<i>The Repeated Lesson of the Suffering Messiah </i> - Mark 9:30–10:31

Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Mark 9:30-10:31

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The Repeated Lesson of the Suffering Messiah - Mark 9:30–10:31

Again Mark reported the sequence of Jesus' prediction of his death, a description of the true nature of discipleship, and the struggles and blessings of kingdom life in this age.

Predicts his death - Mark 9:30-32

Jesus Predicts his Death a Second Time.

Time teaching his disciples - Mark 9:31

Jesus wanted to spend time teaching his disciples. He took them away from the crowds so he could spend more time preparing them for the challenges that were coming. He told them that he would be put to death. This time he used words that were slightly different from 8:31-33, but the meaning was the same. Jesus was the Messiah, but not the kind of Messiah that they had expected. One notable addition is that this time Jesus referred to his betrayal by Judas with the words, will be delivered.

Disciples did not understand - Mark 9:32

Just like the first time, the disciples did not understand and they were afraid to ask Jesus anything more about it. The lack of understanding and fear were an ongoing condition.

The True Nature of Discipleship - Mark 9:33-50

Just as in 8:34-9:1 Jesus followed his prediction of his own death with a description of what it means to be a follower of the suffering Messiah.

The greatest - Mark 9:34

While Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to suffer and die, the disciples argued about who was the greatest. The dramatic contrast must have troubled Jesus deeply. Just as the disciples misunderstood what kind of a messiah Jesus was, they misunderstood what a follower of Jesus was to be. They imagined a powerful messiah with powerful followers. They still had to learn the lessons of a suffering messiah with suffering followers. The disciples' silence shows that even they understood how wrong they were.

God judges greatness differently - Mark 9:35

The path to greatness is the life of a servant, not a ruler. God judges greatness differently than human beings do. Jesus walked the path of a servant (10:45) and if his disciples wanted to follow him, they had to learn to walk that path too.

A little child - Mark 9:36

The path to greatness is the life of a servant, not a ruler. God judges greatness differently than human beings do. Jesus walked the path of a servant (10:45) and if his disciples wanted to follow him, they had to learn to walk that path too.

A threat to the egos of the disciples - Mark 9:38

The disciples had stopped an unnamed exorcist from casting out demons because he was not one of their small group following Jesus. Probably this man's success in conquering evil spirits in Jesus' name was a threat to the egos of the disciples who had recently failed in their efforts to do the same (9:17, 18).

Proud sense of importance - Mark 9:39-40

Jesus condemned them for denying that God could work through others. The disciples' narrowness and proud sense of importance were the opposite of the humility that is a part of true greatness.

Humility and godly intentions - Mark 9:41

Jesus added that his true followers were not measured by how amazing their works were. Even the giving of a cup of water contributed to the work of the kingdom. Again, humility and godly intentions were the measure of greatness.

Millstone - Mark 9:42

When Jesus spoke of these little ones he was referring to both the little child of verse 36 and the unnamed exorcist of verse 38. The disciples must not cause either one of them to stumble. To cause someone to stumble is to cause them spiritual harm. The phrase translated millstone could also be literally translated millstone of an ass, since it was typically worked by donkey-power. This was a large millstone (maybe as large as 4-5 feet in diameter) rather than a smaller (12-15 inch) hand-held stone.

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