Mark 9

Sermon: Downward Mobility and the Call to Welcome Children – Mark 9:30-37, Philippians 2:7

Jesus asks them, “What were you arguing about along the way?” They are all silent. I’ve been wondering why. The gospel tells us they were arguing about who was the greatest.  And why were they arguing about greatness? Two things have happened just before this argument. The most recent thing is that Jesus called the disciples “faithless” when they couldn’t cast the demon out of the boy. He told them that in front of a whole crowd of people. That must have smarted. They were disciples, they had left everything to follow Jesus, and he just told them they were faithless. Ouch!

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Sermon: Prosper the Work of our Hands–Dealing with Doubt – Mark 9:14-29, Psalm 90

Right after this high point, both literally and figuratively in Jesus’ life, he comes down the mountain straight into this unholy mess that we read about in today’s gospel story. He descends into an argument. The scribes are arguing with the disciples; there is a man whose son has a demon, and the disciples have not been able to heal him. Jesus descends into the reality that his disciples are stumped, they seem to be ignoring the hurting person and instead are involved in arguing with the scribes. What was it like for Jesus to come straight off the mountain and into this messy scene?

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Sermon: Transfiguration and the Story of Our Lives – Mark 9:1-13, 2 Peter 1:16-19

 Sometimes we don’t give a thought to Jesus’ mental state as he walked this road to Jerusalem. We think, “He’s our Saviour, he chose this, he was fine with it.” Was he? We know for sure that he was filled with agony in the garden. Was he entirely peaceful about his identity all the other hours and days of his short life? Think about your own life, when there is something that you dread in the future, do you save all the worry and anxiety up for one night? Or do you carry it all for days and months? Perhaps the transfiguration was an encouragement for Jesus himself…

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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