Class Notes: 3/16/2014
Mark 9:27-37; God's power is availabe to those who submit themselves to His authority and orient to His Integrity through His Word
In our study of Mark we left off in Mark 9:27; where Jesus cast the demon from the boy who was thrown to the ground as though he was dead but Jesus took him by the hand and raised him up.
This is a perfect physical example of what happens spiritually when a person goes from the sphere of satan to the sphere of God. When a person believes in Jesus Christ they pass from spiritual death into spiritual life.
God stands the spiritually dead person up, raises and seats them in the heavenlies in union with Jesus Christ. Eph 2:4-6;
Mark 9:28-29; After the disciples went into the house alone with Jesus they asked Him why they were unable to cast out the demon. His answer was that it required prayer.
Many older translations say "prayer and fasting", but the word "fasting" is not in the best original texts so it is not in the newer translations.
The disciples failed because somehow they had not exclusively depended on God's power. Prayer would have enabled them focus their attention exclusively on God and His power.
Prayer is designed to express our helplessness, our humility, our total dependence on God, and our recognition of His grace and His mercy toward us.
Prayer is not what we want, but what God wants. Prayer is an expression and an extension of Bible doctrine resident in the soul. John 15:7;
We fail in prayer because we do not properly understand and exclusively use God's word. So the disciples' problem was lack of doctrine resident in their soul that resulted in lack of capacity for the faith-rest application necessary to cast out the demon.
Mark 9:30; This was Jesus final trip through Galilee on his way to Jerusalem. He wanted to stay unrecognized because His ministry to the Jews was over and he was now preparing His disciples for the events that were coming up shortly.
Mark 9:31; These events included his betrayal, the Greek word translated "delivered up" or "handed over" is "paradidomi" it is in the passive voice and means that some outside agent was handing Him over or delivering Him.
This refers to Judas who was the immediate agent who delivered Him to the Jews and God the Father who was the ultimate agent in delivering him to the entire process that resulted in His crucifixion.
Always remember the principle that what people mean for evil, God uses for good. Psa 76:10a; Gen 50:20; God works through negative volition to accomplish his purposes.
Jesus would be betrayed, delivered into the hands of men who would kill Him by crucifixion and after he was killed he would rise three days later all according to the will of God. Isa 53:6,12; Acts 2:23; Rom 8:32;
Mark 9:32; The disciples did not understand this but they did not ask Him to explain it probably because they didn't want to know since it contradicted their expectations of His reigning as Messiah in the immediate future.
It probably also seemed impossible to them because of all the miracles that He was doing. How could He be killed when He has all of this power?
Mark 9:33; This is most likely Peter's house that they had come back to after several months of traveling. He asked them what they had been arguing about as they walked along. The Greek word "hodos" translated "way" refers to the course of their journey.
Mark 9:34; They were embarrassed to tell him because they were arguing about which one of them would be the greatest in the kingdom so they were silent.
The word translated "discussed" in the NASB is the Greek word "dialegomai" that is transliterated "dialog" It is translated "argue" in the NET and the NIV and "dispute in the KJV and NKJV.
It is possible that the special privileges given to Peter, James and John were the basis for the argument.
Remember that three of the disciples have been given the privilege of seeing Jesus transfigured while the other nine were unable to cast out the demon even though they should have been able to. So three disciples are on a high and the other nine are probably somewhat depressed.
It also shows that they did not understand the actual mission of Jesus' first advent and verse 32 tells us they really don't want to hear about it either because that is not what they had been expecting.
Plan A of the Messiah, King and the Kingdom has been postponed and Plan B of the church age is now operational.
Mark 9:35; After he sat down, he called the twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."
When a Jewish rabbi had an important lesson to impart, he would sit down, a signal to his students to take their places, that he was about to teach. So the Lord sits down and calls the twelve to Himself.
He takes the word they are using, "great," (megas) and changes it to "first." (protos) He did that because He knew what they really wanted, just as He knows what we really want.
