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1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
Ver. 1. Shall not taste of death ] Saints only taste of death; sinners are swallowed up of it, they are "killed with death," Revelation 2:23 . Whereas the righteous do mori vitaliter; death is to them neither total nor perpetual, Romans 8:10-11 .
2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
Ver. 2. See Trapp on " Mat 17:1 "
3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.
Ver. 3. Became shining ] στιλβοντα , glistering and sparkling as stars, which twinkle and beckon to us as it were to remember their and our Creator.
4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.
Ver. 4. See Trapp on " Mat 17:3 "
5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
Ver. 5. See Trapp on " Mat 17:4 "
6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.
Ver. 6. See Trapp on " Mat 17:6 "
They were sore afraid ] εκφοβοι . And even ready to run away, as unworthy, Deuteronomy 9:19 .
7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
Ver. 7. See Trapp on " Mat 17:5 "
8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.
Ver. 8. See Trapp on " Mat 17:8 "
9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.
Ver. 9. See Trapp on " Mat 17:9 "
10 And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.
Ver. 10. And they kept that saying ] With much ado they kept it (as the word εκρατησαν imports), for the rest of the disciples were very inquisitive, likely, what was said and done in the mount. A friend that can both keep counsel and give counsel is worth his weight in gold.
11 And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?
Ver. 11. See Trapp on " Mat 17:10 "
12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.
Ver. 12. Set at nought ] Vilified and nullified mean ουτιδανος , or one that had nothing in him, εξουθενωθη . Vermis sum et non homo, I am a worm, and no man, saith the Psalmist in the person of Christ.
13 But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.
Ver. 13. See Trapp on " Mat 17:12 " See Trapp on " Mat 17:13 "
14 And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.
Ver. 14. See Trapp on " Mat 17:14 "
And the scribes questioning with them ] Purposely to put them to shame in their Master’s absence: Marcian the heretic, for his arroding the good names of others, was called Mus Ponticus. (Tertull.) And Epiphanius fitly resembleth heretics to moles, who do all their mischief by working underground. But if once they be above ground, they are weak and contemptible creatures.
15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.
Ver. 15. Were greatly amazed ] To see him come in so opportunely, in the very nick, which is his usual time. See Trapp on " Mat 17:14 "
16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?
17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
Ver. 18. Teareth him ] "Teareth him as dogs do:" so the Greek word ρησσει signifieth, Matthew 7:6 .
19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.
Ver. 19. Bring him unto me ] Thus man’s perverseness doth not interrupt the course of Christ’s goodness.
20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
Ver. 20. The spirit tare him ] Thus things often go backward ere they come forward; as the corn grows downward before it comes upward. Duplicantur lateres, venit Moses. This child had never such a sore fit, as now that he was to be cured. See Mark 9:26 .
21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
Ver. 21. Of a child ] παιδιοθεν . Neither yet is there any injustice with God, that little ones thus suffer: they are not innocents, but "estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they be born,"Psalms 58:3; Psalms 58:3 ; the first sheet or blanket wherein they are covered is woven of sin, shame, blood, and filth,Ezekiel 16:4; Ezekiel 16:4 ; Ezekiel 16:6 . Infants have sin, though unable to act it; as Paul’s viper, stiff with cold, might be handled without harm, yet was no less venomous. But no sooner can they do anything, but they are evil doing, Ut urtica statim urit, et cancri retrocedunt, et echinus asper est, as young nettles will sting, young crab fish go backward, and as the young urchin is rough, &c.
22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
Ver. 22. It hath cast him into the fire, &c. ] So doth blind zeal deal by them in whom it is.
23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
Ver. 23. All things are possible, &c. ] Questionless (saith a reverend man, Mr. S. Ward) justifying faith is not beneath miraculous in the sphere of its own activity, and where it hath warrant of God’s word. The prayer of faith is after a sort omnipotent, saith Luther.
But if thou canst do anything ] This woeful father had no further patience to parley; but through weakness of faith, and strength of affection to his distressed child, breaks off his tale, and begs present help. "He that believeth, maketh not haste," Isaiah 28:16 .
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Ver. 24. I believe ] This act of his in putting forth his faith to believe as he could, was the way to believe as he would.
