Pastor's Post for Sunday 02.20.2022, on Mark 9:14-29.

To grasp how wide and long and high and deep

Jesus and his three closest disciples (followers) descend the mountain. They have just seen Jesus “transfigured,” shining with a dazzling light, emanating from within his own body. These followers have been given a glimpse of the glory of God in Jesus, God-the-Son. Wow! Yet Jesus descends the mountain only to find the rest of his close followers failing to cast out an evil spirit and embroiled in a public argument with the Jewish religious leaders.

As you read the text, place yourself into the picture Mark paints for us.

What are Peter, James and John seeing, knowing they have just witnessed the glory of God in Jesus? How about the remaining disciples, who have failed to cast out the evil spirt from the tortured boy’s life? What are the disciples and the Jewish religious leaders arguing about? If you were the boy’s father, what would you be thinking and feeling?

Let the visual and emotional cues and signs in the text wash over your imagination and move your heart.

To get to the main theme in this event, look at how Jesus responds to each: the crowd, the Jewish leaders, the disciples and the boy’s father. Upon coming upon the crowd, exasperated, Jesus exclaims in Mark 9:19, “’You unbelieving generation…. how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.’” Further, the disciples fail to cast out the evil spirit even though they had been successful earlier in Mark’s gospel. Then, the father laments to Jesus in Mark 9:22, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

Why do Jesus’ words to the crowd (who are fans not followers) and likely to the disciples (followers who are acting like the “crowd” in this instance) seem to be so urgent?

What do the father’s words indicate about his belief in who Jesus is?

What one theme ties all the groups/people together?

Look the interaction between Jesus and the father. It is key to understanding the whole scene. The father’s response to Jesus contrasts dramatically with the bold and confident response where in Mark 1:40, “A man with leprosy came to him [Jesus] and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’” There, Jesus responds in Mark 1:41b, …. “’I am willing,…. Be clean!’” Here, Jesus responds to the father in Mark 9:23, “If you can’?.... Everything is possible for one who believes.” Pay close attention to the father’s next words to Jesus in Mark 9:24, “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’”

What is Jesus leading, really challenging, the father to see?

What things are “possible” through faith or belief?

What characterizes “one who believes?”

In your own words, write out what the father is saying and then asking of Jesus?

As we get to the conclusion of the account, Jesus tells his close followers in Mark 9:29, “This kind can come out only by prayer.’” Yet, look back on what Jesus does when he casts the evil spirit from the tortured boy’s life. Remember that not only is Jesus fully God, Jesus is also fully human in all ways.

Why do you think Jesus does not follow his own leading?

How would you define the nature or character or description of the “prayer” Jesus is pointing us to?

We are also going to look at Ephesians 3:14-21. Yup, please read this text. It is a prayer to God for a deepening relationship.

What are some things we are asking God to give us?

What is the outcome in your life when God answers this prayer?

See you Sunday!


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