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Monday, April 22, 2024

Gospel of Mark - Chapters 9-12 Notes

Chapter 9


This verse talks about Christ's Resurrection here. He is contrasting what he just talked about in Chapter 8. 


The Transfiguration. After 6 days they go (Peter, James, and John) to a high mountain. Moses talked to God and descended down it glowing. Elijah appears talking to Christ. Moses and Elijah appear and are in the presence of God (Jesus). Elijah spoke to God on top of a mountain too. Clearly, Jesus is God here and is demonstrating that to be the case.

[Note: Jesus' clothes change]

A cloud comes down and the Father tells them that Christ is His Son and to "Hear Him!". The cloud is the Holy Spirit, Jesus is the Son, and the Father speaks. A picture is given here of the Trinity. 

Moses did not stay on the mountain and neither did Elijah. Jesus cannot either for He has work to do. The Father answers Peter when he foolishly tries to set up three tabernacles. The rest Peter seeks will come but for now, he has work to do. There here is a God we see (Christ) and a God we hear (the Father) here. Both are clearly God here. In 2nd Temple Judaism and Early Christianity, the Christ Jesus of Nazareth is the 2nd Power of Heaven. This is made very clear here. 


Christ tells them not to tell of this event until after He has resurrected. They questioned what rising from the dead meant... Good grief right? They have literally seen and witnessed Jesus resurrect people from the dead. Dense much?

The apostles ask why the scribes say Elijah comes first. They just saw Elijah up on the mountain. 


Jesus refers to John the Baptist. Elijah did come and Jesus says I am Messiah. The apostles do not fully grasp the Old Testament here. They are trying but still see mostly from an earthly, worldly perspective.

[Note: John the Baptist is not physically Elijah nor a reincarnation of Elijah. What is meant here is that John the Baptist possesses the same spirit of God that the prophet Elijah possesses]


The disciples are talking to everyone and the scribes are there trying to have a talk with the disciples and ask them what they're discussing with them. 

A person asks Jesus to heal his son of a spirit of muteness. The disciples could not deliver this child from his demon. Jesus heals the boy. "Lord I believe. Help me with my unbelief". This person is honest and has some faith but also has some doubt. Faith is confidence and trust that this is true. 


This spirit can only come out through prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting are both important for a Christian to do. This grows and strengthens and spiritually nourishes us. 

There is no exam at the Last Judgment. What we say and do matter. "I believe but this is hard". "Help me trust You". Christ is telling them where faith comes from. Faith is not just an intellectual assent. It must transform you beyond just a belief. 


He teaches the Son of Man will be betrayed and killed and the disciples are too afraid to ask Jesus what He is saying. 


Jesus at Capernaum asks the disciples what they were arguing about. They keep silent because they have been disputing over who would be the greatest disciple. Jesus tells them to be humble for the first shall be last and the last shall be first. 

They are still thinking that the Messiah will conquer Rome as a King. 

Jesus takes a child to show them an example of the first shall be last. 

Children at this time were seen as nothing here in this culture and essentially carried the status a slave had. The disciples must be like a child to be great in God's Kingdom. Children were lower than slaves in this culture. 

"He who receives these little ones receives Me". Treat these least important people like Me (Jesus). We are ALL in His Image. 

Whatever you are doing to man, you are also doing to God. 

Whoever causes even the least important people to stumble should be ready for eternal judgment. Be careful how you teach others and what you do. God will avenge. The person you hate the most is how you truly feel about Christ for even they are made in His Image. 

This one guy is found casting out demons in Christ's name but the disciples tell him to quit. This person is great. He doesn't have to be one of the 12 Apostles to do it. The way to greatness is to be a servant/slave. 


Cut off what is bad. Do good. Don't lose your faith. If salt loses its saltiness, it's worthless and needs to be thrown out. We must not be apostates and we must not lead people astray. 

"Every sacrifice is seasoned with salt". Food is sacrificed to God who "eats" with priests. You'll season it. It is nasty if you don't and won't taste good. You must season yourself metaphorically so you taste good to God for you are an offering to God with your life (Romans 12).

Chapter 10


Wherever Jesus goes, crowds follow. He is now in Judea and teaches again. He is in the Pharisees' territory now and they test and question Him. They try to pull a trick question on him to ruin His standing with the crowd. An attempt at a gotcha moment. 

