Do you often feel like you believe and doubt at the same time?
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Mark 9 (ESV)
1 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you,
there are some
who will not taste death
until they see
the kingdom of God
after it has come with power.”
2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
3 and his clothes became
as no one on earth could bleach them.
4 And there appeared to them
Elijah with Moses,
and they were talking with Jesus.
5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi,
it is good that we are here.
Let us make three tents,
one for you
and one for Moses
and one for Elijah.”
6 For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.
7 And a cloud overshadowed them,
and a voice came out of the cloud,
“This is my beloved Son;
listen to him.”
8 And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw
anyone with them
but Jesus only.
9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them
to tell no one what they had seen,
the Son of Man
had risen from the dead.
they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what this rising from the dead might mean.
11 And they asked him,
“Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?”
12 And he said to them,
to restore all things.
And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should
suffer many things
and be treated with contempt?
13 But I tell you that
Elijah has come,
and they did to him whatever they pleased,
as it is written of him.”
14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them.
15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him,
were greatly amazed
and ran up to him and greeted him.
16 And he asked them,
“What are you arguing about with them?”
17 And someone from the crowd answered him,
“Teacher, I brought my son to you,
for he has a spirit that makes him mute.
18 And whenever it seizes him,
it throws him down,
and he foams
and grinds his teeth
and becomes rigid.
So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.”
19 And he answered them,
“O faithless generation,
how long am I to be with you?
How long am I to bear with you?
Bring him to me.”
20 And they brought the boy to him.
And when the spirit saw him,
immediately it convulsed the boy,
he fell on the ground
and rolled about,
foaming at the mouth.
21 And Jesus asked his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
And he said, “From childhood.
22 And it has often cast him
and into water,
to destroy him.
But if you can do anything,
have compassion on us
and help us.”
23 And Jesus said to him,
“ ‘If you can’!
All things are possible
for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said,
help my unbelief!”
25 And when Jesus
saw that a crowd came running together,
he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it,
“You mute and deaf spirit,
I command you,
come out of him
and never enter him again.”
26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly,
it came out,
and the boy was like a corpse,
so that most of them said, “He is dead.”
27 But Jesus
took him by the hand
and lifted him up,
and he arose.
28 And when he had entered the house,
his disciples asked him privately,
“Why could we not cast it out?”
29 And he said to them,
“This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee.
And he did not want anyone to know,
31 for he was teaching his disciples,
saying to them, “The Son of Man
is going to be delivered
into the hands of men,
and they will kill him.
And when he is killed,
after three days
he will rise.”
32 But they
did not understand the saying,
and were afraid to ask him.
33 And they came to Capernaum.
And when he was in the house he asked them,
“What were you discussing on the way?”
34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued
with one another
about who was the greatest.
35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them,
“If anyone would be first,
he must be last of all
and servant of all.”
36 And he took a child
and put him in the midst of them,
and taking him in his arms,
he said to them,
one such child
in my name
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but him who sent me.”
38 John said to him,
“Teacher, we saw someone
casting out demons
in your name,
and we tried to stop him,
because he was not following us.”
39 But Jesus said,
“Do not stop him,
for no one who
does a mighty work
in my name
will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me.
40 For the one who
is not against us
is for us.
41 For truly, I say to you,
whoever gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ
will by no means lose his reward.
42 “Whoever causes
one of these little ones
who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
43 And if your hand causes you to sin,
cut it off.
It is better for you to enter life crippled
than with two hands
to go to hell,
to the unquenchable fire.
45 And if your foot causes you to sin,
cut it off.
It is better for you to enter life lame
than with two feet to be thrown into hell.
47 And if your eye causes you to sin,
tear it out.
It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God
with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,
48 ‘where 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 has lost its saltiness,
how will you make it salty again?
Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
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Mark 9 Summary
v2-14 - Jesus leaves no doubt as to His divinity as He's transfigured (literally: metamorphed), and once again, God's booming voice signals His approval of the Son of Man.
v15-29 - Jesus' ultimate mountain top experience comes crashing down as He walks into a massive argument between the crowd and the establishment.
v30-49 - Jesus once again slips away from the crowd and engages in one of His favorite activities: teaching His twelve disciples.
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” - v24
The father's statement is both beautiful, yet it also seems contradictory. Here's what John Calvin wrote about it:
He declares that he believes and yet acknowledges himself to have unbelief. These two statements may appear to contradict each other but there is none of us that does not experience both of them in himself.
As our faith is never perfect, it follows that we are partly unbelievers; but God forgives us, and exercises such patience towards us, as to reckon us believers on account of a small portion of faith.
It is our duty, in the meantime, carefully to shake off the remains of inﬁdelity which adhere to us, to strive against them, and to pray to God to correct them, and, as often as we are engaged in this conﬂict, to ﬂy to Him for aid.
In other words, God looks upon you as a believer, even though your faith may be small. Yet you have a duty to first recognize and then continually strive to 'shake off' your persistent unbelief. The best way for you to do this is to 'fly to Him for aid,' that is, by exercising the Spiritual Disciplines (Bible intake, prayer, times of silent reflection, etc) as consistently and often as possible.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who is pleased with His Son, and with all those who listen to Him (v7)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask the Holy Spirit to help you overcome the areas on unbelief in your life (v24)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: