Mark 8:31 — 9:50 | Transfiguration and Lessons on Greatness

  • 8:31-38 — Jesus predicts his own death and resurrection, referring to His Self as the Son of Man (8:31&38; 9:9 a title of a Prophet and of the Messiah). This is confusing to the disciples, since (in their minds) the Messiah will bring in the Kingdom of God (physically, 9:1). 
  • 9:2-13 — Jesus transfigures himself, proving he is greater than Moses and Elijah. Peter (not knowing what to say out of terror), suggests they celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles: the celebration of God’s coming to dwell with mankind (a.k.a. the Kingdom Come). God, the Father commands that they listen to Jesus, who restates that He must die an rise again. Jesus reminds them that prophecy states Messiah must suffer (9:12). The transfiguration was all about proving the death and resurrection of Jesus (and not the immediate physical Kingdom Come) was entirely in God’s plan.
  • 9:14-29 — Jesus rebukes the faithless crowd [When the disciples of Jesus are powerless due to not understanding spiritual warfare, it gives occasion for the false teachers to argue with (try to deceive) the faithless]. Jesus does not rebuke the disciples. He rebukes the faithless (9:16-20). Then, he teaches the disciples about spiritual warfare.
  • 9:30-32 — Jesus reminds the disciples of his death and resurrection (9:30-32), which they still do not understand. They are thinking in terms of an immediate, physical kingdom. So…
    • 9:33-37 — The Disciples argue who is the greatest. “If anyone would be first, he must be servant of all.”… All are equal, all are to be seen as Jesus, even the seemingly insignificant (ex. child).
    • 9:38-41 — The Disciples ask about those “not following us” (in ‘our group’) but doing mighty works in Jesus’ name. Jesus says not to stop them. Those not against us are for us, and the littlest deed done because we belong to Christ shall be rewarded.
    • 9:42-50 — The Disciples are charged not to lead children who believe in Jesus to stumble (i.e. sin, become disillusioned to disbelief). In context, this refers back to the child Jesus held (9:33-37). Therefore, it also alludes to their arguments about who is greatest. Rather than focusing on greatness, disciples of Jesus should focus on dealing seriously with sin that causes people to disbelieve Jesus, particularly arguments between Disciples about greatness. When that sort of thing happens, disciples lose their precious worth (i.e. ‘salt’). Therefore, Jesus commands “have salt [worth] in yourselves by being at peace with one another.”

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