#DailyDevotion Help My Unbelief!
Mark 9:21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
First we should note the merciful kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here is a desperate father who has brought his demon possessed boy to Jesus to have Jesus cast the boy out. Well he first had brought him to the disciples and they could not do it. Never the less he brings the boy directly to Jesus in hopes that maybe he could do something. That maybe comes out in a big “If you can do anything.”
Now Jesus had just reproved the crowd for their faithlessness and in particular his disciples. He actually says something like, “How much longer must I put up with you people!” Not very Christlike of the Christ in our modern thinking, but what do we know. Now the father expresses that same faithlessless with “If you can.” Well Jesus isn’t particularly easy on the guy anymore than the rest. “If you can?! Anything is possible for the one who believes.” So now the father gets a dressing down for his lack of faith.
Now the father cries out, “I believe, help my unbelief!” To be fair, the father brought the boy to Jesus to be healed. There is some sort of faith there so I think the father is being honest. Perhaps his faith has been weakened by the disciples inability to cast out the demon. If Jesus could do something then one at that time would think his disciples could as well and vice versa. Yet the father is desperate for his son. When Jesus says anything is possible for the one who believes that encourages the father’s faith. It puts a fan to the smoldering spark that remains. There is hope for there is possibility. The situation isn’t impossible.
Perhaps Jesus’ words also help guide the man to the woman of faith, the mother of the Israelite nation, Sarah. When Sarah laughed about having a baby at her age, the Lord said to her, “Is anything to marvelous for the Lord?” Another way to say that is nothing is impossible with the Lord. Now the situation for the man is not impossible. It is no longer if you can but if you will. Jesus has mercy on the man and his son and cast out the demon.
Now we have this to see not that God has to answer our prayers the way we want them answered if we could just drum up enough faith but that nothing is impossible with God. It is to increase our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen it. For the big thing is to trust that God in Christ Jesus can and will save and deliver us from sin, the devil and death and not to win this football game. We must despair of ourselves and our ability to save ourselves and trust in the infinite mercy and kindness of God in Christ Jesus. Jesus can and did accomplish your salvation. Praise be to God.
Heavenly Father, ever increase in us faith in your Son Jesus Christ that we may always despair of our own efforts to be saved and rather trust in what your Son has accomplished for us by his death and resurrection. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.