Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I Believe, Lord, Help My Unbelief! Mark 9:16-27

Mark 9:16-27

After Jesus and the disciples spent the night on the top of the mountain of transfiguration, they returned to earth and found the rest of the disciples embroiled in a heated argument with several scribes. On the mountain, three of the disciples beheld Jesus in all of his divine glory and were moved to worship. But after the mountain-top experience was over, it was time to reenter normal life.

As Jesus and the three gather with the other disciples, we find them in an awkward and even embarrassing situation. A father brought his demonized child to Jesus, and when he saw only the disciples he asked them to pray for the healing of his child. The disciples prayed, nothing happened, and the scribes pounced. In the middle of the fracas the father and his boy were pushed aside until Jesus arrived.

The ensuing conversation is only recorded in Mark’s gospel, and though Jesus does heal the boy, the heart of this story is not the healing. What is said between Jesus and the father is a beautiful and profound insight into the person of Jesus Christ.

The father goes into great detail describing to Jesus not only the failure of the disciples, but the depth of his child’s condition. He is deaf and mute, he has seizures and fits of paralysis, the demon attempts to take his life by drowning or burning, and this has been happening since he was a little child. It is hard to imagine the pain and desperation of this father as he holds his child in his arms before Jesus. At the end of the description he asks for Jesus’ help.

“But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” (vs. 22)

Jesus tells him that anything is possible to those who believe. The question at hand is not whether Jesus is able to heal the boy, but whether the father thinks he is able to. The father’s response is priceless.

“I believe; help my unbelief!” (vs. 24)

He has just enough faith to bring his child to Jesus, but he is intensely aware that there is still a lot of doubt and disbelief in him. So, how does Jesus respond to a broken father who can only express a broken faith? He heals his son!

Jesus does not tell him to go away and return when he has more of life and faith put together; he does not turn away a man who does not have it all figured out. As Isaiah put it in 42:3, he did not bruise a broken reed, he did not snuff out a smoldering wick.

This is the Jesus I have fallen in love with. This is a Jesus who takes the small seed of faith buried in a pile of hurt and doubt, and wraps the father and son in his arms. Don’t let any of your doubt or pain keep you from Jesus. He will not turn you away because you are far from perfect; on the contrary, he wants you no matter your doubt or disbelief.

36 comments:

meaelaine said...

Dearest Pastor Phil,
I read your (I believe,help my unbelief)post. And for the second time today,I cryd. You can not possibly know just how much your words*Gods words,commforted me.
I am branspankin new to this sight.And thats the second time today that *THAT has happen also.
My name is Elaine,and I am going to tell you a bit about me and what happen today...if you will bear with me...I will try to be as short as possible.
I am a 51 year old,mother,wife and christian.I raised three beautiful children on my own.I've had a hard life and considered my children my ultimate blessing besides my ever inner faith. last MAY/07 I was married.I had been living alone with my youngest daughter and grandson for 6+ years,at a low income housing village.*My past tennency record is Impecable*MY husband had a D.W.I.On his criminal record and because of this,they denied his occupancy. In short-they told me if I got married,I would lose my appartment. I faught it in court,they won.For the 1st time in my life I was homeless! no money,no where to go. My daughter and grandson had to move in with other family.My husband had to stay in C.T. so he could keep his medical coverage+doctors.*He has bad diabeties needs surgery). And I had to move in with my older daughter,no where else to go.MY Entire family has been dissplaced by this.It has all taken so much out of me that HOPELEssness and helplessness does not even begin to cover my state of being. I have even entertained thoughts of ending my life to be done with the pain.My FAITH...wont allow it.
O.K. so yesterday I was online-(the yahoo,questions section.) and someone asked,,,"How do you know if your faith-religion etc..is of God and not Satan?" Honest!..this was the question. So I replied with a rather simple answer.and said "you will know by their fruits.(Went into more detail..but you get the idea.) So this morning I recieved a message saying....."*you claim to be a messenger and minister...by whos authority? when and where.? And what FRUIT are you talking about*"? It took me aback,for one..I never claimed to be a messenger or minister,Ever...But I had talked of Fruits,so I replied to person useing Jesus words to explain the FRUITS,He mentions in the Bible. Person writes back.appologizes for getting me confused with someone else,but said they would like to know more about the (Fruits) ha, ha, I know this sounds silly,but its true. SO,not 10 minutes later I get my mail and guess whats on the front of my magazine! this....
"WHEN GODS SPIRIT IS AT WORK IN A PERSON,AMAZING THINGS HAPPEN.THE PERSON'S WHOLE LIFE BLOSSOMS AND BEARS BEAUTIFUL *FRUIT. AND THE MOST WONDERFUL *FRUIT OF ALL IS THE GIVING AND RECEIVING OF TRUE LOVE."***Good News magazine***
Awesome hun?! that was the 1st tears today.just out of sheer humbleness.
Now,fast forward to now10:30pm
I was feeling sickly and low and confused & helpless & hopeless
you name it."What is God doing to me? Why.? You know.I was outside looking up at the sky wondering ...does He even hear me? Then I came on to your sight,quite by accident*or not* and read your..." I believe,help my unbelief!" and cryd the 2nd time today.
Both came at a time when I SO SO SO badly needed Him. And He was there,He did hear,He is listening.
THANK YOU SO MUCH,paster Phil.
I know this sight now,and will definately return. Thank you also for reading this.
Blessings, Elaine

Rusty said...

Phil,

I'm enjoying your posts here (infrequent as they may be).

I was wondering, though, why you chose to use the phrase "fallen in love with" in reference to your relationship with Jesus. It's coincidental in that I was going to write a post on the topic of how some evangelicals express their being followers of Christ in terms of having "fallen in love with" or being "madly in love with" Jesus. The phenomenon even finds its way into worship songs (e.g., "Jesus, I'm so in love with you").

I'm wondering why we use phrases that are normally understood to refer to romantic love as descriptive of our relationship with Jesus?

Ben Jones said...

@ Phil,

"I'm wondering why we use phrases that are normally understood to refer to romantic love as descriptive of our relationship with Jesus?"

This did not start with our generation. There are coutnless times in the Bible that make these same references(ie....the whole book of Songs of Solomon). You can also find these types of parallels in the New Testament when the prophets were teaching about marriage. Lastly,and probably the most obvious example, would be that the church is referred to as the "Bride of Christ". I'm trying not to make this comment too long so I on't expound on any of these but hopefully they will ease your mind a little bit about people using these types of references. Peace and blessings.

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