Jesus is transfigured. He says who is the greatest in the kingdom, what to do about other exorcists, and how to overcome temptation.
VERSE 1. He said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste death until they see God’s Kingdom come with power.”
VERSE 2. After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and brought them up onto a high mountain privately by themselves, and he was changed into another form in front of them.
VERSE 3. His clothing became glistening, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
VERSE 4. Elijah and Moses appeared to them, and they were talking with Jesus.
VERSE 5. Peter answered Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let’s make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
he didn’t know what to say. When they don’t know what to say, most people don’t say anything. But Peter is the kind of person that seems compelled to say something. He blurts out anything. He speaks before he thinks.
very afraid. Perhaps Peter deals with fear by blurting out words.
VERSE 7. A cloud came, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
VERSE 8. Suddenly looking around, they saw no one with them any more, except Jesus only.
VERSE 9. As they were coming down from the mountain, he commanded them that they should tell no one what things they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
questioning what the “rising from the dead” meant. The closest disciples of Jesus Christ did not understand what his mission was about. He tells his them point-blank that he will rise from the dead. But this does not fit neatly within their own limited worldview of what is possible. So they invent a convoluted interpretation.
In our day, many Christian believers do that as well. They encounter some biblical statement that does not fit neatly into their own personal worldview.
The simplest thing would be to accept the biblical statement at face value. But this would require them to change their worldview. Instead, they contrive an alternate interpretation, one that hardly fits, and in the light of Christian history, is preposterous.
VERSE 11. They asked him, saying, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
VERSE 12. He said to them, “Elijah indeed comes first, and restores all things. How is it written about the Son of Man, that he should suffer many things and be despised?
VERSE 13. But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they have also done to him whatever they wanted to, even as it is written about him.”
Elijah has come. That happened metaphorically, in the person of John the Baptist.
VERSE 14. Coming to the disciples, he saw a great multitude around them, and scribes questioning them.
VERSE 15. Immediately all the multitude, when they saw him, were greatly amazed, and running to him, greeted him.
VERSE 16. He asked the scribes, “What are you asking them?”
VERSE 17. One of the multitude answered, “Teacher, I brought to you my son, who has a mute spirit;
VERSE 18. and wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and wastes away. I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they weren’t able.”
VERSE 19. He answered him, “Unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me.”
how long shall I be with you? The Lord Jesus is annoyed by the lack of faith among his disciples.
VERSE 20. They brought him to him, and when he saw him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground, wallowing and foaming at the mouth.
VERSE 21. He asked his father, “How long has it been since this has come to him?” He said, “From childhood.
VERSE 22. Often it has cast him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.”
all things are possible to him who believes. We are able to be miracle-workers. This statement of Jesus echoes similar passages across the four gospels. We are limited only by our own unbelief.
Help my unbelief! That is a great thing to ask of God.
VERSE 25. When Jesus saw that a multitude came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!”
VERSE 26. After crying out and convulsing him greatly, it came out of him. The boy became like one dead, so much that most of them said, “He is dead.”
VERSE 27. But Jesus took him by the hand, and raised him up; and he arose.
VERSE 28. When he had come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we cast it out?”
This kind. When somebody is infested by a demon, we need to ascertain which kind of demon it is.
by prayer and fasting. The way to overcome this particular demon was prayer and fasting.
VERSE 30. They went out from there, and passed through Galilee. He didn’t want anyone to know it.
VERSE 31. For he was teaching his disciples, and said to them, “The Son of Man is being handed over to the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, on the third day he will rise again.”
they didn’t understand. The words Jesus Christ said were pretty simple. But once again, his closest disciples do not understand what he was doing.
were afraid to ask. The Bible commands to ask things of God:
Proverbs 1:28. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer. They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me;
Proverbs 8:17. I love those who love me. Those who seek me diligently will find me.
Wisdom 7:7. For this cause I prayed, and understanding was given to me. I asked a spirit of wisdom came to me.
Mark 9:32. But they didn’t understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Luke 18:41. “What do you want me to do?” He said, “Lord, that I may see again.”
James 4:2-3. You lust, and don’t have. You murder and covet, and can’t obtain. You fight and make war. You don’t have, because you don’t ask. 3 You ask, and don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
All they needed to do was to ask. But their fears prevented them from asking.
People have a natural disinclination to ask. It makes them appear to not know things. That is a real limitation, and it must be overcome.
In Small Group Ministry, the leader needs to create a climate of safety. That way, people can overcome their inhibitions about asking questions.
VERSE 33. He came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing among yourselves on the way?”
VERSE 34. But they were silent, for they had disputed with one another on the way about who was the greatest.
they were silent. They knew that what they were doing was not consonant with Jesus Christ. So rather than incriminate themselves, they kept silent.
who was the greatest. This is preposterous. Yet this happens all the time. Political debates are an example of it. Each candidate gets in front of the camera and shouts about why he or she is the greatest.
VERSE 35. He sat down, and called the twelve; and he said to them, “If any man wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all.”
If any man wants to be first, he shall be last. Authentic Christian leadership takes the role of a servant. In the world of Jesus Christ, the one who serves the needs of others is the real leader.
However, many Christians want to be FIRST, not last. They do not overcome their ego. They wound the Christian community and forfeit blessings from God.
Matthew 20:27. Whoever desires to be first among you shall be your bondservant,
VERSE 36. He took a little child, and set him in the middle of them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them,
VERSE 37. “Whoever receives one such little child in my name, receives me, and whoever receives me, doesn’t receive me, but him who sent me.”
VERSE 38. John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone who doesn’t follow us casting out demons in your name; and we forbade him, because he doesn’t follow us.”
VERSE 39. But Jesus said, “Don’t forbid him, for there is no one who will do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me.
on our side. Unlike his disciples, Jesus Christ does not see the world as us-versus-them. He is a grand unifier.
In our day, Christians are very divided. There is a long way to go before we will be able to stand together in unity. The Ministry of Ecumenism is vital to building unity between different Christian groups.
VERSE 41. For whoever will give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ’s, most certainly I tell you, he will in no way lose his reward.
VERSE 42. Whoever will cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if he were thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around his neck.
one of these little ones. This verse brings to mind the many Catholic priests who have sexually abused children, as well as the many Catholic bishops who concealed the sexual crimes of their priests.
VERSE 43. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having your two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire,
VERSE 44. ‘where their worm doesn’t die, and the fire is not quenched.’
VERSE 45. If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life lame, rather than having your two feet to be cast into Gehenna, into the fire that will never be quenched—
VERSE 46. ‘where their worm doesn’t die, and the fire is not quenched.’
VERSE 47. If your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out. It is better for you to enter into God’s Kingdom with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna of fire,
VERSE 48. ‘where their worm doesn’t die, and the fire is not quenched.’
When the Holy Spirit is in your life, you will have FIRE. Are you on fire for the LORD God? If not, how can you get on fire? Read more »
VERSE 50. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, with what will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
be at peace with one another. Throughout Christian history, we Christians have often been at each other’s throats. We have done a terrible job of obeying this command of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.