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Mark 8:34--9:1

Context
Following Jesus

8:34 Then 1  Jesus 2  called the crowd, along with his disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to become my follower, 3  he must deny 4  himself, take up his cross, 5  and follow me. 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life 6  will lose it, 7  but whoever loses his life for my sake and for the gospel will save it. 8:36 For what benefit is it for a person 8  to gain the whole world, yet 9  forfeit his life? 8:37 What can a person give in exchange for his life? 8:38 For if anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him 10  when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” 9:1 And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, 11  there are some standing here who will not 12  experience 13  death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” 14 

1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

2 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn Grk “to follow after me.”

4 tn This translation better expresses the force of the Greek third person imperative than the traditional “let him deny,” which could be understood as merely permissive.

5 sn To bear the cross means to accept the rejection of the world for turning to Jesus and following him. Discipleship involves a death that is like a crucifixion; see Gal 6:14.

6 tn Or “soul” (throughout vv. 35-37).

7 sn The point of the saying whoever wants to save his life will lose it is that if one comes to Jesus then rejection by many will certainly follow. If self-protection is a key motivation, then one will not respond to Jesus and will not be saved. One who is willing to risk rejection will respond and find true life.

8 tn Grk “a man,” but ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used in a generic sense here to refer to both men and women.

9 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to indicate the contrast present in this context.

10 sn How one responds now to Jesus and his teaching is a reflection of how Jesus, as the Son of Man who judges, will respond then in the final judgment.

11 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”

12 tn The Greek negative here (οὐ μή, ou mh) is the strongest possible.

13 tn Grk “will not taste.” Here the Greek verb does not mean “sample a small amount” (as a typical English reader might infer from the word “taste”), but “experience something cognitively or emotionally; come to know something” (cf. BDAG 195 s.v. γεύομαι 2).

14 sn Several suggestions have been made as to the referent for the phrase the kingdom of God come with power: (1) the transfiguration itself, which immediately follows in the narrative; (2) Jesus’ resurrection and ascension; (3) the coming of the Spirit; (4) Jesus’ second coming and the establishment of the kingdom. The reference to after six days in 9:2 seems to indicate that Mark had the transfiguration in mind insofar as it was a substantial prefiguring of the consummation of the kingdom (although this interpretation is not without its problems). As such, the transfiguration was a tremendous confirmation to the disciples that even though Jesus had just finished speaking of his death (8:31; 9:31; 10:33), he was nonetheless the promised Messiah and things were proceeding according to God’s plan.



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