They answer Jesus when He asks a question in return. The Law of Moses was designed to keep their wives. In a divorce or a marriage, they had to present their certifications which would force them to have it put over their heads. This was to try and keep the men responsible and to care for their wives. The Pharisees give their interpretation. Usually, these men were given a wife in an arranged marriage by age 13 and the law was put there by God to keep them from abandoning their wife. In the 1st CE and before that and even after, a divorce could be a death sentence for a woman and her children as well. 

Jesus goes to Genesis 1 and 2:7 and talks about how marriage was intended by God to be. 

The man and woman are one in flesh. Eve is Adam's half (not side). 

The bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. She is part of Adam and to divorce her is to divorce your half, to cut yourself in half. This is also cutting the covenant of marriage (referring to Abraham cutting the covenant with God in Genesis 15).


The disciples ask about it again to get clarification. 

Why do we allow 2nd or 3rd marriages in Orthodoxy? We take marriage seriously but 

1) Jesus says specifically that this 2nd marriage is happening right after the 1st marriage (not something we allow). 

2) Our services have different marriage ceremonies. They are not ideal but it is the real world and a bishop as well must okay it. It has to be for the sake of salvation and penitential too. 

A 3rd marriage, if even allowed, and usually not, is entirely penitential. 

The Church does NOT grant divorces out. We accept that they have happened. 

The disciples ask about marriage and Jesus doesn't give any wiggle room. 


Children aren't seen as people in this time. To enter the Kingdom you must be the lowest of lows. Even slaves had more rights than children. Jesus blesses them and says not to forbid them from Him. 


Someone comes running and asks what must be done to inherit eternal life. Calls Jesus "Good Rabbi" like a Pharisee. Jesus answers this way to push him a bit. Jesus tells him what to do and this man doesn't get it. He is a bit full of it. Jesus does love this guy even though he doesn't get it. Jesus tells him to go and give up his riches and bear the cross. This man though had a lot of stuff and chose his stuff. 

The apostles are astonished and Jesus calls them children. Not a compliment. 

None of these men are rich and ask "Who can be saved if it's this hard?"

We all have this temptation that we can't live without this stuff we have in our society. What do we value? Christ or the material things we love and value?


Peter answers in a way like "We follow You right? We're doing good!" and Jesus is showing them not to look for greatness and riches when we enter Jerusalem.


They are amazed because they are in Jerusalem now. Sees many Pharisees and Romans, and sees crucified people too here. Jesus tells them He will be betrayed, delivered to the Gentiles, die, and rise again. 


James and John of Zebedee ask that they be Christ's top men. Jesus says they must be the lowest of lows. On His left and right hand are crosses. Jesus tells them they will be martyred one day for Him. 

All of the apostles get upset with them. 

Jesus says the 1st shall be last. The last first. This inverts the social order. 


They are in Jericho and see blind Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, begging. He cries, "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!" The people tell him to be quiet but he yells all the more. He calls him "Teacher", the same as the Rich Man. He, in contrast to the Rich Man, a blind beggar follows Jesus on the road and takes mockery and more and follows him to inherit eternal life.

Chapter 11


They're in the slums of Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives. Christ tells them to get a colt that no one has sat on. He is going to ride it and says to tell them God needs it. It is not going to be seen as stealing because God owns it. The people that own it will give if they say, "God needs it". These people who have NOTHING give it to them. Contrast this to the people in the city. 

No saddle so they put clothes on the colt so Jesus can ride it. The people (crowd) believe He is the Messiah. They seem to think though that Jesus will be a conqueror. This is the same mob who will turn on Jesus. 


Christ doesn't stay in Jerusalem. He stays in Bethany to be with the poor. Jesus is hungry and curses a fig tree (which is out of season for fruit). The disciples heard it so He did this deliberately as an example. He had just looked around Jerusalem and the Temple. This fig tree is like Jerusalem. No fruit. They condemn themself. "The axe is at the root of the tree". A Day of the Lord is about to happen with their refusal to be God's people. Through the Cross. 


Jesus comes to Jerusalem and the Temple and drives out those who bought and sold in the Temple. The elites there own about 95% of the land. Jesus doesn't come here to pray this time. He goes there to drive them out and calls them a "den of thieves". 

