“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
We are introduced to a man facing one of life’s greatest obstacles, the illness of his son. We have little glimpses into the great love he had for his child. We are told the father cried out with tears, and although the boy had been suffering from childhood, his father stood with him, even risking his life to rescue him. When he finally came face to face with Jesus, he was given a great promise; “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” This man’s response is both practical and poetic. “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” It seems to me, this man had many reasons not to believe. His son, whom he loved, was tormented; this had been going on his whole life. He implies that time and time again, his son was at the point of death, only to be rescued by his father. It seems clear, nothing medically could help him. To make matters worse, he had come to the disciples, and they were no help. It is not difficult to understand why he was filled with unbelief. Love, medicine, and religion were of no help in overcoming the great obstacle he was facing. It is easy to see why his faith had waned.
I think it is important to note, that in the midst of this dilemma, he also had much reason to believe. He had been hearing of the great things Jesus had done for others. He had heard of the blind, the deaf, the lame, and the possessed, all being transformed by simple faith in Christ. On top of that, he had a promise from God; “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” One of the great lessons from this man’s experience, is while he was being squeezed (on one side by doubt and the other by faith), he chose to act in faith. He made a decision. He would not allow his doubts to keep him from trusting in the promise of Christ. The result, his son was healed. We are much like this man. We have life obstacles that cause our faith to wither. In those times, we are being pressed by doubt on one side, and by the promises of God on the other. In those times we have a choice to believe life or believe Christ.
The great lesson from this man is that with all of his unbelief he chose to believe.
What will you do?
Questions For Mark 9
- What promise does Jesus give to the disciples in verse 1?
- How is that promise fulfilled in the following verses?
- Describe the events atop the mountain.
- I confess I sometimes feel like Peter wanting to stay on the mountaintop. Keep in mind that God used this event in his life and that those intimate experiences with Jesus are designed to make us more useful as we go down the mountains to serve the Lord.
- What great promise is given in verse 23?
- What promises do you need to believe God for today? Take some time to focus on the promises of God rather than the promises of your circumstances.
- The disciples were trying to figure out how to get to the top in Jesus’ kingdom. Who does Jesus say is first in His kingdom?
- In verse 42, what are we warned against?
- Is there any behavior that you are committing that makes it hard for the people in your sphere of influence to be a follower of Jesus?
- What does Jesus compare us to in verse 49? Why do you think He makes the comparison?