Scripture: Mark 9:14 When (Jesus, Peter, James, and John) came to the other disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. 16 Jesus asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak… I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.” 19 He answered them, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you?…” 21 Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood…but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” 26 After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand.
Observation: Several interesting elements here, but I’ll only mention two. First, Jesus asked the disciples in v.16 what was going on. Yet v.17 tells us that someone from the crowd answered him, not one of his disciples. Why? I’m thinking there was a long pause between Jesus asking the question and waiting for an answer. Why no immediate response from his disciples? Because they were ashamed. A man came to them for help for his son, but they couldn’t heal him. Fail.
Secondly, the father says in v.22 “…but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us…”. Jesus immediately picked up on this “if” business in v.23, to which the man responds “I believe; help my unbelief!”. Another fail. Where so many of the people seeking help from Jesus were supremely confident his ability to do so, this man had doubts.
So there was doubt on the part of the ones trying to help a man and his son (Jesus’ disciples) and on the part of the one being helped (the father). Doubt and more doubt. I can most certainly relate.
Application: Some days I have great faith and some days I have little. It’s true. When things are going well, and prayers are being answered, I believe for the impossible. When I’m struggling, and God seems distant, I find it hard to believe in anything. Hence my great appreciation for the father’s cry in v.23 “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Prayer: Lord, give us grace to overcome our disbelief. Amen.