When was last time you prayed and asked Jesus to increase your faith? Is it something you do daily? Do you ask others to pray for you in this place? Maybe you’re thinking I don’t need to because “I trust Jesus with my entire life and my faith in Him is firmly rooted every day in His Word.” Do you think it’s fair to say that the disciples, who walked with Him, thought the same way? Today’s message is crucial for all believers as the fragility of our faith is real because we are all imperfect human beings who reside in a fallen world. In today’s passage, we see how the disciples, who were physically present with Jesus, were unable to free a possessed child, which they had done at an earlier date. In response to this entire situation, Jesus’s own words reveal this inaction is due to their lack of faith and lack of prayer. This lesson leaves me with the realization that at times I too can be the arguing crowd, the desperate father, and the imperfect disciple. Jesus’s words (in red) help me to realize that He is calling me to be His representative everywhere, He wants me to submit all circumstances to Him in prayer, and He is urging me to confess my unbelief, lack of trust, and little faith during times of despair, so He can replace those places with full confidence, trust, and faith in Him, and Him alone.
Mark 9:14-29 (NLT)
Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy
14 When they returned to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them, and some teachers of religious law were arguing with them. 15 When the crowd saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with awe, and they ran to greet him.
16 “What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked.
17 One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. 18 And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”
19 Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
20 So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.
21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.
He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”
23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!”
26 Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up.
28 Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?”
29 Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”
Prayer: Jesus, I confess that I do not always have the confidence, trust, and faith in You that I need to. Please forgive me and increase these places and help to break any unbelief. Quicken me to call on You in prayer in every moment of each day. I love You and ask all of this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.
Written By: Jen Auer, Pastor Mary Haley’s Assistant