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The God of the (supposed) Impossible

I want you to read Mark 9:14-29

This story tells about one of the few times when Jesus cast out an evil spirit. When Jesus and his three closest disciples came down from the mount of transfiguration, they were met with a distressing circumstance. It was a situation that baffled the disciples that were attempting to deal with it.

This narrative is comprised of four scenes.

The first scene (9:14–19) begins with crowds gathered around a father, a demon possessed son, and the helpless disciples. When Jesus came they were engaged in a debate, and this scene climaxes with Jesus lamenting over a faithless generation. These men had been given a commission in Mark 6:7 which included “power over unclean spirits,” but they had failed in their task - So what is the problem?

The first problem identified is unbelief! In this passage Jesus uses the phrases:

  • “O faithless generation” - v. 19

  • “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” - v. 23

This scene emphasizes one of the chief causes of all spiritual failure—lack of faith in God. However, this section also teaches us that there is a power in faith that can win the day (Mark 10:27)!

Aggressive / persistent faith is a chief characteristic of success in difficult cases:

Read the story of the Leper in Mark 1:40-45 ... well as the story of the paralytic man who was healed in Mark 2:1-10.

Don’t forget to read the encounter of Jairus and his little daughter who was sick and actually dies.

In the middle of that touching story we find the miraculous healing of the woman with “an issue of blood” - Mark 5:21-43.

Also read about the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter in Mark 7:24-30,

as well as about Blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52.

All of these cases were seemingly beyond hope and help, and yet, victory was achieved in each case. In each story we see the vital element of persistent faith and the role it played in the success of those who needed victory.

In our narrative in Mark 9, Jesus asks two rhetorical questions:

• “How long shall I be with you” (how long must I be with you in order for you to have faith? Must I physically be in your presence for you not to lose faith? I leave for a brief moment and you fall apart!)

• “How long shall I suffer you” (How long am I going to be able to endure and bear with this?)

Alright, that was the first scene. Now, what about the second? The second scene (9:20–24) brings Jesus face to face with a desperate father and culminates in the man’s moving confession of uncertain faith. There is a power in faith, even unstable faith. In reality your faith and it’s strength are important; but even in the presence of weak / struggling faith, Jesus can still do mighty things. This should encourage us. The ultimate power is in Him (Luke 17:5-6)! In desperation, this man cried out to Jesus for help!

Next comes the third scene. This third scene (9:25–27) shows the power of faith at work as Jesus drives out a spirit that has tormented the boy and struck him down as dead. Jesus was full of faith!

The fourth and final scene (9:28–29) returns to the disciples’ failure to accomplish the exorcism themselves and connects that failure to several things. This scene reveals the other missing ingredients to the causes of failure in this particular instance.

• First was, Faithlessness (v. 19).

• Second was Prayerlessness (v. 29)

• Third was Selflessness - (v. 29) - understood from the word “fasting” - Fasting is denying oneself that one may achieve greater closeness to God and power with Him)

If you are a Christian, and you are facing what seems like an insurmountable challenge, I encourage you, right now, to examine your faith, your prayer life, and your self-denial. Through Greater Faith, Greater Prayer, and Greater Self-Denial God can find a way to bring victory. All the powers and difficulties aligned against you can be defeated or overcome.

Nothing can stop Christ, except our lack of faith, prayer, and self-denial!

Christ will not work through unbelief, prayerlessness and selfishness! May we never find ourselves in this sad condition.

Mark 6:5–6

And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

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