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Friday, February 2, 2018

2018.02.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 9:14-29

Questions for Littles: What did Jesus see, when He came to His disciples (v14)? How did the people respond when they saw Jesus (v15)? What did Jesus ask the scribes (v16)? Who answers, and how (v17-18)? What does Jesus call that entire generation in response (v19)? What did the spirit do when they brought the boy to Jesus (v20)? What did Jesus ask (v21a)? What did the father answer (v21b-22)? What did he not seem sure that Jesus could do? What does Jesus tell the father in v23? How does the father respond in v24? Whom did Jesus rebuke in v25? What happened in v26? How do the people respond? But how does Jesus respond in v27? What do the disciples ask in v28? And what does Jesus say in v29? 
In the Gospel reading this week, we run into a problem that is not so rare, even today. There are people failing to believe in Jesus because His followers don’t seem to have special powers of their own.

While it is true that Jesus would later give them particular “signs of an apostle” by His Holy Spirit, apparently the people thought that the disciples’ inability to cast out the demon meant that Jesus was somehow gone. Notice that they are “greatly amazed” to see Him in v15. And notice in v18 that the man had come with full expectation that the disciples could help. Even the disciples thought they should have been able to do it (v28).

Sometimes, we are tempted to think this way too. We look around the church, and maybe we see a bunch of unimpressive people. Sometimes, in fact, they leave exactly the wrong impression upon us. There are people still today who see that and say, “well, Jesus must not really exist; or, at least, He must not be a Savior worth having.”

But by this time in Mark’s gospel, we’re noticing a theme. Jesus saves by going to the cross. Jesus tells us that we have to take up our own cross. Even when He says, “all things are possible to Him who believes” in v23, He makes it plain that this all-things-possible is not some kind of power that He gives us, but something that goes along with a life that is trusting Him.

“This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Depending upon Jesus and denying ourselves. That’s the Christian life! Notice that Jesus didn’t pray and fast; He just commanded.
In the end, there were two people in that family who were deaf and mute. The father needed Jesus’s help as much as the son did. He needed Jesus’s help to open his ears with the understanding of faith, and to open his mouth with expressions of faith.

We need that too, if we’re going to live a life of depending upon Jesus and denying ourselves. Let us learn to cry out to Him, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!”
In what situation in your life, do you need Jesus to give you the faith to trust that the Lord is doing and will do something wonderful for your good and His glory?
Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or HB379 “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

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