Mark 9

* The transfiguration. (1-13) An evil spirit cast out. (14-29)

The apostles reproved. (30-40) Pain to be preferred to sin.


1-13 Here is a prediction of the near approach Christ's

kingdom. A glimpse of that kingdom was given in the

transfiguration of Christ. It is good to be away from the world,

and alone with Christ: and how good to be with Christ glorified

in heaven with all the saints! But when it is well with us, we

are apt not to care for others, and in the fulness of our

enjoyments, we forget the many wants of our brethren. God owns

Jesus, and accepts him as his beloved Son, and is ready to

accept us in him. Therefore we must own and accept him as our

beloved Saviour, and must give up ourselves to be ruled by him.

Christ does not leave the soul, when joys and comforts leave it.

Jesus explained to the disciples the prophecy about Elias. This

was very suitable to the ill usage of John Baptist.
14-29 The father of the suffering youth reflected on the want

of power in the disciples; but Christ will have him reckon the

disappointment to the want of faith. Very much is promised to

our believing. If thou canst believe, it is possible that thy

hard heart may be softened, thy spiritual diseases may be cured;

and, weak as thou art, thou mayest be able to hold out to the

end. Those that complain of unbelief, must look up to Christ for

grace to help them against it, and his grace will be sufficient

for them. Whom Christ cures, he cures effectually. But Satan is

unwilling to be driven from those that have been long his

slaves, and, when he cannot deceive or destroy the sinner, he

will cause him all the terror that he can. The disciples must

not think to do their work always with the same ease; some

services call for more than ordinary pains.
30-40 The time of Christ's suffering drew nigh. Had he been

delivered into the hands of devils, and they had done this, it

had not been so strange; but that men should thus shamefully

treat the Son of man, who came to redeem and save them, is

wonderful. Still observe that when Christ spake of his death, he

always spake of his resurrection, which took the reproach of it

from himself, and should have taken the grief of it from his

disciples. Many remain ignorant because they are ashamed to

inquire. Alas! that while the Saviour teaches so plainly the

things which belong to his love and grace, men are so blinded

that they understand not his sayings. We shall be called to

account about our discourses, and to account for our disputes,

especially about being greater than others. Those who are most

humble and self-denying, most resemble Christ, and shall be most

tenderly owned by him. This Jesus taught them by a sign; whoever

shall receive one like this child, receives me. Many have been

like the disciples, ready to silence men who have success in

preaching to sinners repentance in Christ's name, because they

follow not with them. Our Lord blamed the apostles, reminding

them that he who wrought miracles in his name would not be

likely to hurt his cause. If sinners are brought to repent, to

believe in the Saviour, and to live sober, righteous, and godly

lives, we then see that the Lord works by the preacher.
41-50 It is repeatedly said of the wicked, Their worm dieth

not, as well as, The fire is never quenched. Doubtless, remorse

of conscience and keen self-reflection are this never-dying

worm. Surely it is beyond compare better to undergo all possible

pain, hardship, and self-denial here, and to be happy for ever

hereafter, than to enjoy all kinds of worldly pleasure for a

season, and to be miserable for ever. Like the sacrifices, we

must be salted with salt; our corrupt affections must be subdued

and mortified by the Holy Spirit. Those that have the salt of

grace, must show they have a living principle of grace in their

hearts, which works out corrupt dispositions in the soul that

would offend God, or our own consciences.
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