The scribes and Pharisees who own/control everything and hoard all this wealth also oppress the poor and get pissed off at Jesus who has begun messing up their profits. They're using the Temple essentially as Corporate Headquarters instead of being shepherds like they are supposed to and CALLED to do. They plot how to destroy and kill Jesus from this point on. 


The fig tree Christ cursed before has withered now. Peter notices it. Jerusalem and the Temple (Israel) is in apostasy and dead. Unfaithfail harlots. Israel is to soon be judged by Christ on the Cross and the Old Covenant is about to be fulfilled. Even its roots, aka the Chief Priests, which are supposed to nourish the people (Israel) are dried up/dead. 


They still have not gotten He is God and Messiah and the 2nd Power of Heaven. They are also faithless like dumb children. Jesus talks to them about prayer to teach them and they do not believe. They have no faith and Jesus points this out to them. Their faith and belief that He can and will save, He can and will. He also says prayer won't be answered if they haven't forgiven. It is not just this. It is just what is listed here. 


The chief priests, scribes, elders, etc. ask by whose authority Christ does these things so Jesus asks them a question back about John the Baptist's baptism. They answer "I don't know" and so Jesus says He won't answer them. Jesus' answer is God. His authority also is from God. 

Chapter 12


A parable is given of a man and a vineyard to the Pharisees. 

The vineyard owner sends his son and they kill him. The servants are supposed to be dealing with this vineyard that is the owners'. The land is God's and He is looking for fruit and they do not want to give it to Him. The servant is the OT prophets while the Son is Jesus, who has come to the Temple asking for fruit and finding none. None is there, they kill the Son, and the Landowner, God, will destroy them (this happens in 70 AD).

The Pharisees and Sadducees knew exactly what Jesus said since they were evil landowners and a den of thieves. They want to kill Him and would if there wasn't a mob of people. 


The chiefs sent some Pharisees and Herodians to try and get Him in His words. They ask Him about taxes to Caesar. Notice they are all different groups that hate each other and are working together, to get rid of Jesus. They have become unified under Satan and hate God Incarnate. They say He is a True and Good Teacher to try and butter Him up. Ask about Caesar - pay the tax or not? It is a trick question obviously. They are trying to get Rome to execute Him there if He says no. If He says yes, to pay taxes, then the mob will probably get Him. This seems like a win-win to them. 

Jesus answers: Calls them on their hypocrisy and then asks for a denarius (a coin). Asks whose image is engraved on this coinage and then says, "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what's God's". They marvel because He has outsmarted them here. This is on one level an image of Caesar, and a person. Who owns Caesar? God, who created him. He is saying give to Caesar what is his but give God everything back to God. Who is hoarding everything? The Pharisees and Sadducees and Herodians who own everything and won't give the land back to the people. None of this is theirs. It is God's. 


Some Sadducees show up now, who say there's no resurrection. The priests of the Temple, who only accept Torah as 5 books, just the Pentateuch. They try to make JEsus look dumb with a question about the Resurrection. 

Who's wife, after 7 brothers had her as a wife will she be in the Resurrection? 

Jesus answers that there is a resurrection and says there is no marriage after it. Says that they don't understand the Scripture. 

In the Resurrection, they will be different. A different world and reality. Jesus quotes the Pentateuch where God tells Moses in Exodus, He is God of the Living and God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

They can't be God's in the present tense if they're not to be resurrected from the dead. The Sadducees end up running off. 


Scribes come. They ask, which is the first commandment of all? Jesus answers that: Deuteronomy 6:4-5. He quotes the Shema. This is like our Jesus Prayer to the Jews and they still use it today. Jesus then continues and quotes Leviticus 19:18 next. He has just summarized the entire Old Testament here with all bases covered. Love of neighbor is an expression of God's love. After that, they don't question Him. 


Jesus asks the crowd, why the scribes say the Messiah is the Son of David. If David says the Lord said to My Lord, how is He the Son? He quotes Psalm 110. Jesus is telling them that the Messiah is God Himself and not just some man. The commoners heard it greatly. 


Beware the scribes. He condemns them because they are in high authority and have spent their lives studying scripture but live evil lives and do evil. They should know and do better but do not. 


Jesus sits opposite the Temple's Treasury and watches the people pay their temple tax and sees a widow put in a quadrant (2 mites); essentially a penny is the modern equivalent. The widow probably had to beg for money, and just gave everything to God. 

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