16 Days with Mark: Chapter 9
Gospel of Mark: Day 9
The Coming of Elijah
The Healing of a Boy with a Mute Spirit
Jesus Again Foretells His Death and Resurrection
Temptations to Sin
Journaling Questions for Reflection
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them (Mark 9:2). Jesus often takes these three aside. Who are my Peter, James, and John? Why are my closest friends my closest friends? What makes a good friend? When am I a Peter, James, or John for someone else? Which of my friendships have I let slide? Who do I need to call? When will I actually call them?
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe, help my unbelief (Mark 9:24)!" Where do I struggle with belief? Ask Jesus to help your particular unbelief. What can I do to help my own unbelief? Is it a theological matter that I do not understand? Is it simply trusting Jesus? Is it scandal caused by those in the Church? Who can I talk to that will can help me with this struggle? What resources can I seek out?
"The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he will rise. But they did not understand the saying and they were afraid to ask him (Mark 9:31-32)." When does my fear keep me from asking difficult questions? How does this affect my relationships? How worried am I about what others think of me? Where do I have a lack of understanding in my life? Who can I talk to? What am I afraid to ask Jesus about? Why? Ask Jesus the tough questions.
And they came to Capernaum and when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you discussing on the way?" But they were silent; for on the way they had discussed with one another who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the Twelve and he said to them, "If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." And he took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me (Mark 9: 33-37)." Where does preoccupation with being "the greatest" affect my life? Is it at work? Is it at home? Is it within my extracurricular activities? Is it at Church? Who in my life is the most difficult to serve? How difficult am I to serve? How can I put others before myself today?
"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire (Mark 9:42-43)." How does my sin scandalize others? Who in my life is being directly affected by my sin? How am I dragging others down with me? When was the last time I went to confession? Who do I need to invite to join me next time I go to confession?
Day 9 Challenge:
At the end of Chapter 9 Jesus offers us strong words about removing sin from our lives. Make a thorough examination of conscience today, then reflect on this verse: "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29)." How can fasting help me to conquer sin in my life? How can prayer? What can I fast from this week?