Mark 9:2-29 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. Why do you suppose Jesus permits His disciples to witness His transfiguration at this point in His ministry? Hint: What does the Lord reveal will happen in the immediate future (see Mark 8:31 printed below?)

Then he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31)

Jesus permits His disciples to witness His transfiguration in order to fortify their faith. In a short while Jesus will undergo both trial and crucifixion. Having seen Jesus in His divine glory at the transfiguration should serve to assure the disciples that Jesus is the Lord of glory and that He will rise again, just as He said.

2. Why do you think the disciples experienced a combination of joy and terror as they witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration?

Watching Jesus’ divine glory being revealed was a foretaste of heaven. But since the disciples were not yet suited for heaven, (Jesus had not yet accomplished the work of redemption,) this experience also had an element of terror about it as they stood in the presence of the Lord.

3. What does God the Father say to the disciples from out of the cloud? See Mark 9:7 (printed below) To what is He referring? See Mark 8:31-38 (printed below)

Then a cloud came and cast its shadow over them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son; listen to him. (Mark 9:7)

Then he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (32) Now he spoke these things publicly. So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. (33) But Jesus, turning around and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and said, Get behind me, Satan; for your mind is not focused on the things of God, but on the things of men. (34) Then he called to himself the whole crowd along with his disciples, and said to them, If any man desires to be my disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (35) Whoever wants to save his life, will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake and for the sake of the gospel shall save it. (36) What profit is it for a man to gain the whole world, but to forfeit his life? (37) What can a man give in exchange for his life? (38) Whoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:31-38)

The Father affirms that Jesus is His beloved Son and instructs the disciples to listen to Him. The Father is referring to Jesus’ teaching recorded in Mark 8:31-38. At that time Jesus had informed His disciples of His determination to fulfill the mission His Father had given Him, which meant submitting to the cross. Furthermore, Jesus informed His disciples that they must follow Him.

4. Read carefully Mark’s description of the deliverance of the demon-possessed boy in verses 25-27 (printed below). What does this tell us about how victory is gained over the devil?

When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never again enter into him. (26) After crying out, and violently convulsing the boy, he came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that most of those present said, He is dead. (27) But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him up; and he arose. (Mark 9:25-27)

At Jesus’ command, the demon departed from the boy after throwing him into a violent convulsion. The boy looked like a corpse and those present said, “He is dead.” But Jesus raised him up and he arose. What is described is a “death and resurrection,” a demonstration that victory over the devil would be accomplished by Jesus’ own death and resurrection.

5. On an earlier occasion, the disciples received divine power to cast out demons. Why do you suppose they were unable to cast out this demon?

Remembering the divine authority Jesus had given them on a previous occasion (Mark 6:7), the disciples assumed that they could call upon that reservoir of grace whenever they might need it. But you cannot “stockpile” grace; you need a fresh supply for each new encounter of spiritual combat, and it is granted through prayer.