The disciples were not asking for greatness, they were asking for prominence. They were interested in recognition and attention. Jesus addresses their inordinate ambition and simultaneously explains to them the way to true greatness.
The Greek word translated "last" is "eschatos", that means "last in order, last in place." The Greek word translated "servant" is diakonos. It is the root word of the word translated "ministries" in 1Cor 12:5 ; where Paul explains the spiritual gifts.
In the ancient world the servant (diakonos) was a table waiter, a common servant, someone whose sole purpose in life was to serve someone else. The servant filled his time with serving; he made his living serving, and everyone saw him as a servant.
He explains to his disciples that God's system is the opposite of satan's system. In satan's system the first demand to be served. In God's system the first serves everyone.
The pattern for satan's system is arrogance. This is exhibited in satan's statement "I will" Isa 14:13-14;
The pattern for God's system is humility. This is exhibited in Jesus' statement "not my will but your will" Matt 26:39;
Arrogance and humility are antithetical thought patterns. A humble person is oriented to reality whereas an arrogant person is divorced from reality.
Humble people recognize their weaknesses and depend on strength that comes from respecting the authority of those who are over them who have greater power. John 19:11;
In the Church Age this is the power that comes from the Filling of the Holy Spirit and Bible doctrine controlling the soul. Believers who recognize and submit to legitimate authority and truth think and act from a position of strength.
Paradoxically, arrogant people overestimate their strength and that places them into a position of weakness because they are depending on themselves.
Arrogant people live in a house of cards built on illusions of self-importance. They can neither think rationally nor make wise decisions and they often succumb to flattery and self-pity. Their soul is controlled by their old sin nature so they are subject to it's trends and they don't even recognize it.
Mark 9:36; Then Jesus takes young child, sets him before them and takes him into his arms. The word translated "child" is the Greek word "piadon" that means young or little child or infant.
He is going to use the little child as an example, a training aid. Jesus is teaching a principle of doctrine and he uses a little child to illustrate the principle. The little child represents a believer, any believer.
Notice that Jesus does two things with the child. He reaches out and takes the child and sets him at His feet in the middle of the disciples. He lets the disciples look at the child and then He gathers him into His arms.
The word translated "taking up" the aorist middle participle of the Greek word "enagkalizomai" that means "to enfold or embrace." He wraps his arms around the child and then He begins to teach the lesson about being first.
Mark 9:37; "Whoever welcomes one of these little (or young) children in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."
Again the word translated "little child" is the Greek word "piadon that means young or little or infant.
The Greek word translated "welcome" in the NET and NIV or "receive" in the KJV and NASB is "dechomai" that means to accept, embrace or not refuse it never carries the connotation of toleration; it always has the idea of receiving with an embrace.
The Lord has just illustrated what He is now teaching with words. He is telling the disciples and by extension He is telling us not just to accept, but to also warmly welcome, the smallest and what appears to us to be the least important.
He says to not only receive the child, but to do it in "My name." The phrase "in my name" indicates the person is a believer in Jesus. This indicates that the person is a member of the Church, the Royal Family of God. Our motivation should be desire to serve the person of Jesus Christ.
This applies to everything we do no matter how insignificant. We do what we do for His sake, because of our love for Him and Jesus regards it as if we have actually done it for Him personally.
He uses a little child not a big child because little children can only learn by faith. They cannot learn by rationalism because they have no frame of reference for rationalism. Little children can only learn by believing what they are told.
It is the same for new believers. Jesus is presenting these concepts by using a little child as a teaching aid.
The concept of salvation by faith in Christ alone. Acts 16:31; The child has one perceptive system and that perceptive system is non-meritorious. This adds up to the fact in the analogy that anyone who is saved becomes like a little child. Every time you use faith you become like a little child.
The concept of birth; one thing about a little child is the fact of its recent birth. We enter the kingdom or family of God by birth; a new birth, a spiritual birth under the principle of "You must be born again." John 3:3;
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