Mark 9:33-50

Daybreak for Students

Mark 9:33-50

OVERVIEW
DAYBREAK
Mark 9
Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another. — Mark 9:50

A young woman was preparing a meal for several friends, when she realized that she had added much more salt to the meat dish than the recipe called for. Since she was not yet experienced in cooking, she decided to compensate by not putting any salt in the other dishes she served. Of course, the meat dish turned out inedible and the other items were flavorless.

There are many uses for salt. In fact, the Salt Institute in Virginia says there are over fourteen thousand uses. Consequently, salt is a valuable commodity. In Bible times it was used like money. Roman soldiers were paid “solarium,” or “salt rations,” and the ancient Greeks traded salt for slaves. The average American will use sixteen tons of salt during his or her lifetime. Of course, only a small percentage of that is actually ingested as food; the statistic also refers to the many chemical processes that use salt, the use of salt on highways for ice and snow, and many other processes that require salt.

Salt makes food taste better, but it is not the taste of salt that we want. Rather, we want the salt to enhance the flavor of what we are eating. So it is spiritually. Christians are called to be “salt” in this world. We are called to bring out the “flavor” of Jesus Christ in the world by following the Lord and performing His will. It is not that we want the world to see us, but rather, Jesus in us.

When salt loses its saltiness, it is worthless. Spiritually, we can compromise and lose our effectiveness as witnesses. We are called to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the world. Often the lives of those around us are lacking flavor, and we need to help them taste of the Lord’s goodness. If we have Jesus in our hearts and are becoming more Christ-like by drawing closer to Him, our associates will see our testimonies.

Are the graces of Jesus Christ demonstrated in your life, bringing a good flavor to those around you? The Lord can help you be good salt.

BACKGROUND

Jesus and the disciples had come through Galilee, and in today’s text, had arrived back at Capernaum, which had been their headquarters in the area. It is possible that “the house” referred to was Peter’s home. When Jesus asked the disciples what they had been deliberating about along the way, their silence was indicative of embarrassment, for they had been discussing who among them should be greatest.

Assuming the Jewish teacher’s typical posture of sitting, Jesus gathered His disciples and gave them a lesson about humility. He told them that the way to greatness was through service to others. The Greek word diakonos is translated as servant. It indicates one who is willing to do any task without worrying about any sort of recognition. Jesus illustrated His point by drawing a child to Himself and saying that to receive, or welcome, a child in His Name was like welcoming Jesus Himself. The children of that time were not ordinarily given much regard, so Jesus was also showing their value.

In verse 38, John expressed concern about someone who was casting out devils in Jesus’ Name, but was not in their company. Jesus let the disciples know that they should not reject the services of others who believed in Him. Any effort — even simply giving a cup of water — to aid the cause of Christ would have a reward.

In verse 42, Jesus gave His disciples strong admonition about offending anyone who endeavors to be His follower. A millstone was a large stone used to grind wheat. A stone of this size required a work animal such as a mule or donkey to move it. If a person was thrown into the water with such a weight tied around his neck, death would be sure.

In verses 43-48, Jesus gave a grave warning about sin. Some commentators suggest that the phrase “where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” refers to the Valley of Hennon, south of Jerusalem. This valley was a dumping ground for trash where fires burned and worms reproduced in the rubbish. Over time, the valley acquired a spiritual application referring to eternal damnation. Jesus’ point was that nothing — not even things which seem most priceless — is more valuable than a person’s soul.

The phrase “every one shall be salted with fire” is often interpreted to mean that “fire” — or affliction, persecution, and trials — will purify the followers of Christ. “Every sacrifice shall be salted with salt” referred to Old Testament sacrifices that were made with salt (see Leviticus 2:13). However, salt is only of value when it is salty. Demonstration of the Lord’s graces would result in peace with one another — a condition the disciples had not demonstrated when they disputed amongst themselves.

AMPLIFIED OUTLINE

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
V.   The instructions of the Son of God
    G.   Instructions concerning humility (9:33-37)
    H.   Instructions concerning unity (9:38-41)
    I.     Instructions concerning offenses (9:42-50)

A CLOSER LOOK

  1. Whom did Jesus instruct we must be careful not to offend?

  2. What concept was Jesus trying to stress when He said it would be better to pluck out an eye than go into the fire?

  3. What is one way you can be like good salt to those around you today?

CONCLUSION

During the time Jesus was on this earth, He provided instructions for making Heaven and taking others with us. We can follow those directions and flavor our world for Christ.