But here is Jesus saying, “No, you have to believe first before I heal your boy.” Why is faith a requirement for God to act? I say the problem of unbelief is not unique to the disciples because the focus of this passage is on the unbelief of someone else. The problem is that most people, when they struggle to believe, turn away from God. We have seen this before in Mark’s Gospel. It is amazing how quickly we can move from confidence to crisis, especially in regards to our faith. And Jesus knows it. Mark tells us in verse 14 that “a great crowd” had gathered around the remaining disciples and that scribes were in a dispute with them. Undoubtedly it shows the compassion of Jesus by giving the father an opportunity to elaborate on the desperateness of the situation. The boy lay still and everyone assumed he was dead. ... help my unbelief,” we are confessing sin, and when we confess sin, well, you know what God promises: “If we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And Jesus is troubled by the persistent unbelief of the crowd, expressed in the words of this father. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. Mark 9:24 NKJ 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Does anyone know the number of tears that you have ever shed in your lifetime? There are fewer actions that depend on faith more than prayer. I say the problem of unbelief is not unique to the disciples because the focus of this passage is on the unbelief of someone else. Immediately after the father makes this statement, Jesus heals the boy by casting out the evil spirit. No matter how great the past successes, following Jesus will always take us into things that are beyond our abilities. But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him up, a picture to all who surrounded him that not even death can deliver the final blow. All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. A Prayer to Build Us a) A Prayer to Pray Contritely b) A Prayer to Pray Continually 1. Sermons. God is gracious enough to let us fail so that we can be awakened from the foolishness of self-sufficiency. The full context of the man’s prayer, “I believe; help my unbelief!” helps make his meaning clearer. Jesus is not waiting for the father to conjure up more faith on his own. For it is as honest an expression of the difficulty of faith you will find in the Bible, and yet, Jesus accepts it. First half of Mark answers the question: Who is Jesus? Their problem, too, was a lack of faith. The scribes have gathered and are questioning the disciples concerning their inability to heal a young man who is possessed. A good way to test this is to test your commitment to him. Jesus identifies the lack of faith in this father in verse 23. “I Believe, Help My Unbelief” Mark 9:4-29 September 9, 2007 SCRIPTURE INTRO: Mark divided in two halves. We are fickle people, turning the requirement of faith into the problem of faith. This lonely father is struggling not only for the life of his son, but also for the existence of his own faith. Again we ask, “Why is this so?”. Denomination: Congregational. A Prayer to Build Us a) A Prayer to Pray Contritely b) A Prayer to Pray Continually 1. <>/ProcSet[/PDF/Text/ImageB/ImageC/ImageI] >>/MediaBox[ 0 0 612 792] /Contents 4 0 R/Group<>/Tabs/S/StructParents 0>> As soon as Jesus arrives, the father uses the opportunity to appeal to Christ Himself. %���� <>>> Now it is not hard to see the connection between faith and prayer. We dare not fight the battles of this life in our own strength for then, indeed, we will meet our match. “Help my unbelief!” is an amazing statement of faith that Jesus will accept every time. Background. We must begin by asking ourselves if our faith is in God or in a substitute god. And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?” The greatest problem you and I struggle with, whether we detect it or not, is the problem of unbelief. The boy’s symptoms include an inability to talk and hear as well as epileptic-type problems like convulsions, foaming at the mouth, and paralysis. It is amazing how quickly we can move from confidence to crisis, especially in regards to our faith. He had brought his child to the disciples with great hopes that they could help. x��io�F������(��iQ I�&A��n]�d����%��c���;�4�{��,r�7�>��M?vW��(�����8.W7�Z\����? He will constantly make us aware of how inadequate we are for the work that must be done. He appeals to One who is able to help — "Lord." These teachers of the law were furthering skepticism regarding the validity of the disciples’ ministry and, by implication, Jesus’ ministry, too. Jesus had just returned from the mount of transfiguration when He came upon a large crowd surrounding His disciples. So exactly how had the disciples failed? Dealing Directly with God: Mark 9:24: Faith and Unbelief: D. Fraser, D. D ... Mark 9:24: The Only Help for Unbelief: J. Slade, M. A. endobj Because in the cry of desperation we are praying. We make the same mistake of unbelief when we begin to doubt God because of the failures of God’s people. In verse 23 Jesus says, “All things are possible for one who believes.” But the father is struggling to believe because Jesus’ disciples have failed him. After Jesus’s return from the Mount of Transfiguration, He is met by His disciples and what would seem like a mob. In other words, the disciples had failed in the same way the father had. They are clearly words of frustration. A Promise to Bless Us a) The Possibility of What We Can See b) The Prerequisite to What We Can See 2. So again the father cries out, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. Jesus responded to their question by simply saying, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” Later manuscripts say prayer and fasting, but Jesus probably referred only to the need for prayer. The word that the father uses here highlights the comparative weakness of the disciples. There must be a reason Mark includes this detail; it must be important to his argument. Jesus says this uncertainty regarding Jesus’ ability to help is unbelief. In spite of their inability to heal this boy, the disciples are not the problem. The demon would often cast him into the fire to burn him to death or into water to drown him. ‎Jesus demonstrates to us that God does the impossible, not merely the most improbable. So the reason the demon was not initially exorcised from the boy had nothing to do with Jesus’ willingness (see Mark 1:40) or ability to do so. That’s exactly what Jesus does for this desperate father. The man was justified in placing his faith in Jesus; it required much power, and the young man for a moment seemed all but dead, but the demon was cast out, and the young man was made whole (Mark 9:25-29). O how easily we move away from it for no other reason than we simply don’t think we need it. But this completely changes the meaning of what Jesus said. So we ask, “Why does Jesus take the time to inquire into the duration of this boy’s illness” (v. 21)? 14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 3 0 obj What happened is that a father brought to Jesus his son to be healed saying, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. stream In this passage, Mark gives us part of a conversation between a father, whose child had an unclean spirit, and Jesus Christ. And it has often cast him into the problem See, unbelief is that you risk everything on,! 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