God’s Guiding Word: Discipleship
Mark 9:2–29: Jesus takes three disciples with him up to a high mountain where he is briefly changed and revealed as a divine figure, an event called the transfiguration. The disciples see him talking with Moses the lawgiver and Elijah the prophet. When they descend from the mountain and rejoin the other disciples, they are met by a crowd and a man whose son is possessed by an evil spirit.
2 Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain, where they were alone. As they looked on, a change came over Jesus, 3 and his clothes became shining white—whiter than anyone in the world could wash them. 4 Then the three disciples saw Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus. 5 Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, “Teacher, how good it is that we are here! We will make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He and the others were so frightened that he did not know what to say.
7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them with its shadow, and a voice came from the cloud, “This is my own dear Son—listen to him!” 8 They took a quick look around but did not see anyone else; only Jesus was with them.
9 As they came down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has risen from death.”
10 They obeyed his order, but among themselves they started discussing the matter, “What does this ‘rising from death’ mean?” 11 And they asked Jesus, “Why do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah has to come first?”
12 His answer was, “Elijah is indeed coming first in order to get everything ready. Yet why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man will suffer much and be rejected? 13 I tell you, however, that Elijah has already come and that people treated him just as they pleased, as the Scriptures say about him.”
14 When they joined the rest of the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and some teachers of the Law arguing with them. 15 When the people saw Jesus, they were greatly surprised, and ran to him and greeted him. 16 Jesus asked his disciples, “What are you arguing with them about?”
17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, because he has an evil spirit in him and cannot talk. 18 Whenever the spirit attacks him, it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth, grits his teeth, and becomes stiff all over. I asked your disciples to drive the spirit out, but they could not.”
19 Jesus said to them, “How unbelieving you people are! How long must I stay with you? How long do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy to me!” 20 They brought him to Jesus.
As soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a fit, so that he fell on the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 “How long has he been like this?” Jesus asked the father.
“Ever since he was a child,” he replied. 22 “Many times the evil spirit has tried to kill him by throwing him in the fire and into water. Have pity on us and help us, if you possibly can!”
23 “Yes,” said Jesus, “if you yourself can! Everything is possible for the person who has faith.”
24 The father at once cried out, “I do have faith, but not enough. Help me have more!”
25 Jesus noticed that the crowd was closing in on them, so he gave a command to the evil spirit. “Deaf and dumb spirit,” he said, “I order you to come out of the boy and never go into him again!”
26 The spirit screamed, threw the boy into a bad fit, and came out. The boy looked like a corpse, and everyone said, “He is dead!” 27 But Jesus took the boy by the hand and helped him rise, and he stood up.
28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive the spirit out?”
29 “Only prayer can drive this kind out,” answered Jesus; “nothing else can.”
Today’s Key Verse: Mark 9:23b
[Jesus said]: “Everything is possible for the person who has faith.”
After Peter, James, and John witness Jesus’s transfiguration, why does Jesus instruct them not to tell anyone what they saw? What don’t the disciples understand? After healing the boy with an evil spirit, what teaching does Jesus give about faith? With regard to healing, what are your thoughts about the role of faith?
Lord Jesus, in faith I trust in you. Teach me to listen for your voice and increase my faith day by day as I grow in knowledge of you. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Mark 9:30–50: Jesus speaks again about his death, and the disciples argue as to who among them is the greatest.