Mark 9: 14-28 Restoring the power 1: Faith.
“14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16 ‘What are you arguing with them about?’ he asked. 17 A man in the crowd answered, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.’ 19 ‘You unbelieving generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.’ 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, ‘How long has he been like this?’ ‘From childhood,’ he answered. 22 ‘It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ 23 ‘“If you can”?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’ 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. ‘You deaf and mute spirit,’ he said, ‘I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’ 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, ‘He’s dead.’ 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’” NIV UK
We don’t want to be the impotent church in the valley of need; powerless in the face of destructive demonic forces, do we? Does anyone reading this want to sign up for an insipid expression of their faith? I hope not. But how can things be as different as we know they can be? As different as they need to be?
In this passage Jesus places three ‘keys’ into the hands of His disciples.
What makes for a powerFULL church? The first key is:
- Faith: Jesus rebuked everyone present that day for their lack of faith – including the dad, I think. He used the words ‘’if you can’’ to Jesus (22). Jesus picked him up on them in (23), quoting his own words back to him with a question mark behind them. He could heal the boy. That was not in doubt. The question was, could he believe? (23, 24). In timeless, candid words, the dad admitted that he had some faith, mixed with unbelief, and that’s where most of us are. We stand in his shoes, and look at disturbing realities through his eyes. In Matthew’s version of this story, the first thing Jesus says in reply to His disciples’ question: ‘’Why couldn’t we drive it out?’’ (Matthew 17:19), is, ‘’Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you’’ (Matthew 17:20). That’s what happened when Jesus evicted the demon (25). It’s an example of perfect faith in operation.
‘Even though his faith were small, it would suffice; the tiniest seed can appropriate the chemical products of the soil, and transmute them into digestible products; the narrowest channel will suffice for the passage of the waters of the whole ocean, if you give time enough. Let us not worry about the greatness or smallness of our faith; the main point is as to whether it is directed towards the living Saviour…For every thought of thy little faith take ten thoughts of his faithfulness.’’ F.B.Meyer: ‘Great verses through the Bible’, p.382.
PRAYER: Lord, increase our faith.