Saturday Morning: 11 May 2019 – Mark 9:14-29 ~ The Problem of Weak Faith

Saturday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Sabbath Rest – Saturday)

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and set aside a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared to meet you in worship, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Mark 9:14-29 (NLT)

Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy

When they returned to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them, and some teachers of religious law were arguing with them. When the crowd saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with awe, and they ran to greet him.

“What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked.

One of the men in the crowd spoke up 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.”

Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.

“How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.

He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!”

Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up.

Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?”

Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”
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Morning Reflection:

The Problem of Weak Faith

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked.
“Anything is possible if a person believes.”

The father instantly cried out, “I do believe,
but help me overcome my unbelief!” – Mark 9:23-24

Faith in Jesus Christ is an adventure that includes its ups and downs. And failed attempts at healing bring us down. That seems to be the case when Jesus arrives on the scene. A father has brought his son to Jesus for healing, but since he wasn’t there at the time, the disciples attempted to deliver the boy who was terrorized by a demon. But to no effect.

What was the problem? Weak faith – including the father, the crowd, and the disciples on the scene. And the disciples’ failed attempts only served to weaken the father’s confidence in Jesus himself. That’s why his plea for help included “if you can.”

But the problem wasn’t with Jesus – he certainly had the power – the problem was the weak faith, or lack of faith, of everyone else involved. Did the father believe that Jesus could heal his son?

Notice the issue is not would Jesus heal his son, but could Jesus heal his son. Jesus is the focus of healing faith – it’s in Jesus that we trust without setting any limits on his power as the Son of God.

Without hesitation, the father voiced his confidence in Jesus, imperfect as it was. And his son was healed.

Questions for consideration:

  • Do you believe that anything is possible if a person believes? Please explain.
  • Why is it important to make God, through his Son Jesus Christ, the focus of our belief? Please explain.
  • Why is it important to ask in Jesus name? How does that align our requests with the will of God? Please explain.
  • Why do you think Jesus cited prayer as the key to casting out this evil spirit? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

Prayer for the practical needs of persecuted believers:

Heavenly Father, our provider and sustainer: Attend to the needs of your family suffering great hardship and persecution, especially –

+ That they would have access to a Bible…
+ That they would have the courage to remain in their homeland…
+ That those rejected by their family and friends would be welcomed into your family where they are loved and supported emotionally and physically…
+ That socially vulnerable women and those who have lost custody of their children would be protected and their children returned…
+ That those who are destitute would find jobs and safe places to live…

Heavenly Father, you know each one of your children by name: Have mercy on them and attend to their needs. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father: Nothing is impossible for you; your loving-kindness is boundless, your faithfulness is endless, your mercy is renewed every morning. Thank you for including me in your family through faith in your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me to be faithful in prayer that I might align my heart, mind, and spirit with your Word and Spirit. Strengthen me in faith and give me wisdom and sound judgement that my petitions and intercessions might further your Kingdom purposes now and forever. I ask this in Jesus’ name, and for your glory. Amen.
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“Oh My Soul” – Casting Crowns

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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