Summary: As we come down off the mountaintop and into the valley with Jesus we find five factors we that can only be discovered in the valley.
A Study of the Book of Mark
Sermon # 32
“Living for Jesus in the Valley.”
In verses one through thirteen of this chapter Jesus had taken his inner circle of three disciples, Peter, James and John, up on the mountaintop and He was transfigured before them. We discovered that being transfigured means that Jesus became on the outside what he was on the inside. For a brief moment the veil of His flesh was put aside and the disciples were able to see the glory of his deity. The disciples saw Moses and Elijah and listened as they talked with Jesus about his impending death on the Cross. They even heard the voice of God the Father as He said, “This is my beloved Son, Hear Him.” The disciples must have been almost beside themselves with excitement as they came down the mountain. They certainly did not understand everything that had happened to them, but they were no doubt full of joy.
Suddenly the disciples find themselves in the real world. Verses fourteen and fifteen describe the situation, “And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. (15) Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him.”
When Jesus and the disciples came down from the mountain they find the other nine disciples engaged in an argument with some scribes. It was a noisy scene. The nine disciples who remained behind in the valley are being heckled and mocked by a group of smug and sneering scribes. It seems that a desperate father had brought his demon possessed son to Jesus for healing. But when he had arrived Jesus had already gone up on the mountain, so he asked the disciples to heal his son. They had been unable to cast out the demon and the scribes are contemptuous of them for their lack of power. No doubt the scribes were delighting in the failure of the disciples and were using the opportunity to put down the Savior. They were probably using the failure of the disciples to argue that Jesus was also lacking in power. The crowd judged Jesus by His disciples, and they still do.
When the people saw Jesus the text tells us that they were “amazed.” I believe that they are amazed because the sudden appearance of Jesus was at the very moment that His disciples needed him most. Jesus appears almost out of nowhere, at a time when he is not expected, yet moment that He was needed.
When Jesus arrives on the scene He asks for an explanation in verse sixteen. “And He asked the scribes, "What are you discussing with them?" (17) Then one of the crowd answered and said, "Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. (18) And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not."
Some modern commentators render this boy as an epileptic – to accommodate our modern sensibilities -but it is more, much more. The problem is not just neurological; it was demonic. The Bible teaches that evil is not just an impersonal force, - like the Star Wars, “the dark side.” But rather evil exists and is furthered through the work of Satan and his demons. Believers have no business dappling with darkness - such as consulting horoscopes or fortunetellers or possessing such things as ‘tarot cards.”
In some way this boy has become a victim of “demon possession.” When we are told that the evil spirit “throws him down” (v. 18) the idea is to take hold of him and take possession of him. The evil spirit makes the boy his own possession. He throws the boy to the ground and causes convulsions to seize the boy. The boy no doubts has both physical and emotional scars from the injuries inflicted on him over the years.
As we come down into the valley with Jesus I want you to notice five factors we discover in the valley.
First, It Is In The Valley That We Discover The Crowds Of Hurting People Who Need Help.
Mountaintop spiritual experiences are wonderful things to experience. But there comes a time when we must go back down into the valley because that’s where we live. In the valley, the challenge is to translate those mountaintop experiences of intimate communion with God into valley living, where people are hurting and need our help. In fact what we have received from God on the mountain is empty and meaningless if it does not translate into service in the valley among men.