with Alan Bailey
Welcome to this Bible Study. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.
So far in the book of Mark we have seen a record and highlights of a most amazing life. All who saw the miracles and wonders Jesus performed agreed that they were exceptional and unique. Any idea that people back then were naïve and willing to believe anything is obviously wrong. Although they had facts in front of them, some still chose to reject and deny Christ and His claims. We are privileged to have eye-witness reports and so we also must make our choice—to acknowledge Jesus as Lord or to deny Him. Let us take a look at Chapter Nine.
Verse 1 And He said to them “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste of death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”
Jesus stood with His disciples when He said this. They were constantly being taught by the Lord and now He says that some, not all, would see something of the power and glory of the coming kingdom. It happened like this.
Verses 2-4 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There He was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses who were talking with Jesus.
The sight was unearthly. Jesus was giving the three men a taste of things beyond their normal experience. It was like drawing back a curtain to reveal realities not seen by men. Making the scene even more unearthly was the appearance of two major Old Testament figures. We can only try to imagine the effect this had on those standing by.
Verses 5 & 6 Peter said to Jesus “”Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
Peter was the first to speak but did not really know what to say. The word “Rabbi” means teacher. Just how he knew the two appearing with Jesus were Moses and Elijah we do not know.
Verses 7 & 8 Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son whom I love. Listen to Him.” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
If they were frightened by the sight, no doubt they were frightened by the voice. The whole event is capped off by the Father’s endorsement of the Son. This is highly important for those who want to know the truth about Christ. A voice from heaven should convince anyone. But only a few ever heard it. Surely this should have been an unforgettable event for Peter, James and John.
Verses 11-13 And they asked Him, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.”
The disciples must have been reminded that Malachi (Old Testament) had said that Elijah would come before the Messiah (See Malachi 4:4, 5). From Matthew 17 we can see how Jesus went on to show them that John the Baptist came as another Elijah. He was fearless and lived an austere lifestyle as that old prophet did. He preached repentance and called people back to faith in God. But he was beheaded by Herod. Jesus’ ministry was different. He was here to be rejected and to die in our place.
Verses 14 & 15 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet Him.
The other disciples found themselves with a large crowd, some being unfriendly. When Jesus appeared, He must have still looked somewhat impressive as the people were “overwhelmed with wonder.”
Verses 16-18 “What are you arguing with them about?” He asked. A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
At the centre of the crowd was an unfortunate boy with his concerned father. In Christ’s day, the activity of demons was obvious, perhaps coming about because of Christ’s presence. Demon possession is still observed in certain places today, with similar symptoms.
The spirit was not responding to the word of the disciples.
Verses 19 & 20, 25-27 “O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and dumb spirit,” He said, “I command you to come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
Mark’s Gospel shows clearly that Jesus had power over the world of evil. His word was a word of authority. Already we have seen His power over nature, even storms on the water. We will go on to see His power over the world and all its forces.
The four Gospel books (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) show us someone who is more than a man. The writers are not finding convincing words to sway what we think. They are simply relating what happened and what was said. They do not make Jesus great; His greatness shines through. Even though Jesus teaches them the truth about Himself, they are slow to learn and believe.
Are we also slow to learn and believe?
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