You may wonder why you see some of the same skills keep showing up that you’ve seen before. Repetition is key to retaining what you’ve read and learned.
Monday, July 16
Scripture: Mark 8:31-9:1
 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.  And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”  And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?  For what can a man give in return for his soul?  For 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.”
Chapter 9  And he said to them, “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.” (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Remote context. The remote context of a passage is the Scripture passages before and after your passage, even the entire book or genre of your passage. In our case, this passage is more clearly seen in light of what precedes and what follows it.
Consider the following questions:
- What did Peter do in 8:27-29?
- In Peter’s mind, what did he conceive of Jesus as the Messiah to be? To involve? (Most likely ruling and reigning)
- What happened in 9:2-13? What was Peter’s reaction to Jesus then?
- Now read 8:31-9:1 in light of what comes before and after. What is the significance of Jesus foretelling his death and resurrection sandwiched between these two events? A helpful hint: in between Peter’s amazing declaration and Jesus’ amazing transfiguration is a prediction of his ugly, awful death. The Messiah would be murdered. The transfigured one would be disfigured. What a Savior! This ought to lead you to worship Jesus!
Tuesday, July 10
Scripture: 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 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, 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; 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.  So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean.  And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?”  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?  But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.” (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Remote context. We have to look at remote context again. Don’t read this without realizing what Jesus has just predicted.
I have to share this. We see Peter’s very incomplete understanding of Jesus. Otherwise, Peter would not have considered building a tabernacle for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. By suggesting this, Jesus was putting Peter on the same level as these great prophets. Now, consider 8:27-29. Did Peter really understand the implications of Jesus as Messiah?
Wednesday, July 11
Scripture: Mark 9:14-29
 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them.  And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him.  And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”  And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute.  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.”  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.”  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.  And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.  And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”  And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  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.”  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.”  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.  And when he had entered the house, 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.” (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Remote context. Again! Jesus was just transfigured and 3 of the disciples witnessed it. Now these same disciples are unable to cast out a demon. Jesus’ answer as to how this happens is through prayer! The one to whom prayer is to be made became a “pray-er” on earth. Jesus often withdrew to pray. How much more do we need to pray!
Now consider this in light of the context. The one who can be transfigured needs communion with the father. The one who will die and be resurrected will (we know) eventually pray from the cross!
Thursday, July 12
Scripture: Mark 9:30-32
 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know,  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.”  But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Remote context. Yes, I’m serious about this. The juxtaposition of events is unbelievable! Peter confesses Jesus is the Christ, Jesus foretells his death and resurrection, Jesus is transfigured, Jesus talks of the importance of prayer, Jesus then foretells his death and resurrection.
Why does Jesus continually refer to his death and resurrection? Why the repetition? Because they don’t get it! Verse 32 says, “But they did not understand.” Lest we think that Peter’s declaration that Jesus was the Messiah was rock-solid, Peter doesn’t understand. The remote context reveals a roller coaster experience between Jesus and the disciples.
Friday, July 13
Scripture: Mark 9:33-37
 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?”  But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.  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.”  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 him who sent me.” (ESV)
Scripture Reading Skill: Remote context. Look at the last sentence in 32: But they did not understand. How can you tell from this passage that clearly they did not understand. (In light of all of Jesus’ remarkable miracles, they are trying to figure out who is the greatest!) This is unbelievable!