Only by Prayer

Mark 9:14-29

14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

Scriptural context:

They know Who Jesus is.

They don’t know that Jesus is going to die and be raised from the         dead in order to institute a new covenant relationship between     people and God.

They have had incredible experiences preaching, healing and         delivering people from demonic bondage.

They expect to receive glory and honor from people.

They don’t expect to have to suffer as a part of their service to    God.

They will not be able to do what God wants them to do       until they have an understanding of what that is. How will they gain that         understanding?

In the story of the Transfiguration, we see that one way to resolve these issues of misunderstanding, God tells them to     listen to Jesus.

In the story that follows here, I think we are addressing the         same sort of issue from a different perspective. The issues are      resolved by Jesus telling them to pray!

For us personally, we have to set Jesus apart as Lord. He   is our light and life. Listen to Him!

        And we must learn to connect to God’s will through     prayer.

Let’s consider the story.

  1. The Strange Setting

 

  1. Expectations based on previous experience

What have the Apostles been doing?

Have they needed Jesus to do miracles previously?

What authority had Jesus given them?

 

  1. The Jewish leadership

The scene that Jesus, Peter, James and John returns to is    chaotic!

There is an argument about what to do. And the Apostles are not         able to do what the man is asking them to do.

The Jewish leaders aren’t healing the kid either!

 

 

  1. Frustration, Conflict and Confusion

What has worked before is not working.

 

Steps of faith have been taken and there is conflict as a      result. The Apostles are criticized by people who also can’t    deliver the demonized kid.

 

Personal weaknesses are highlighted. (Is this bad?)

 

 

  1. What this is Not

 

  1. If only you were confident enough

        This is a yes or no issue related to faith.

This is an issue that is related to the need for more directed         information. Faith comes from knowing what God wants to   do!

There are a bunch of problems here that need to be dealt with!

 

  1. The problem is those trying to help

        God is the helper.

People are not to blame and then shunned or put down!

Jesus does expect the Apostles to have worked this out. Why?

  1. They have already done what they cannot do.
  2. They need to have their relationship with God improved         so that they don’t need Jesus with them personally to get                    more information.
  3. How long am I gonna have to be with you before you can         manage this kind of issue on your own?

        Unbelieving generation: Both the Jewish leadership and   the   nine Apostles.

 

  1. We are allowed to fail and grow

        Should we minister to people if we are not sure what the     outcome is going to be?

 

  1. What helps people?
  2. What reflects mercy?
  3. What reflects personal responsibility?
  4. Are people demonstrating a commitment to God’s truth?

 

I Corinthians 12: Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

 

What does God want us to do? For sure He wants us to pray!!

 

 

III. Jesus Makes this Work

 

  1. Jesus knows and resolves the problem

Jesus is the one who gave the Apostles the authority to do His     ministry.

Jesus interviews the man to gain more understanding

my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of         speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground.    He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I   asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

 

When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a         convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at    the mouth.

            21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into   fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on     us and help us.”

You deaf and mute spirit. What does this mean?

 

  1. I believe but not perfectly

            22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if      you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

            23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who         believes.”

            24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me         overcome my unbelief!”

 

What is the biggest expression of unbelief? It is to not        ask.

        “Help my unbelief.”

        Everything is possible inside of this context. It is possible for this boy to be healed.

 

  1. Pursue wisdom in prayer

        What does God want to do?

 

Are there times when it would be worse for people to be      delivered?

Matthew 12: 43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

 

What needs to happen in order for this to happen?