Chapter 9

I am there when Jesus is transfigured and appears with Moses and Elijah! Jesus continues to tell us that he will die and be raised from the dead. He says we must lead by serving and have faith like a child. Jesus went on to say, “I tell you the truth, some of you who are standing right here will, before you die, experience the powerful reign of God.

Six days later Jesus took three of us (James, John and me) and hiked way up a mountain where we could be alone. Once there, Jesus was transfigured before our very eyes. His clothing became dazzling white. Nothing this side of heaven could have made them so brilliant. Suddenly the prophet Elijah was there — and Moses as well — and they were talking with Jesus!

I simply had to say something, so I blurted out, “Rabbi. It’s wonderful to be here. Let’s set up three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and another for Elijah! (We were in awe and I didn’t know what to say.) Just then a cloud overshadowed us and from the cloud came a voice, “This is my Son, the one I love.  Listen to him.” We hid our faces and after a moment, when we looked again, Moses and Elijah were no longer there. We were alone with Jesus and everything had returned to normal. (1-8)

As we were coming down the mountain, Jesus told us in no uncertain terms that we should not tell anyone what we had seen until he, the Son Man, had risen from the dead. So we kept all this to ourselves, although we did discuss what “rising from the dead” could possibly mean. We asked Jesus, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the ‘awesome Day of the Lord?’”

He answered, “Elijah does come first and gets everything ready. But why does Scripture say that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt? I tell you that Elijah has already come and, just as it is written in Scripture, they treated him just as they pleased. (9-13)

After coming down the mountain, we saw the other disciples surrounded by a large crowd, and some teachers of the law arguing with them. When the crowd saw Jesus they were thrilled and came running as fast as they could to greet him.

To the teachers of religious law, Jesus said, “What are you arguing about with my disciples?”

A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought my son to you because he’s under the control of an evil spirit and can’t speak. It seizes him and hurls him to the ground. My son foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth and becomes rigid from head to foot. I asked your disciples to cast the demon out, but they couldn’t do it.”

To those standing by, Jesus exclaimed, “You unbelieving people! How much longer must I be here with you? How much longer do I have to put up with you? Bring me the boy.” So they brought the boy, but the instant the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a convulsion causing him to collapse on the ground and roll around foaming at the mouth. “How long has this been going on?” asked Jesus.

“Ever since he was a little boy,” answered the father. “Time and time again the evil spirit has tried to destroy him by throwing him into fire or holding him under water. If you can do anything, please show compassion and help us.

“If I can?” Jesus responded. “Nothing is impossible for the one who believes.”

Instantly the father cried out. “I do believe; help me never to doubt!“

Since the crowd was now quickly gathering around him, Jesus knew the time to act had come. He rebuked the spirit, saying, “You evil spirit who makes this boy unable to hear or speak, I order you to come out of him right now and never return!”

The evil spirit screamed in opposition, but, after throwing the boy into violent convulsions, came out of him. The boy appeared so much like a corpse that those standing there thought he was dead. But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet.

We left the scene and went indoors. Going to Jesus in private we asked, “Why couldn’t we cast out the evil spirit?”

Jesus answered, “This kind is cast out only by prayer.” (14-29)

We moved on from there and made our way through Galilee. Jesus didn’t want others to know where we were because it would take time for us to understand fully what he meant when he said, “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men who will put him to death, but after three days I will rise from the dead.” At the time we didn‘t understand what he was talking about and were afraid to ask him. (30-32)

When we arrived back home in Capernaum and had gone inside, Jesus asked, “What were you discussing on the way? No one said a word because we had been arguing about which of us was the greatest, and we knew that was wrong. At that point Jesus sat down as our teacher and told us to gather around. He said to us, “Whoever wants to be first must place himself last and serve everyone else.”

Then he took one of the children playing there, gave him a hug, and placed him before us. “You see this child?” asked Jesus. “I made him feel good about being here. Whoever welcomes others in this way welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me, welcomes not only me but also the One who sent me.” (33-38)

One day John went to Jesus and said, “Master, we saw a man casting out demons in your name. We told him to stop because he wasn’t one of us.”

“That wasn’t right,” said Jesus, “because no one who can perform a miracle by using my name will soon after that be able to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us, is for us. I assure you that whoever gives you a drink of water because you bear Christ’s name will certainly never lose his reward.

“If anyone should damage the faith of one of my followers, it would have been better for him to have had a huge millstone tied around his neck and been thrown into the sea. If your hand is damaging your faith, cut it off. Far better to go through life with one hand than to burn in the unquenchable fires of hell with two. Or if your foot is damaging your faith, cut it off. Better to go through life as an amputee than to be thrown in hell with two feet. Or if your eye is damaging your faith, get rid of it. Better to go through life with only one eye than to have two and be thrown in hell ‘where the maggot never dies and the fire never goes out.’ (39-48)

“Everyone will be tested by suffering. Salt is good, but if it loses its tang how do you restore it? Salt preserves your relationships and helps you to be at peace with one another.” (49-50)