Book of Mark

Mark 9: 14-29 (Jesus Heals a Boy Possessed by an Evil Spirit)

Jesus Heals a Boy Possessed by an Evil Spirit
14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

20 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.

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil[a] spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.[b]”

I find v24 interesting – Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

It seems like a paradox! At first the boy’s father said he do believe. Then he continued by asking Jesus to help him to overcome his unbelief.


a. the teachers of the law arguing with them: From the context, it is reasonable to assume that scribes criticized the disciples for their inability to help the demon-possessed boy. “One wonders why these same scribes, instead of further embarrassing the crestfallen disciples before the crowd, did not set about exorcising the demon themselves, as a proof of orthodoxy.” (Cole)

i. This kind of conflict was exactly what Peter wanted to avoid by staying up on the mountain of transfiguration (Mark 9:5). But it couldn’t be that way. They simply had to come down off the mountain and deal with what they found.

ii. “He found disputing scribes, a distracted father, a demon-possessed boy, and defeated disciples . . . He silenced the scribes, He comforted the father, He healed the boy, He instructed the disciples.” (Morgan)

d. That they should cast it out, but they could not: This particular case of demon possession was too much for the disciples, though Jesus had given them authority over unclean spirits (Mark 6:7).

e. Apparently some demons are stronger – that is, more stubborn or intimidating than others. Ephesians 6:12 seems to describe different ranks of demonic beings, and it isn’t a stretch to think that some ranks might be more power than others are.

b. A mute spirit: In the eyes of contemporary Jewish exorcists, this was a particularly difficult – if not impossible – demon to cast out. This was because they believed that you had to learn a demon’s name before you could cast it out, and if a demon made someone mute, you could never learn his name.

a. O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? Who does Jesus call the faithless generation? He might refer to the contentious scribes, to the desperate father, or to the unsuccessful disciples.

b. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground: When Jesus comes near, the demon inside the boy knows that his time is short. He wants to do as much damage as he can before he leaves.

v24 “help me overcome my unbelief!” is something a man can only say by faith. “While men have no faith, they are unconscious of their unbelief; but, as soon as they get a little faith, then they begin to be conscious of the greatness of their unbelief.” (Spurgeon)

e. Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him: Jesus had no difficulty whatsoever in dealing the demon, even though the demon made a final display of his terrible strength. Knowing he must leave, the demon did the most damage he could before he left. But it was not lasting damage.

v28-29 – Why were the disciples unsuccessful?

i. Jesus had already given them the authority to cast out demons (Mark 3:14-15), but “The authority that Jesus had given them was effective only if exercised by faith, but faith must be cultivated through spiritual discipline and devotion.” (Wiersbe)

Some challenges in life can be extra challenging than the normal challenge. There are many ways to solve challenges. We can get help from one another. We can use our own knowledge and experience. But when all fails, this show that this challenge is not a normal challenge. When we face extra ordinary challenges, we need to depend on God through prayer and to get strength from God through prayer.

Book of Mark

Mark 9: 1-13 (The Transfiguration)

1 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

The Transfiguration
2 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. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

5 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 one for Elijah.” 6 (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

8 Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant.

11 And they asked him, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”

12 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? 13 But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.”

v1 – Jesus was referring to the Apostle John. Since he is the last apostle who will get to live to see the vision of the New Jerusalem at Patmos. The rest of the apostles will face death by being martyrs for Christ. Another possibility is Jesus could be referring to the transfiguration which happened immediately after that. Peter, James and John are the ‘some’ who were able to see the kingdom of God comes with power (the transfiguration, Jesus’ glory, identity and power as the Son of God – 2 Peter 1: 16).

v2 – Jesus took the disciples to either Mount Hermon or Mount Tabor. A mountain was often associated with closeness to God and readiness to receive his words. God has appeared to both Moses (Exodus 24: 12-48) and Elijah (1 Kings 19: 8-18) on mountains.

These few days, church has been focusing about this 40 days significance. After reading the two reference verse, they both has one in common besides what mentioned above. The common thing is both got mention 40 days.

Book of Mark

Mark 8: 34-38 (The Way of the Cross)

The Way of the Cross
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[b] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for you to gain the whole world, yet forfeit your soul? 37 Or what can you give in exchange for your soul? 38 If any of you are ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

v34 – There are 3 conditions to be Jesus’ disciples:
1. Deny yourself – is different from self-denial.
2. Take up your cross.
3. Follow Jesus.

v35 – You can’t gain resurrection life without dying first.

Book of Mark

Mark 8: 31-33 (Jesus Predicts His Death)

31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

v31 – this was predicted in Isaiah 53:3-12.

v32 He spoke plainly about this – This was an unbelievable shock to anyone expecting or hoping that Jesus was the national and political messiah. It is as if a presidential candidate announced toward the end of his campaign that he will go to Washington to be rejected and executed.

v32 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. – Peter’s intent was love for Jesus, but he was unwittingly used of Satan. Peter is a perfect example of how a sincere heart coupled with man’s thinking can often lead to disaster.

Book of Mark

Mark 8: 27-30 (Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah)

Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah
27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Why Jesus asked them this question? It is not because he wants approval or compliment from men. Not that Jesus doesn’t know. Maybe because he just wants to find out. Or another reason could be he wants to use this way to let all the disciples know who he really is. Maybe some disciples do not have in mind yet that Jesus is the Messiah.

How I can apply this is I can also ask question periodically to get feedback.

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