For an introduction to this series, click here.
Jan. 25, 2007
This chapter opens up with the Transfiguration. Jesus revealed His true self to three of His disciples: Peter, James and John. Perhaps Moses and Elijah were there just to further prove Christ's deity, we'll never know. We do know that the disciples clearly got the message that Jesus was superior to Moses and Elijah when Peter equated the three and Moses and Elijah were taken away in the cloud and God said, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him." (9:7)
When they came down the mountain, they met a father and son in distress. The father had come to Jesus for help. When he couldn't Him he asked the disciples, but they were of no help at all. Remember that earlier in the book of Mark, Jesus sent the disciples out to teach, and they performed numerous miracles. So the father's request was not all that unreasonable. Jesus tested the father if he really believed. The father's response is classic: "I believe; help my unbelief!" (9:24) That has to be the most honest response to a question from Jesus in the Bible. We all doubt from time to time. It is at this point that we need to run back to the Lord and say "help my unbelief" just like this man did.
Next Jesus is giving an important lesson on humility when John interrupts Him with an urgent question: "John said to him, 'Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.' But Jesus said, 'Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.'" (9:38-41, ESV)
Jesus is not interested in sectarian squabbles. It is ultimately not for us to judge other people's standing before God or the legitimacy of someone's ministry. Now there are some things that would disqualify, and we are not to be blind to these things, but too often we separate or criticize people over things that do not ultimately matter.