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Future Expectations

Mark 9:9-13

Announcing the future can be dangerous.  At work, employees are often the last to know!  It is a way to control and protect change-processes, so that the corporate objectives are not sabotaged.  But it is also important to manage expectations lest the staff wrongly assume what may happen in the future.  After the transfiguration, the disciples' hopes about Jesus would have dramatically increased.  They had seen His power and glory (Mark 9:1).  Surely, this was the time for Him to reign as King; and them to reign with Him (Mark 10:35-37).

Failed Religion

Mark 9:14-18

Following His transfiguration, Jesus with Peter, James and John re-joined the rest of the disciples - where a crowd had gathered.  Seeing Him, the people spontaneously ran towards Him.  As always, Jesus knew what had been going on. There had been a heated discussion and the matter was not resolved: it looked like a dissatisfied customer who had been fobbed off by customer relations ... and now he wanted to speak to the boss.

The Key of Faith

Mark 9:19-24

Working with Jesus is good; working without Jesus is futile and stupid.  His impatience with the disciples was not because they had forgotten an 'exorcism formula', but because they had arrogantly trusted themselves instead of trusting and obeying Jesus.

Authorised for Action

Mark 9:25-29

Like the authority of flashing blue lights which attract crowds to an incident, the powerful presence of Jesus was always a magnet.  The scene started with nine disciples (Peter, James and John were up the mountain with Jesus to witness the transfiguration), a distressed father and his son who was being controlled by a demon (Mark 9:14).  A crowd gathered to see what the disciples would do; but they could not heal the boy.  Religious lawyers joined in, trying to prove that Jesus was a fake healer (Mark 9:17-18).  More people joined the crowd to see what would happen.

Alone with the Lord

Mark 9:30-32

Death is not a popular topic at the family meal table.  However unwell a friend may be, death is rarely mentioned.  It is probably the last taboo of the Western world.  But Jesus did not flinch from facing His own cruel future with the disciples; because it would be the basis for their, and our, eternal future.  Death as a substitutionary sacrifice, being punished for our sins, was the reason for His birth.  Jesus had recently defeated Satan's work in the convulsing boy (Mark 9:25-27) - He would defeat death too, and rise again.  The disciples needed to understand that His death would be no

Servant Leadership

Mark 9:33-37

After their private briefing with Jesus about the cross and resurrection to come (Mark 9:30-32) you might have expected the disciples to be a united team with their Master.  But having got back to the expectations of the crowds in Capernaum, they became highly competitive.  They assumed that Jesus would somehow release their country from the grip of Roman tyranny, and they would be part of His government.

The Motives for Ministry

Mark 9:38-41

Restrictive practices are part of the worldly infrastructure of business.  Although they claim to help to ensure 'quality', they may also carry a self-seeking motive - promoting the promoters (and those who play their professional game).  This may be a harsh caricature, but are all trade associations, professionals and educationalists totally devoid of self-interest?  Mixed motives are very hard to separate.  It was the disciples' problem too.

Don't Stop People Coming To Jesus

Mark 9:42-43

This is certainly a graphic description of the violence of judgement, and the need to take radical steps to avoid it!  The narrative assumes that the Lord Jesus still had the little child in His arms (Mark 9:36-37), even though this discussion was hardly a benign nursery rhyme (interestingly many traditional English rhymes were cautionary and violent tales - because children needed to know the dangers of life).  The disciples were still in their spiritual nursery and needed to learn that they had a responsibility for the spiritual welfare of others – particularly those who were spiritually

A Necessary Warning

Mark 9:45-48

These verses seem rather violent.  The previous passage (Mark 9:42) dramatically alerted the disciples to the eternal danger of preventing others from entering God's kingdom.  Then the finger is pointed at the self-destructive ability of human nature - to exclude its owner from the presence of God (Mark 9:43).  That theme is continued.  From a hand to a foot to an eye: all parts of the body which can do things, go places and see things that bring no glory to God and judgement on the offender.  Persistent and unrepented sin is such a serious problem because it leads to hell.  Hell is a massi

Preserving Truth

Mark 9:49-50

This is a unique saying in the Gospels, attracting various interpretations.  However, in the context of the whole passage, Jesus is talking about the need to be preserved eternally.  It is an application and summary of most of Mark 9:30-48.  Those who deflect seekers from the Kingdom, are as much at risk of eternal loss (Mark 9:42), as those who indulge the flesh in unrepentant sin (Mark 9:43-48).  Jesus speaks about the fire of judgement which never goes out (Mark 9:48) from Isaiah 66:24 where the prophet describes the doom of rebellious spirits.