Mark 9 | Good, Good News
Overflow Church
Overflow Church

Overflow Church

Sin | Mark 9: 42-47

By Pastor Leslie Brown


We all do it whether we are willing to admit it or not. I think for the most part, the majority of Christians don't come face to face with the opportunity to sin and make the conscious decision to disobey. But we aren't as innocent of those tiny "little sins" we do day in and day out. We get so comfortable with our disobedience, we stop seeing it as so. 

I'm honestly not sure where the "big sin, little sin" mentality came from. If anything, because of this poor mindset, many of us are probably guilty of committing sins on a daily basis: slander, gossip, disrespect, anger, to name a few. As a mother, I must be aware of what I portray to my children as acceptable and unacceptable. If I am not intentional, my passivity in allowing little poor behavior in my own life and their lives only reinforces a false sense of "big sin, little sin."

Unlike us, I do not believe God stops focusing on the little things and only worries about the big things.

In Mark 9: 42-47, Jesus gets brutally honest about sin. "If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell..."


Here, Jesus addresses FIRST the issue of causing "the little ones" to sin. Could it be, there is a greater emphasis on causing others to sin than committing it ourselves? How do you cause someone else to sin? What we teach, by word or action, is a big deal to the Father. 

Jesus goes on to talk about extreme measures to stop sinning in order not to be separated from God in heaven for eternity. This correction isn't a, "You should really stop that, Son," treating sin a "little," it's, "Don't allow anything to keep you from the Father."

It is interesting also how the words and thoughts of Jesus wrap-up in this portion of scripture in verses 49 and 50. "Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?"

Could it be, by allowing the "little sins" to become such a routine part of our lives, we grow so comfortable and complacent and are no longer able to be the salt of the world to those around us: children, peers, the lost? I don't know about you, but this statement of losing my ability (saltiness) to influence the world for Jesus and the thought of being unable to regain that ability to influence those in my life is a major gut check to see what I'm allowing in my life, even if it is something I have begun to look at as  a "little sin." 

Could it be, by allowing the "little sins" to become such a routine part of our lives, we grow so comfortable and complacent

The Transfiguration | Mark 9:2-13

The Transfiguration | Mark 9:2-13
By Krista Vaughn
Mark 9:2-13
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one[a] on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi,[b] it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son;[c] listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. 11 And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 12 And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

This encounter with Jesus’ inner circle of friends takes place a few days after Jesus proclaims His death. If we look back, that discussion also tells the struggle Peter had in digesting the information Jesus said about His soon-to-be departure. They were in a place of disbelief and probably hopelessness. Now, they experienced another event that threw them for a loop, as the scripture says, they were terrified…

How many times have you expressed something silly because you were afraid or awestruck?

I feel sympathy for Peter for that reason. In those events, we try to normalize or downplay the situation onto a level we can better understand. In Peter’s case, he saw Jesus transform from whom was within while seeing the human representation of the Law (Moses) and the human representation of the Prophets (Elijah) having a discussion with each other. With Peter’s normalization of wanting to celebrate this encounter, he wanted to create tents (tabernacles) for them to potentially stay in that state for a time. In saying this, he ended up equalizing their authority, but God disproves that in the following statement:
“This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” (Luke 9:35) “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5)
Jesus is above the Law and the Prophets, not on an equal plain.

“This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”

After this confrontation, they were given a better understanding of Who to believe in and have hope in, in the coming days of the cross and the resurrection.

I believe that some encounters we experience cannot always be justified to our terms of understanding the situation. It is in those moments we need to stop and listen to the main authority in our lives: Jesus. Then, the hope we have in Him will guide us through our journey.

(Further reading:
Grace Communion International; Enduring Word; Through The Word)

The Disciples Dilemma(Sermon) -Mark 9

Mark 9:14–10 (ESV) 
14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.”
The environment….
1. Drama
2. Demons
3. Disappointment

Other things going on with the Disciples in Mark 9
The Disciples Dilemma
1. They were powerless
Mark 9:28-29 (ESV) His disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
They were powerless because the were prayerless
“You are only as powerful as your prayer life.”

2. They were promotion conscious 
Mark 9:31–32 (ESV) 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and we’re afraid to ask him.

The main mission was death and resurrection.

Mark 9:33–35 (ESV) 33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
“If serving is below you, then leading is above you.”
“It’s God’s job to promote; it’s our job to give ourselves fully to whatever He places in our hands.”
James 4:10 (ESV) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
“Sadly, for most being great in God's eyes is simply not enough.”

3. They were partial/ tribal
Mark 9:38–40 (ESV) 38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us.

4. They lacked pruning 
Mark 9:43–48 (ESV) 43  if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’
Mark 9:20–29 (ESV)
20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anythinghave compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

Encountering Interventions
1. Ask.
2. Believe the impossible.
“Yes must become our default when mentioning the impossible.”
3. Position your trust.
Vulnerable trust is bold faith
4. Pray Again.


Additional Reading:
The Transfiguration Lk 9:28–36 Mt 17:1–13
Jesus Heals a Boy Possessed by an Impure Spirit: Mt 17:14–19; 22,23; Lk 9:37–45
Jesus Predicts His Death a Second Time: Mt 18:1–5; Lk 9:46–48
Whoever Is Not Against Us Is for Us Lk 9:49,50