New Defender's Study Bible Notes
9:1 kingdom of God. The fact that Matthew, Mark and Luke all record this remarkable promise immediately before the experience of Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration indicates that they understood that experience to be the fulfillment of the promise. In effect, the three disciples were translated in a vision (Matthew 17:9) to the glory of the future kingdom. See notes on Matthew 17:3,5,8.
9:3 white as snow. This is one of six occurrences in the Bible of the picturesque phrase “white as snow,” describing the appearance of Christ’s raiment on the Mount of Transfiguration. It also describes his head on His glorified body (Revelation 1:14), as well as the raiment of the “angel of the Lord” after Christ’s resurrection (Matthew 28:3), and the “Ancient of Days” in the vision given to the prophet (Daniel 7:9). In view of such exalted applications of the phrase, it is striking to note that it also describes the purified soul of a redeemed sinner (Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 1:18).
9:3 fuller. That is, one who fulls (bleaches) cloth.
9:10 questioning. Not even these three disciples in Christ’s innermost circle ever really understood His repeated prophecies concerning His coming death and resurrection until they had actually been accomplished (note also Mark 9:30-32). John, finally, was the first really to comprehend (John 20:8).
9:13 written of him. Since neither of the Old Testament prophecies of the coming of John the Baptist predict his rejection and martyrdom (note Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1), this statement (“it is written of him”) must refer only to the phrase “is indeed come.” John came as a type of Elijah’s future coming, but not as the complete fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy (Malachi 4:5), for Christ also said that Elijah was still to come, even after John had died (Matthew 17:11). See notes on Matthew 17:10-12).
9:13 Elias is indeed come. See note on Matthew 17:12.
9:24 help thou mine unbelief. This is a remarkable statement of faith to which the Lord responded. This indicates that Christ recognizes that faith itself must be given by God (note Ephesians 2:8, 9) and welcomes not only our prayer of faith but also our earnest prayer for more faith.
9:29 prayer and fasting. The words “and fasting” were apparently dropped (or possibly added) from (or to) the original account, since a few of the ancient manuscripts do not have them. In any case, the Lord was stressing that this type of demonic possession, combined with actual illness (probably epilepsy, combined with deafness and dumbness), continuing ever since childhood, was extremely difficult and required intense, long-continued, believing prayer. Fasting would almost inevitably accompany such single-minded prayer. Christ Himself, as omnipotent Creator, was not so limited, however, and could respond instantly to the father’s earnest faith and sincere desire for stronger faith.
9:32 understood not. Jesus could hardly have spoken more plainly than in what He said, but the disciples did not understand, basically because they were “afraid” that He meant what He said. Similarly, many today have difficulty in understanding God’s Word, primarily because they don’t want to believe that God actually means what He says. This is especially true in connection with His record of creation and other miracles.
9:41 in my name. Anything sincerely done in the name of Christ (thereby indicating faith in all that His name implies), even if not done with the structure of an approved church or other organization, merits the approval of Christ.
9:43 go into hell. Jesus is here speaking of the reality of an eternal hell (Greek gehenna)—that is, the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15; see also Matthew 25:41).
9:48 worm dieth not. Jesus spoke often warning of hell, with this entire passage (Mark 9:42-50) being a prime example. The undying worm indicates never-ending disintegration and the unquenchable fire indicates eternal suffering, however they may be implemented. The contemplation of such a future ought to drive men to “flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7), but instead it often impels them to even more adamant unbelief. Nevertheless, like it or not, it was their very Creator who was here issuing the warning.