In Mark 9 we are going to be brought to different events which may at first seem unrelated but have a common thread which links them. We see it in Yeshua’s conclusion, the last words He spoke at the end of the chapter when He said in v.50, Be at peace with one another. It was always His desire.
At that time, Yeshua was preparing Himself to literally be the sacrificial lamb to be slaughtered. The feast of Passover was drawing near as He was heading toward Jerusalem. But with all this going on, and even knowing the great suffering He was about to go through, His concerns were and always have been, for the well-being of His own lambs. Even in Gethsemane, as they were about to arrest Him, He told the soldiers Let these go their way (John 18:8), and miraculously they did. So here, as the time was approaching, Yeshua was preparing His disciples for what was soon to come.
Messiah’s Passion Begins
There is a sense in which the following three verses open up a new chapter in the life of the Messiah, because they are like an introduction to the story of the passion. The word passion refers to Yeshua’s suffering on the tav, on the cross. From there they went out and began to go through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know about it. For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.” But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him. Mark 9:30-32
And while it is the third time that Yeshua told His disciples that He was going to be persecuted and killed, there are some new elements to be seen. Why are we told that they did not understand this saying? Which part did they not understand? It cannot really be the rejection, death, and resurrection of the Messiah because it was the third time He told them. What was it that they did not understand? Why were they afraid to ask?
Betrayed by a Close Friend
There is another new element in the words of Yeshua, a crucial one which may explain why He will soon speak of hell (Gehenna), of unquenchable fire, and eternal punishment. He says that the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men. It is the fact that He will be betrayed that is new here. But the betrayal had already begun. By whom? We know that some of the religious factions were overtly against Him and that they had already decided and plotted to destroy Him. We saw this in Mark 3:6.
But here the word betrayal is used, describing a treachery that comes from someone who is close, from within His intimate circle. From whom could it come? Among the 12, there was Judas Iscariot. We were already told in Mark 3:19 that Judas Iscariot was the betrayer, and the same word is used here. There is a prophecy concerning him.
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. Psalm 41:9 This prophecy will be read during His trial in Matthew 26:23.
This element of internal betrayal may be why the disciples were confused. Who could it be? We are told in Luke 9:45 that that this very matter was hidden from them. So they were afraid to ask Him about His statement. It was concealed from them, otherwise they would surely have tried to stop Judas Iscariot. The prophecy however, had to take its course.
Through these words, we will see that Yeshua took every occasion possible to make an appeal to Judas Iscariot to reverse his decision. Yeshua’s desire for Judas’ repentance continues right up to the last minute in the Garden of Gethsemane. Let’s keep our eyes on this enigmatic man Judas Iscariot. These verses open up a new page in the gospel, the passion page.
This word betray is a word that will reoccur often once Yeshua enters Jerusalem. It is used when Judas betrays Him (14:10), when He is handed over to Pilate (15:1), and when Pilate hands him over to the soldiers for execution (Luke 23:25).
The Son of Man Revealed
But there is a bright side to the text, one that is of great encouragement.
In the three announcements concerning His rejection and death, Yeshua spoke of Himself as the Son of Man. There is prophecy behind the title. It was a very well-known title for the Messiah coming from Daniel 7 which says that when He comes in power, that To Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom… Daniel 7:14a
So it is the Son of Man who dies. But through this name, we understand that He will resurrect, come back, and eventually every knee will bow to Him.