For the full text of Mark 9, click here.
The last chapter ended with a story of Jesus foretelling His death and resurrection. Strangely, this story overlaps into chapter 9 by one verse. This verse comes after the point in His story where Peter tried to tell Him that he would never let that happen and is rebuked for it. Then Jesus goes out to the crowd and says this:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever would save his lifed will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”Mark 8:34-38
Then it jumps chapters and He adds this:
“Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”Mark 9:1
During the same scene in Matthew 16, this is all done in the one chapter, I’m not sure what Mark’s motives may have been for changing that piece up or if it’s simply a translation type of error. That said, I’m sure that it’s obvious by now that the intention of the writing is different from Mark to Matthew anyway. Matthew seemed to be constantly proving that Jesus was the Son of Man and Mark seems to just be telling people about where He went and what He did. Mark’s also much less concerned with all the teachings of Jesus and focuses on the direct role modeling He does.
This is followed by the story of the transfiguration, as it is in Matthew but in chapter 17. The transfiguration is the story of Peter, James, and John going up the mountain with Jesus. They see Him talking to Moses and Elijah, two of the greats of ministry up to that time. They hear God speak to them about Jesus being His son and then the other disappear. It’s on the way back down the mountain that the stories diverge a bit. Jesus gives them the same lesson about how Elijah has already come again and that the people mistreated him as they will mistreat the Son of Man, but the understanding isn’t fed to us. While that isn’t a big difference in the story itself, it’s reflective of the difference in the gospels themselves. It shows again that Matthew is making the point that Jesus was the Messiah they were waiting for and that He knew it the whole time. Mark is just telling the story of Jesus’s life.
The next story is also a little different and this is definitely the less popular version because the Matthew account mentions the often repeated adage about the faith of a mustard seed. The story itself is about a possessed boy who the disciples cannot help. They attempt to drive out the demon but are unable to. They call in Jesus, who makes it look easy and teases them about it before asking to be taken to the boy. This account has more detail about it and includes Jesus Himself saying that “all things are possible for one who believes”, that they all think the boy is dead at first, that Jesus lifts him up afterward. Then there’s the disciples asking why they couldn’t get it done and a different response.
But in Matthew, it’s
“Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”eMatthew 17:20-21
Afterward, while passing through Galilee in Mark but “gathering” in Galilee in Matthew, Jesus again tells them about His impending doom and later resurrection. They don’t understand what He means by it in either account, but they are specifically mentioned as afraid to ask here in Mark. Of course, it’s the kind of sentence that seems perfectly obvious in hindsight.
Then the apostles get caught trying to figuring out who was the greatest among them. Rather than either humoring or reprimanding them, he makes the point that they should be more concerned with being humble. This account leaves off the part about causing a child to sin and the punishment that would come from it until later. There’s a longer explanation that comes later.
The next paragraph, talks about people who are not so much “with” Jesus and His crew as much as not against them. That they should appreciate the contributions of these people, which makes sense to me because not everyone is going to get this kind of attention and there will be “fans” of Jesus more than “followers” but the one can lead to the other sometimes. I actually found the concept of Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman rather interesting. From there it goes into the explanation mentioned above before ending the chapter.