Do you believe you have a Savior that is sufficient enough for your every need?
A man brought his son to Jesus 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. 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.” (Mark 9:17-18)
Have you known a struggle or trial in your life that has gone on much longer than you can remember and has stretched your faith till it seems you’re holding on by only a bare thread? Maybe the opposite is true and your faith in Jesus hasn’t yet grown to the point where you trust Him with your every need… both scenarios seem to be prevalent in this scene.
Jesus focuses everyone’s attention on this fact when He declared, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me” (v 19). Now up to this point, Jesus has walked on water, healed many that were sick, cast out demons, caused the dead to hear and the blind to see, and has fed thousands of people by multiplying what little the disciples could provide. All this is now colliding on the circumstances of this weary father; bringing together the disciples, the religious teachers, the people and this man and his son to address their real need, faith in the Son of God.
Matthew Henry writes, ‘Very much is promised to our believing. If you can believe, it is possible that your hard heart may be softened, your spiritual diseases may be cured; and, weak as you are in faith, you may be able to hold out to the end of your struggle. Those that complain of unbelief must look up to Christ for grace to help them against it, and his grace will be sufficient for them. Whom Christ cures, he cures effectually. But Satan is unwilling to be driven from those that have been long his slaves, and, when he cannot deceive or destroy the sinner, he will cause him all the terror that he can.”
The father of the youth knows this to be true, and holding on by a thread says to Jesus, ‘but if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us!’ ‘If I can’ Jesus replies… bringing the man’s focus in on who He was speaking to and what Jesus has already done, He states ‘All things are possible to him who believes.’ Faith is the key, for it is within the realm of faith in the Son of God that He works, “And it is impossible to be well pleasing to God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
To this the father cries out, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief!” Is not this the cry of each of our hearts? We know about God, and we come to him needing help having exhausted all our own strength… yet we need His strength, we need His all sufficient Grace to carry us through the trial… day by day and moment by moment. Jesus responds to this man’s heart cry and heals his son.
As for the disciples who have spent time with Jesus, they should have known how Jesus faced every previous trial by first seeking the Father. Look at the scenes where Jesus healed someone and notice the phrase, ‘and looking up to Heaven.’ Consider especially Jesus words prior to raising Lazarus from dead, “…Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me” (John 11:41-42). So when Jesus says to the disciples, ‘this kind only comes out with prayer’ he wants to focus them on the necessity of their Faith in God as the prerequisite to their being able to do anything; and that healings and miracles are not some side show to amaze the crowds, but to bring Glory to the Father and strengthen the faith of the believer. The disciples must not think everything will be easy; but that many trials will call for more than ordinary pains and explicit faith in our Savior.
Do you want to see our God’s hand at work in your life? Do you long to know His strength as you face each day and trial? Start by seeking Him in His Word, and allow Him to speak to you in the quiet moments when you’re separated from the noise of the crowd. Learn from how He has revealed His Love and Grace in those who have gone before, and cry out to Him to help your unbelief! He is a prayer away, standing ready to act when you come to Him in pleasing faith.
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:14-16)
Praying you choose Christ today
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.