Help thou mine unbelief ] That is, my weak faith, which he counteth no better than unbelief; howbeit, God counts the preparation of the heart to believe, faith, as in those Samaritans, John 4:39-42 . Dr Cruger cried out on his death bed, Credo languida fide, sed tamen fide. Much faith will yield unto us here our heaven; and any faith, if true, will yield us heaven hereafter. Selnever Paedagog.
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
Ver. 25. I charge thee ] Cum emphasi dictum et magna authoritate, saith one, when the Lion of the tribe of Judah roar on this wise, devils run and wriggle into their holes, as worms use to do in time of thunder.
26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
Ver. 26. And rent him sore ] The nearer any is to help and comfort, the more Satan roareth and rageth.
27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.
Ver. 27. But Jesus took him by the hand ] Christ ever reserveth his holy hand for a deadlift.
28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
Ver. 28. See Matthew 17:19-21 . The history of the dispossession of the devil out of many persons together in a room in Lancashire, at the prayer of some godly ministers, is very famous. Read the book and judge. These ministers (being Nonconformists) were questioned for it in the High Commission Court, as if it had been a device to strengthen the credit of their cause. Saint’s Everl. Rest.
29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
Ver. 29. But by prayer and fasting ] The cause why they could not cure the child, was unbelief; the cure of unbelief is sought and wrought by fasting and prayer.
30 And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it .
Ver. 30. And they departed thence ] Clam et celeriter, privily and hastily, as the Greek παρεπορευαντο imports; and why they did so, seeLuke 9:53; Luke 9:53 .
31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
Ver. 31. For he taught his disciples and said ] i.e. He said it often, that they might remember it once; which they had no mind to do, Luke 9:43 .
32 But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Ver. 32. They understood not that saying ] They could not conceive that the Saviour of the world should suffer as a malefactor.
33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?
Ver. 33. And being in the house ] sc. That he had hired there, See Trapp on " Mat 18:1 "
34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
Ver. 34. Who should be the greatest ] viz. In Christ’s earthly kingdom, in the which they vainly dreamt of a distribution of honours and offices, as once in the days of David and Solomon.
35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
Ver. 35. He sat down ] Tanquam serii quicquam traditurus: the teacher sat, the learners lay at his feet. See Trapp on " Mat 5:2 "
36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,
Ver. 36. See Trapp on " Mat 18:2 " See Trapp on " Mat 18:3 "
37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
Ver. 37. Receiveth not me ] Non removet sed corrigit, saith Erasmus. He receiveth not me only, but him that sent me.
38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
Ver. 38. And John answered him ] John was soon sated with that sad discourse of our Saviour, and begins a relation of another business, little to the purpose.
39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
Ver. 39. Forbid him not ] It is probable that this man would not forbear, unless Christ himself should forbid him; which here he refuseth to do, and shows reason for it.
40 For he that is not against us is on our part.
Ver. 40. Is on our part ] Is to be esteemed among such as favour me in this furious age.
41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
Ver. 41. For whosoever shall give, &c. ] Much more he that shall cast out devils in my name, and out of love to me.
42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
Ver. 42. See Trapp on " Mat 18:6 "
He shall not rose his reward ] For his cup of cold water he shall have a torrent of pleasure. If therefore ye will be wise merchants, happy usurers, part with that which ye cannot keep, that ye may gain that which ye cannot lose.
43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Ver. 43. It is better for thee to enter ] The Trojans, after long debate, concluded it better to part with Helen, though a lady of incomparable beauty, than by retaining her longer, to venture their utter wreck and ruin.
Αλλα και ως τοιηπερ εους εν νηυσι νεεσθω , say they. (Hom. Iliad.) Did we but forethink what sin will cost us, we dare not but be innocent.
44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Ver. 44. Where their worm ] As out of the corruption of our bodies worms breed, which consume the flesh; so out of the corruption of our souls this never dying worm. This worm (say divines) is only a continual remorse and furious reflection of the soul upon its own wilful folly, and now woeful misery. Oh, consider this before thy friends be scrambling for thy goods, worms for thy body, devils for thy soul. Go not dancing to hell in thy bolts, rejoice not in thy bondage, as many do; to whom the preaching of hell is but as the painting of a toad, which men can look on and handle without fear.
