self?
9:26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
9:27 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see [“before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” (cf. Matt. 16:28)] the kingdom of God.”
9:28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took [Jesus’ inner circle of disciples…] Peter, John and James [nicknamed “Sons of Thunder” (Mk. 3:17); James was the first disciple to be martyred (Acts 12:2)] with him and went up onto a mountain [exact site not identified; possibilities include Mount Tabor, Mount Hermon, and Mount Meron] to pray.
9:29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed [“transfigured” (Matt. 17:2) from Gr. metamorphoomai: to transform or to change in form, in this case an instant metamorphosis; allowed Peter, James, and John to glimpse His eternal glory], and his clothes became as bright [“white” (Matt. 17:2) is a symbol of purity] as a flash of lightning.
9:30 Two men, Moses [represented the Law] and Elijah [represented the prophets; cf. Matt. 5:17; Heb. 1:2],
9:31 appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure [term means “exodus”], which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.
9:32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
9:33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter [emotional; could not restrain feelings] said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here [Peter wanted to prolong the experience on the mountain (but they were needed in the valley: cf. Matt. 17:14-16)]. Let us put up three shelters [temporary shelters made of branches such as the ones erected during the Feast of Tabernacles (cf. Lev. 23:42-43)]—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)
9:34 While he [Peter] was speaking, a cloud [in OT often represented/signified God’s presence among His people (cf. Ex. 13:21-22; 24:15-18; 1 Kings 8:10)] appeared and enveloped them [Jesus, Moses, and Elijah], and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.
9:35 A voice came from the cloud, saying [God interrupted Peter; words spoken for benefit of Peter, James, and John], “This is my Son, whom I have chosen [cf. Matt. 17:5]; listen [command; implies obedience; must stop talking in order to listen] to him.”
9:36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen [cf. Matt. 17:9].
9:37 The next day [after the Transfiguration], when they [Jesus, Peter, James, John] came down from the mountain, a large crowd [included the rest of Jesus’ disciples] met him.
9:38 A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.
9:39 A spirit [demon; had “robbed him of speech” (Mk. 9:17); “deaf and mute spirit” (Mk. 9:25)] seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying [part of the Satanic agenda as per Jn. 10:10] him.
9:40 I begged your disciples [Jesus had given them power and authority to heal demon possession (Lk. 9:1)] to drive it out, but they could not [due to lack of faith (Matt. 17:19-20) and need for prayer (Mk. 9:28-29)].”
9:41 “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”
9:42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit [the evil spirit had to obey Jesus], healed the boy and gave him back to his father.
9:43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, [the recent exorcism] he said [for the second time (cf. Lk. 9:21-22)] to his disciples,
9:44 “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed [in Lk. 9:22 Jesus made reference to his death and now added the element of betrayal] into the hands of men.”
9:45 But they did not understand what this [the reference to His death] meant. It was hidden [cf. Lk. 24:16] from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
9:46 An argument [illustrates that they did not yet understand Jesus’ mission] started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest [the disciples were still thinking in terms of an earthly kingdom; they were concerned about personal glory, fame, and honor rather than service].
9:47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts [indicates the argument probably occurred away from Jesus’ presence], took a little child [helpless, vulnerable, dependent on others, without power; child became an object lesson/visual aid] and had him stand beside him.
9:48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest [Jesus taught that we are to descend into greatness].”
9:49 “Master,” said John [part of Jesus’ inner circle, along with James and John], “we saw a man driving out demons [apparently this man (unlike the disciples in Lk. 9:40) had some success in driving out demons] in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us [disciples mistakenly thought they had a monopoly on Jesus’ power].”
9:50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you [there is no middle ground; cf. Matt. 12:30].”
9:51 As the time approached [Jesus knew He only had months to live] for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out [from Galilee] for Jerusalem [persecution and death awaited Jesus in Jerusalem].
9:52 And he sent messengers [probably some of His own disciples] on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village [Samaria located between Galilee and Judea] to get things ready [perhaps lodging] for him;
9:53 but the people [Samaritans; half-breeds hated by the Jews] there did not welcome him [Jesus (and those traveling with Him)], because he was heading for Jerusalem.
9:54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven [Jesus had instructed them earlier to shake the dust off their feet when they were not welcomed into a village (Lk. 9:5) but James and John wanted to do more than that; cf. 2 Kings 1] to destroy them?”
9:55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them,
9:56 and they went to another village [the name and location of this village is not provided].
9:57 As they were walking along the road,  a man [“a teacher of the law” (Matt. 8:19); took the initiative to approach Jesus] said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
9:58 Jesus replied [note the cost of discipleship…], “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head [following Jesus (“wherever you go” as per Lk. 9:57) would mean putting aside worldly security and the comforts of home and being constantly on the move].”
9:59 He said [Jesus took the initiative to approach this man] to  another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first [cf. “first” in Lk. 9:61] let me go and bury my father [text does not indicate whether the father had already dies, was near death, or was merely elderly; the man may have meant that he would follow Jesus after his father died and he had fulfilled his sacred duty to properly bury him (an indefinite period of time)].”
9:60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead [or “the dying”] bury their own dead [yet another indication of the cost of following Jesus], but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
9:61  Still another [took the initiative to approach Jesus] said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first [cf. “first” in Lk. 9:59] let me go back and say good-by to my family.”
9:62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [looking back distracts us from what is ahead; cf. Phil. 3:13-14] is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”