Meeting Jesus

Meeting Jesus: Source of Power

This is written by John Peters. John is the leader of St Mary's.

Mark 9:1-32

9 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."

Jesus Heals a Boy Possessed by an Impure 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 impure 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."

Jesus Predicts His Death a Second Time

30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise." 32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.

Reflection

The transfiguration is mind-blowing (2-12); the super-bright clothing, the sudden gathering of spiritual heroes from the OT, the God cloud and his audible voice. This is a high-point, an extraordinary respite, to strengthen Jesus for all that is to come. But, in a painfully short time he has to come down to face again all the familiar obstacles to the fulfilment of his mission. A time of God's blessing is often followed by one of challenge.

The first recurring obstacle is the brute stupidity of the people. Here we are again with a crowd and an argument (14).

The second is the opposition of their leaders. The self-righteous, self-serving religious people, always ready to confront an act of astonishing mercy with a quibble about the rules. Jesus effectively dismisses the lot of them, the crowd and its leaders as, "an unbelieving generation" (9:19)

The third is the lack of spiritual perception of his own disciples. They can't do what they've been doing successfully up until now; cast out a demon (17). They throw away their spiritual confidence. Jesus says, "everything is possible for him who believes" (23) - but not for those whose heads are turned by the crowd and the disapproval of the religious law enforcers. The boy's father speaks for himself and for the disciples when he protests, "I do believe - help me overcome my unbelief" (9:24).

Satan tempts Jesus: "the crowd have no idea what's going on, the leaders are becoming more antagonistic and even your own people don't get it. It's not working, is it?" He reveals his destructive nature in the victimisation of this boy (20-22).

Ever found yourself thinking, "what I thought God wanted me to do isn't working; why not just give up?" Who is behind that?

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