What does Mark 9:32 mean?
ESV: But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
NIV: But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.
NASB: But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.
CSB: But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask him.
NLT: They didn’t understand what he was saying, however, and they were afraid to ask him what he meant.
KJV: But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Verse Commentary:
Matthew 17:23 says the disciples are "greatly distressed." "Distressed" is from the Greek root word lupeo which means grieved or offended. It's natural to become distressed when we don't understand what's going on. What is less justifiable is how the disciples watch Jesus heal, expel demons, calm the sea (Mark 4:37–39), and walk on water (Mark 6:48), but not understand what He means by being raised after three days. They are still caught up in their expectations of what the Messiah ought to do and be. How can the liberator of Israel die?

The disciples have good reason to be nervous about asking Jesus for clarification. Jesus has already shown frustration with their lack of understanding (Mark 8:17–18; 9:19). We do the same. When God speaks but we don't like what He has to say, we tend to complicate His words to the point where we can claim we don't understand them. We do this when we don't like the laws against sin—particularly sexual sin—or the promises that hardships are a part of the Christian life.

Sometimes the Bible contains metaphors. For example, the Pharisees are not literally "whitewashed tombs" (Matthew 23:27). And sometimes Jesus uses hyperbole; He doesn't expect us to literally pluck out our eyes (Mark 9:47). But unless the text is obviously a figure of speech or cultural idiom, we should interpret the Bible literally. Accepting the hard passages shows that we love and trust God. He will work everything for our good (Romans 8:28). And it is often the hard passages that reveal the greatest truth about God, the world, and our place in His kingdom.
Verse Context:
Mark 9:30–32 is the second of three times Jesus prophesies His death and resurrection (Mark 8:31; 10:32–34). After each time, the disciples display their catastrophic inability to understand what this means by denying His words (Mark 8:32–33), arguing over who is greatest (Mark 9:33–34), or requesting places of honor in His kingdom (Mark 10:35–37). The disciples find it profoundly difficult to accept that the Jewish Messiah has not come to give Israel independence from the Roman Empire but to give individuals freedom from sin. This information is also found in Matthew 17:22–23 and Luke 9:43–45.
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.
Accessed 4/13/2024 9:36:49 AM
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