Lord, You are the source of all truth and the great revealer. Today, reveal more truth to me from Your Word.
Read MARK 9:14-29
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“We grapple with God in prayer until we have cast our burden on him. Then the burden is handed over to God. We are released from its power” (Ajith Fernando).
Jesus comes down from the mountain still glowing, it seems, with some echo of the transfiguration glory. Indeed, the people who first see him are “overwhelmed with wonder” (15). The disciples left waiting for him, however, have become embroiled in an argument with the Jewish scholars who have been following Jesus like reporters searching for controversy (16). Jesus walks right into a dispute. The argument concerns a boy who is demon-possessed, and whose deliverance the disciples simply could not achieve (17,18).
The boy’s father explains his condition to Jesus, who delivers the boy from his torments (25-27). In the course of this, Mark is able to record one of the most powerful prayers found anywhere in Scripture: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (24). The simple faith of this father, desperate for his son to be well, is contrasted with the cynicism of the religious leaders (19) and the impotence of the disciples (28,29). In a discourse that centers on belief and unbelief, the father is honored not only for confessing his faith, but also for acknowledging the lack of it. Belief and unbelief are at war in him, just as they are in both the Jewish leaders and in the disciples, but he does something with this inner battle that neither of the other two groups do: he turns it to prayer.
The disciples’ error is not that they lacked faith; it is that they were drawn into controversy, instead of into prayer. Had they redirected their energies away from argument with the Jewish leaders and toward prayer, who knows what might have happened? Our doubts are not the enemies of the miracles of God if we turn them into fuel for prayer.
What issues or problems are troubling you now? Let them be fuel for prayer now and look for release from their power.
Lord, when doubts assail, may I say, “Lord, I do believe.” When cynicism attacks, may I cry, “help me overcome my unbelief.”
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