Monday, October 03, 2005

Mark 9:14-22

When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. ��� 'What are you arguing with them about?' he asked. ���

A man in the crowd answered, 'Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 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.' ���

'O unbelieving generation,' Jesus replied, 'how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.' ��� 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. ���

Jesus asked the boy's father, 'How long has he been like this?'

���'From childhood,' he answered. '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.' ���

' 'If you can'?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for him who believes.' ���

Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!' ���

When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. 'You deaf and mute spirit,' he said, 'I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.' ��� The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, 'He's dead.' But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. ���

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, 'Why couldn't we drive it out?' ��� He replied, 'This kind can come out only by prayer.' ��� They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, 'The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.' But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it."


Robb said...

'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!' ���

I love this refreshing honesty. It is probably my favorite part of this passage.

Robb said...

Belief seems to be the theme of this passage. It shows up with Jesus' comment about the unbelieving generation. It shows with Jesus' amazing statement that faith makes all things possible. And it shows up with the man's believing/unbelieving plea for help.

The connection of prayer at the end is interesting. It seems that Jesus says that belief is the key to the miracle to the man, but then tells the disciples that prayer is the key.

This may give us a window into what prayer is - belief spoken to God. My definition of prayer, confessing our dependence on God, seems to be consistent with this.

Robb said...

Living in the paradox of inconsistency and mystery is a difficult thing to do.

I believe, but I don't believe.

I sing "Jesus is the answer," but I still have tons of unanswered questions.

I give my life to God on the grand scale, but I live for myself day to day.

I have been helped by the church more than any other group of people, but I have been hurt by the church more than any other group of people.

I pray, but I worry.

I long for relationships, but I just want to be left alone.

I obey, but I disobey.

I have full confidence, but I have a nagging doubt.

I guess I find comfort in the loving and gracious response of Jesus. He does not need to wait until my faith is fully formed to move toward me with his power. That's a good thing because I wonder if my faith will ever be fully formed.

Elizabeth said...

That was so encouraging to read, robb. it seems like i keep getting so upset because i know i don't have enough faith and because i don't understand God like i want to--it's so easy for me to doubt that His goodness will apply to me, but He seems to keep telling me through this and other venues that He understands my weakness...and will take care of me anyway. i'm praying you'll find a wonderful job!