Read thru the New Testament-March 2

Mark 9:1-29

Mk. 9:1-Jesus says that there are some that are standing there with Him who will be present at the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit comes.

Mk.9:2-8-This is referred to as the Transfiguration (cf. January 24, Matthew 17).  Peter is awestruck by the presence of Elijah and Moses and suggests that they build three tabernacles (tents)…one for each of them and one for Jesus. Suddenly a cloud formed and God spoke…”This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!”…identifying the word of Jesus as superior to the other two. They looked around and Elijah and Moses were gone…leaving Jesus as the final and ultimate voice of God.

Mk. 9:9-13-As they were returning down the mountain, Jesus told them not to tell anyone about what had just happened until He was raised from the dead.  They began to discuss what this meant.  Then, the disciples questioned Jesus about Elijah.  He said that it is true that Elijah must come first and has already come.  He is making reference to the fact that John the Baptist has come in the spirit of Elijah and fulfilled that prophetic role.  Then He brought their discussion back around to Himself and the suffering He would go through.

Mk. 9:14-29-When they arrive back where the disciples are gathered, they find a man who had brought his son (a mute possessed by a demon) to the disciples and they had been unable to heal him.  Jesus’ response again reminds us that we should always remember what He has done before and that our faith in Him in those instances should be applicable to what is happening in new instances.  He says, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you?”  In other words, He is telling them that He should not have to perform miracle after miracle for them to have faith. They should recall what He has already done and that should be enough.  They had better learn the lesson, now.  He’s not going to be with them forever, to keep on performing miracles.  The father asks Jesus to heal his son, “…if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”  Jesus’ response suggests that He can, but that the father could, as well…if he just believed.  The father tells Jesus…”I do believe; help my unbelief.”  The word “help” is simple enough, but its implications are profound. This man is asking Jesus to complete in his faith what is lacking.  This has been happening to his son since he was a child.  Surely this father had tried everything to help his son.  And now, he has brought him to the disciples and Jesus.  He was desperate.  It is as if he is saying, “I want to believe…but I’ve almost given up hope. Please, I want to believe, but I need Your help to do so.  Help me to do what I cannot do on my own.”  Hebrews 13:6 uses the same word for “help” and says, “The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid…” (a reference to Psalm 118:5-7).  Jesus became the man’s Helper…and healed his son.  What is there in your life that you just haven’t been able to overcome?  Jesus will be your Helper…He will come to your rescue…if you just call on Him. Later, the disciples asked Jesus why they had not been able to cast out the demon. Jesus tells them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”  It is only through the consistent life of prayer that we develop our uninterrupted relationship with God and learn to trust Him in every incident of life. Commenting on this incident, one Bible commentator writes, “The highest function of humanity is belief, that activity of spirit that proceeds upon the pathway of reason, until it comes to some great promontory, and then spreads its wings, and upon the basis of its earlier journeying, takes eternity into its grasp” (Studies in the Four Gospels, The Gospel According to Mark, G. Campbell Morgan, p. 201).

Prayer: Lord, I know that there are things that can only be done through much prayer.  Please, hear my prayers…they seem to be so inadequate in the face of the needs that are present.  Holy Spirit, please make my prayers acceptable and pleasing to the Father…and let me know how You would have me to respond and what You would have me to do.  Don’t let my prayers just end with my voicing them.  Teach me to pray, Lord.

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