Never dieth, and the fire is not quenched ] O quam diuturua et immensa est eternitas! Oh how long and enormous is eternity, said the devil once. a A child with a spoon may sooner empty the sea than the damned accomplish their misery. A river of brimstone is not consumed by burning.
a Manlii loc. com.
45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Ver. 45. It is better for thee ] καλον εστι . It is a goodly thing to go, though maimed, to heaven.
To be cast into hell, where the fire ] About the year 1152, King Louis of France cast the pope’s bulls (whereby he required all fruits of vacancies of all cathedral churches in France) into the fire; saying, he had rather the pope’s bulls should rest in the fire, than his own soul should fry in hell. (Speed’s Hist.)
46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Ver. 46. Where their worm dieth not ] i.e. Where there is eternity of extremity. Of all outward torments none more insufferable than that by fire; as of all inward, none like that of having worms ever grubbing and gnawing upon the entrails. Add hereunto, that worms and fire use to make an end of other things; not so here. The fire fails not, as did that fire in the valley of Hinnom, wherein the dead carcases were burnt without Jerusalem, Jeremiah 19:6 ; The worm dies not, as do those worms that swarm in sepulchres. Oh, the terrors and torments, the fathomless perdition, the remediless misery into which the damned are plunged, without the least hope of ever either mending or ending! Plato travelling into Egypt together with Euripides the tragedian, got much Hebrew learning; he calleth hell πυριφλεγεθων , a fiery lake, and saith that there their worm dieth not, their fire is not quenched. (Phaed. p. 400.) This he might have from Isaiah 66:24 , though it be his practice, lacte gypsum miscere, as Irenaeus spake, to stain the pure streams of divine truths with fabulous narrations.
47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
Ver. 47. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out ] Out with it, away with that earthly idol, that image of jealousy, Ezekiel 8:3 , though it be to thee as a hand for profit, or an eye for pleasure.
48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Ver. 48. Where the worm never dies ] This is three different times repeated, that it may the better be observed. Utinam de Gehenna ubique dissereretur, saith a father. Oh that word never (said a poor despairing creature on his death bed) breaks my heart. This worm of conscience is worse than the fire, if worse may be: it is the very hell of hell, as being the furious reflection of the soul upon itself for all its neglected opportunities and flagitious practices. This will be a bodkin at thy heart one day (saith a reverend man), I might have been delivered.
49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.
Ver. 49. For every one shall be salted with fire ] The spirit, as salt, must dry up those bad humours in us that breed the never dying worm; and as fire, must waste our corruptions, which else will carry us on to the unquenchable fire.
50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
Ver. 50. Salt is good ] Nature hath prudently mingled salt with all things, that they may not easily putrefy. Greges enim pecorum urinam salsissimam effundere videmus, et in omnes stirpes salem infusum. John Bodin. Theat. Naturoe.
Have salt in yourselves ] Habete in vobis sal. A cuius admonemur tribus literis (ut curlose observat quidam), Sapere, Agere, Loqui. The conjuring of salt among the Papists is intolerably blasphemous; it is thus: I conjure thee, O salt, by the living God, &c., that thou mayest be made a conjured salt to the salvation of them that believe. And that unto all such as receive thee, thou mayest be health of soul and body; and that from out of the place wherein thou shalt be sprinkled, may fly away and depart all fantasy, wickedness, or craftiness of the devil’s subtlety, and every foul spirit. By salt here we may understand mortification and holy discretion, or sincerity of doctrine and discipline, whereby the saints are seasoned and preserved from the putrefaction of sin and error; from the plague of emulation and dissension, as those good souls (Miconins and his colleagues) who could say with comfort, Cucurrimus, certavimus, laboravimus, pugnavimus, vicimus, et viximus semper coniunctissime, &c. We have run together, striven, laboured, fought, overcome, and lived always together in much peace and concord.
And have peace one with another ] By mortification, season, tame, and purge your own hearts of those lusts that war in your members, James 4:1 , and prove offensive to others, Mark 9:43 , so shall you be at peace one with another. Stomach worms are killed with salt.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Mark 9". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany