Year 3 Day 22
Read - Mark 9:21-27
Message - Alan Burke
Things had gone from bad to worse for this father, he had brought his son to the disciples of Jesus and they had failed to do anything to help him and as the boy is brought to Jesus things get worse, as the boy is in the midst of violent convulsions Jesus asks the boys father, how long as he been like this. This question of Jesus is an invitation for the father to tell yes of his son condition, what affliction that they had faced but it is also an invitation for this man to declare his heart. For the man had come to the disciples in hope, he had come in faith. So the father pours out his hear to Jesus, telling him of what had happened, asking Jesus to have pity on us and help. It wasn’t just the son who was afflicted by this demon but also the father who had brought him.
We loose something here in translation, for the literal translation is “Help us and have compassion on us.”. This man is asking Jesus for his compassion, the source of this fathers hope is in the compassion of Jesus who had compassion on so many throughout his ministry. He comes knowing that God is compassionate and gracious, how much he knew is debatable, but he knew enough that he had faith in Jesus. The response of Jesus to this man, shows his compassion towards him, for he tells him, ‘everything is possible for him who believes’.
These words of Jesus to this father are not an all encompassing promise, these words of Jesus aren’t saying… “anything is possible, you just have to believe it will happen, think positively and you’ll be able to do it because nothing is impossible for God”. Rather it teaches us that if we believe that nothing is too difficult for God, that there is no limits on the power of God even when our experience seems to indicate otherwise. It means we can come before the Living God with confidence and are free to ask him whatever we want, as long as we realise that God will answer according to His will (1 John 3:21–22; 5:14).
To these words of Jesus, in the midst of all that he faced this man says; “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” In the midst of it all, in the midst of the failure of the disciples to do anything for his son, who was in the midst of violent convulsions, this is a cry of faith. He had faith, he did believe, he confessed his faith in the power of Jesus although he also humbly and honestly asked help to overcome his unbelief. What we have in this man is faith mixed with doubt, his faith is real, likewise his doubt is real. After all he had just seen the failure of the disciples to do anything to help his son, they were unable to do anything to help, they were part of the problem that left this man with faith mixed with doubt. Jesus in v25 acts. He commands the spirit to leave and never enter again, to the onlookers they think and say that he is dead but in what looked like death there was something else, there was salvation.
Two things I want to leave you with today. Firstly in death there is hope, in His death Jesus Christ to the wrath of God for all those who repent and believe, in His death there is salvation. It doesn’t mean that everything here and now is going to be great, far from it, yes everything is possible and the Lord will act according to His will but that is not a promise of heaven on earth. Secondly this man had faith but was full of doubt, Jude 22, tells us to be merciful to those who doubt. Real faith is often mingled with doubts, yes we want to keep moving forward, to grow and grow, move from faith to faith and grace to grace, but there are moments that it’s just not like that. We will all have plenty of valleys, plenty of troughs, this man was in a valley, a tough, and he asked Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief. Asking for help in your unbelief, in doubts in struggles, we have a compassionate God who hears us when we pray, whom we can come before in the midst of what ever we face.
Q27 Wherein did Christ’ s humiliation consist?
Christ’ s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, (Luke 2:7) made under the law, (Gal. 4:4) undergoing the miseries of this life, (Heb. 12:2–3, Isa. 53:2–3) the wrath of God, (Luke 22:44, Matt. 27:46) and the cursed death of the cross:; (Phil. 2:8) in being buried, (1 Cor. 15:3–4) and continuing under the power of death for a time. (Acts 2:24–27,31)