Mark Chapter 9

The Transfiguration of Jesus:
(Read: Mark 9:1-29)
The transfiguration of Jesus gives a glimpse of his divine nature. Jesus took Peter, James and John with him to the top of a mountain by themselves. Jesus was transfigured before them.  He revealed himself as a glorious and matchless Savior. His transfiguration signifies an outward manifestation of his inward glory. Unlike any other religious leader, Jesus Christ is actually God himself. The glorious appearance of Moses and Elijah shows that Jesus Christ is the focal point of the Old Testament.  Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the prophets. This was a climactic moment in the eternal plan of salvation.  The disciples did not yet know that Jesus must suffer first to enter into his glory.  To know more, read Matthew 17:1-8. The disciples asked Jesus ``Why do the teachers of the law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes?”  Jesus said, “Elijah has already come”.  Jesus interpreted Elijah’s coming spiritually and connected it with John the Baptist (Matthew 17:13).  Jesus was told that his disciples could not heal the boy possessed by an evil spirit. Jesus answered them, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? Jesus said to the father of the boy “All things are possible for one who believes”. Immediately the father said, “I believe, help my unbelief”.  Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy. His disciples asked Jesus privately “Why they could not cast out the evil spirit?”  Jesus replied, “This kind can't be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting".  Prayer gives intimacy with God. Fasting is a picture of self-discipline to focus on Christ. Prayer and faith always go together. The sickness and death reveal that we are living in a broken world of sin. 
The greatest in the Kingdom:
(Read: Mark 9:30-50)
Jesus tried to avoid publicity. He spoke to disciples about his death and resurrection.  But they did not understand what he was saying. They were arguing among themselves who would be the greatest.  Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be a servant of all”.  A leader in Christ’s kingdom is a person who is willing to serve others with humility. They should not boast about their accomplishments or rely on their own strength. Humility is the path Jesus took (Philippians 2:6-8).  Jesus said “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf, welcomes me. Anyone who welcomes me welcomes my Father who sent me".  Anyone who welcomes a little child on Christ’s behalf welcomes him. Who is not against Jesus is for Jesus. Jesus said “If anyone causes a weak brother to lose faith, it would be better for him to throw himself into a sea with a millstone tied around his neck.  If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better to enter into heaven with one foot than to be thrown into hell with two feet”.  Jesus uses a hyperbole to show the gravity of this sin. Afflictions purify and cause people to turn toward God.  Salt is good for seasoning, but if it loses its flavor, how will you make it salty again?  Christians must have the qualities of salt in the world.  Salt gives flavor and preserves things.  The Christian life is based on our personal relationship with Christ and his faithfulness to us. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ. Grace does not give us license to sin.  Pray that God would strengthen us to live in obedience to Christ.