When they came to the other disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some teachers of the Law arguing with them.
remember your mountain
through all subsequences
to heal or not to heal
not a question
disappointment comes around
arguing to argue
compromises immune systems
no questions asked
transitions are difficult
tempted to give up
choice still abides
steady steadily steadied
The CEB that we have been using as a standard text has chosen here to name Jesus, Peter, James, and John rather than to leave it with a more literal translation of an implied and indefinite “they” which, in context, would refer back to those who came down the mountain. It is always tricky to know when to add a clarifying word and when to let the story flow.
An example of that flow is the lack of description of what the Scribes were arguing about. Whether it is a repeat of one of their previous bones-to-pick or a new tack, is not Mark’s concern here. The course is already set, suffering and death, increasing conflict is built in to this arc.
We are to understand that we are back to work with the learners, pupils, disciples. The tools are the usual ones of healing (specific event) and teaching (understanding).
Before getting into the story as such, it is helpful for a reader to pause and reflect on how they (better, “I”) react when seeing a negative encounter going on. Does that change whether we know participants on both sides or just one? What happens to my attention and energy? Does my fight-or-flight analyzer ratchet up? Does my truth-O-meter start finding projected arguments based on my expectation of being a mediator or judge? Does my mouth go dry or salivation kick in?
Whatever your usual markers are when anticipating participation in a tense setting, they are a helpful backdrop to best hear the unfolding of a story that continues from 9:1—“to see the presence of G*D active in the present”.