InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Read | Mark 9:17-29
1And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” 2Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; 3and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. 4Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. 5Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6For he did not know what to answer; for they became terrified. 7Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!” 8All at once they looked around and saw no one with them anymore, except Jesus alone. 9As they were coming down from the mountain, He gave them orders not to relate to anyone what they had seen, until the Son of Man rose from the dead. 10They seized upon that statement, discussing with one another what rising from the dead meant. 11They asked Him, saying, “Why is it that the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 12And He said to them, “Elijah does first come and restore all things. And yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13“But I say to you that Elijah has indeed come, and they did to him whatever they wished, just as it is written of him.”
All Things Possible
14When they came back to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. 15Immediately, when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed and began running up to greet Him. 16And He asked them, “What are you discussing with them?” 17And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; 18and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.” 19And 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!” 20They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. 21And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22“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!” 23And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” 24Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” 25When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” 26After 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. 28When He came into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we not drive it out?” 29And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”
Death and Resurrection Foretold
30From there they went out and began to go through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know about it. 31For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.” 32But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him. 33They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. 35Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, 37“Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”
38John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” 39But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. 40“For he who is not against us is for us. 41“For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward. 42“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea. 43“If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, 44[where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] 45“If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell, 46[where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] 47“If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, 48where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED. 49“For everyone will be salted with fire. 50“Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
James 1:5 tells us that God offers wisdom to anyone who asks. However, he goes on to warn that if we doubt, our prayers will not be answered. But at times, don’t all of us struggle with some degree of doubt?
Let’s explore some reasons for our disbelief. First, faith usually defies human reasoning. For example, when we are in financial difficulty, logic says to save every penny, whereas God says He will bless the generous giver. Second, feelings of fear, inadequacy, or guilt can interfere with trusting biblical truth. Third, we often focus on the circumstance rather than our heavenly Father. He is at work, yet we fail to notice His hand. And finally, uncertainty about God’s will can lead us to doubt Him.
Wavering faith has severe consequences: missed blessings, lack of peace and joy, and a heart that is easily thrown off course when difficulty arises. How, then, can we avoid faltering in our faith?
In Mark 9, a man pleaded with Jesus to rebuke the spirit possessing his son. When Christ replied that “all things are possible to him who believes,” the father said, “I do believe; help my unbelief” (vv. 23-24). And Jesus granted his request. Like that man, we can ask the Lord to increase our faith. But we should also spend time reading God’s Word and meditating on His promises.
From the story in Luke, we know that doubt is common—and that God is patient and understanding. Faith comes from Him. So when you are at a crossroads and the right response requires faith, or when you pray and notice doubt, ask Him to help you believe.