Help My Unbelief- Mark 9:24

In this verse, a man has brought his son to Jesus to be freed from demon possession. He comes first to the disciples, who try but are not able to cast the demon out. The boy is then brought to Jesus. We pick up the story in verse 23, in which Jesus says to the father: “everything is possible for him who believes”. The father then responds with a very familiar and enigmatic statement, saying “I do believe, help my unbelief”. This rather unusual response has long puzzled many. It is generally seen as a cry by the father to Jesus to help him overcome his “doubt”, that his own doubting had somehow prevented his son from being set free. We will examine this incident from a rather different perspective, for I believe it speaks a profound message to the church, especially in this day and age. We begin by examining just what is meant by “believe” in this passage (which will also then help us identify the unbelief), and we will look now at verse 23. Jesus here tells us “everything is possible for him who believes”, but the immediate question to be answered is “believes in what”? Exactly what did this man believe about Jesus? In verse 17, we find that the man refers to Jesus merely as “teacher”, so he apparently believed that Jesus was a teacher who somehow possessed miraculous powers, but did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, God incarnate come to save His people from their sins. Jesus words in verse 23 then become clearer, all is possible for him who believes in who Jesus really is. The father’s response in verse 24 then also begins to make sense, especially if it is broken down into two separate statements. The man first says that I do believe in you as a teacher with miraculous powers, but I do not yet believe in you as Messiah. I do believe in who I’ve come to see you as, but show me who you really are, that I may truly “believe” This is exactly what Jesus does in verse 25, driving out the demon. Does the man now have “faith”, is his doubt removed so that Jesus can now cast out the demon? No, notice, in verse 25, the reason Jesus cast it out, because He “saw a crowd was running to the scene”. It has nothing to do with any change in the father, his new found faith does not “make” Jesus respond. The man is truly seeking to find out who Jesus really is, and the crowd gathering provides Jesus with an opportunity to show the crowd (and the man) who He really is, it provides Him with an opportunity to display His messianic power to “set the captives free” (Isaiah 61:1). In this way Jesus helps him overcome his unbelief, enabling him to see Jesus as He truly is and “believe” in Him. So what does all of this have to do with the church here and now? That much of the present day church should also be crying out “I do believe, help my unbelief”. Much of the church “believes”, but (like the father in this story) not in Jesus as He truly is, not in Jesus as He is presented in the Scripture. Faith is placed not in the biblical Jesus but in the historical Jesus, or the revolutionary Jesus, or the ascended master Jesus, etc. Too many believe in the Jesus who is the Santa Claus in the sky, the genie in the lamp who will grant you three wishes if you rub Him the right way, and not in Jesus as He truly is. My prayer is that all who have placed their faith in any “Jesus” but the real one, the one depicted in the pages of the bible, would also cry out “I do believe, help my unbelief”. I pray that we would all see Jesus as He truly is, that we would trust in the Jesus who is sovereign Lord over and creator of everything, who is Messiah and savior of the world and who calls us into a life of service and obedience to Him. That we would all accept the real Jesus as our Lord, and no longer place our faith in Jesus as a cosmic concierge who exists only to give us goodies, make us healthy and wealthy, and fix all of our problems. May Jesus also somehow show them who He truly is, that they may “overcome their unbelief”.

No Comments Conformed to the Image of Christ  //  Gospels and Acts  //  Growing In Grace  //  Jesus Christ  //  Salvation and Redemption

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