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Disciples – An Obstacle to Faith


Mark 9:14-29

Here in this story you find a man who believes in Jesus…and who wants to believe even more in Jesus.

Can you imagine? Those who were “following Jesus”…those who claimed to be His disciples being obstacles to another man’s faith?

Well, let’s study the passage and see. Let’s set the context.

Jesus has been up on the mountain. He has been transfigured.

But Jesus leads them back down the mountain because that is where the people are.

And when they get down the mountain they are met with quite a scene.

And when the crowd sees Jesus they run up to Him and Jesus asks, “What is going on? What are you discussing with the teachers of the Law?”

And a man steps out of the crowd and look what this man says in vs. 17. He says, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and stiffens out. And I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.”

 This is what the argument was about.

But I want you to notice something else here. Notice verse 17 again.

Now look at the end of verse 18.

And I told YOUR disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.”

This man says something here that we need to remember.

And look at this. This man says, “I told YOUR disciples to cast out the spirit, and they could not do it.”

And he gets to where Jesus’ is supposed to be…but Jesus isn’t there.

So this man gets to the disciples.

Did you know that people who are looking for faith see us the same way?

And what we do…or don’t do….

A man comes to a point where he is trying to decide whether or not he should give God a chance in his life…and so he looks at us who claim to be disciples of Christ.

 The story is told about two men who were neighbors…and one day one of the men was in his back yard working…and something didn’t go well, so he let out this loud, long burst of profanity.

Ghandi….was so impressed with Jesus that Jesus’ teaching became the basis for all that he did.

This man saw Jesus’ disciples as representatives of Christ.

Not only that, but just like these disciples gave fuel to the cause of the scribes, we too can be an encouragement to the unbelief that others already have.

Look at verse 18. Jesus expresses his disappointment…not only in the disciples but to everyone. Look what he says: “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to me?”

 And look at what happens when they do. Vs. 20:   And they brought the boy to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he {began} rolling about and foaming {at the mouth.} 21   And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22    “And it has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” 23      And Jesus said to him,”‘ If You can!’ All things are possible to him who believes.” 24           Immediately the boy’s father cried out and {began} saying, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and {the boy} became so much like a corpse that most {of them} said, “He is dead!” 27But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up.

If you are looking for faith…if you are trying to decide whether or not you should give God a chance with your life…

This dad was disappointed by the disciples.

Some times Christians don’t live like they should.

It is He who can save…He who can heal your hurts…and He who can help.

You press through to Jesus…and hold on to Him…regardless of what His disciples around you might do.

Look now at verse 28. Jesus casts out the evil spirit…and he goes into the house…and the disciples ask, “Why couldn’t we drive out this spirit?”

Well, let me tell you.

So why did they fail?

Yes. They had faith.

Look at verse 29.

When Jesus says, “This kind only comes out by prayer”, He doesn’t mean that you got to know some secret little prayer to cast certain demons out.

But let me ask you, when you pray, what does that act of prayer indicate?

These disciples had cast out demons before and what has happened here is they had cast out enough demons that they had forgotten who was actually working through them to defeat those demons.

How many of us have done this same thing?

Preachers are bad about this.

These disciples couldn’t do what they believed they could do because they left God out of it.

Let’s close with verse 19 again.

“And He answered them and said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!”

This is what Jesus said about these people.

For some of you, if you are trying to decide whether or not to give God a chance…I hope that you will do what this dad did here in this passage.