Reading For Thursday Mark 9:2-37

Jesus takes his inner three (Peter, James and John) up a mountain and they get a glimpse of his glory as he is transfigured right before their very eyes. The radiance and the brilliance they observe are accompanied by the appearance of Elijah and Moses. This was an awesome sight and Peter began to speak without knowing what to say due to his terror suggested that they make three tents and stay. Suddenly, the glory cloud that had led Moses and received Elijah descended while the voice of the Father declared his love for his Son. The Father admonished these disciples to listen to Jesus and when they looked around, they only saw Jesus as the others had departed. As they came down the mountain, Jesus instructed them not to tell anyone until after he had risen from the dead. The bewildered disciples wondered to themselves about what this might mean. They ask Jesus about Elijah and Jesus explains that Elijah had come. He was speaking of course of John the Baptist. 

The scene shifts as Jesus returns to the disciples, finding a crowd and a massive argument. When they saw Jesus, they ran to him and he asked them about the commotion. A father speaks up quickly explaining that he had brought his son because he suffered from a spirit that tortured him, often trying to kill him. This father explains that the disciples had been impotent in their attempts to cast the demon out. The disciples had dealt with this before and they had cast out unclean spirits in the past so it was not as if this were something that they had never done before. Jesus asks about the duration of the suffering and the father explained that it had happened since childhood. He pleads with Jesus saying, "If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." One might expect Jesus to console this distraught father. However, Jesus rebukes him for his lack of faith. At this point, the father responds in desperation with a visceral plea for help asking Jesus to help his unbelief and as the crowd approaches, Jesus commands the spirit to leave forever. The boy convulses and the boy was suddenly still, like a corpse. The stunned crowd thinks that the child has died, but Jesus takes him by the hand and lifts him up. Later, in the house, the disciples learn that this particular spirit could not be driven out by anything other than prayer. 

Jesus is regularly reminding his disciples about the fact that he would be killed and raised after three days. The disciples could not wrap their minds around this concept but were afraid to ask so they remained silent. As they arrive at home, Jesus asked them about their discussion on the way back. Everyone went silent because they had been arguing about who was the greatest. It would not be difficult to imagine their conversations moving in this direction since the three were given a moratorium concerning the transfiguration. This must have irritated the disciples, not in attendance. Jesus gives the disciples an object lesson. He explains that the higher value in his kingdom is to be a servant and he brought a child into their midst to teach them that gentleness and humility should be the way we receive one another.  

Things To Consider:  

  • Why is it significant that Jesus was with Moses and Elijah?  
  • How does the father affirm us as his children?  
  • How does Jesus answer our questions today?  
  • What do you think was the emotional state of the father of the boy with unclean spirit after Jesus' disciples had failed to free him from his suffering?  
  • Why do you think Jesus rebuked the lack of faith?  
  • Have you ever asked God to help your unbelief?  
  • Do we overlook prayer as we seek to minister?  
  • Why are kingdom values so difficult for us?  
  • How are you pursuing greatness in the kingdom of God?