What does Mark 9:26 mean?
ESV: 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.”
NIV: The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, 'He's dead.'
NASB: And after crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, 'He is dead!'
CSB: Then it came out, shrieking and throwing him into terrible convulsions. The boy became like a corpse, so that many said, "He's dead."
NLT: Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, 'He’s dead.'
KJV: And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
NKJV: Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.”
Verse Commentary:
The reaction of the demon to Jesus' authority is normal, even for those without seizure-like manifestations. In the beginning of Jesus' ministry, when He heals a possessed man in the synagogue, the demon, "convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him" (Mark 1:26). The legion of demons caused such violence they destroyed a herd of pigs (Mark 5:13). When Philip exorcised demons in Samaria, they came out with a loud cry (Acts 8:7). Since this demon is mute (Mark 9:17), he expresses his rage physically.

Demons are former angels who rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12–15; Ezekiel 28:6–9). They rejected their duty to glorify God and followed Satan in his quest to seek his own worship (Revelation 12:3–4, 9). They are not our friends. The power they offer is meant to destroy us. They have no power or authority over God, but they can take away from His worship by tricking, leading astray, and attacking people. The violence they exhibit when leaving a person shows that they are malevolent to the end.

Apparently, the deathlike appearance of the boy is a normal result of a seizure. "Becomes rigid" in Mark 9:18 can also mean that the boy is exhausted, withered, and pale. The physical stress of a seizure naturally makes the boy appear dead, but the members of the sudden crowd (Mark 9:25) wouldn't necessarily know that.
Verse Context:
Mark 9:14–29 follows the transfiguration, where Peter, James, and John went up a mountain with Jesus and saw a display of His glory as God. They also saw Moses and Elijah and heard God affirm Jesus as His Son. Now the three disciples and Jesus return from the mountain and find the remaining disciples arguing with Jewish scribes. The disciples have tried to expel a dangerous demon from a young boy but have been unable despite having performed exorcisms before (Mark 6:7–13). Jesus explains that to do God's work, we need faith in Him and to be empowered by Him. This section is parallel to Matthew 17:14–20 and Luke 9:37–43.
Chapter Summary:
Mark chapter 9 contains an account of Jesus' transfiguration, where three of the disciples witness Him in a glorified form. In this passage, Jesus also heals a demon-possessed boy. His teachings in this section include a prediction of His death and resurrection, and corrections to the disciples' errors on questions of pride and temptation.
Chapter Context:
Mark 9 continues Jesus' efforts to teach the disciples who He is, what He has come to do, and what their role is in His mission. The chapter begins with the transfiguration, where Peter, James, and John catch a glimpse of Jesus' glory, and ends back in Capernaum. Jesus spends most of that time teaching. Although the disciples do quarrel with the scribes, the misconceptions and errors Jesus addresses come from the disciples, themselves, not outsiders. In the next chapter, He will leave Galilee and travel toward Jerusalem and the cross.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
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