MARK 9:19: “He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” (NKJV)
OBSERVATION: What can I do when my faith is fading? The words spoken by Jesus in this verse shake me to the core. A frantic father had brought his only son to Jesus to be healed. The boy was possessed by a spirit that brought on great convulsions and constantly tried to destroy him. The parallel verses in Matthew translate this as “epileptic”, but this is an improper use of the term. The medical condition of epilepsy was not even known then, and the literal translation meant “moonstruck”, or as other versions have translated it, “lunatic”. The destructive actions that were induced by this demonic spirit were out of control. And to make it worse, the father had brought this boy to Jesus’ disciples and they had not been able to heal him.
When Jesus came on the scene there was mayhem. A crowd, including some scribes, was gathered around the disciples and the boy. No doubt there were those who were gloating that the disciples had failed in their attempt to pray for and heal the boy. And others simply did not believe. Then there was the father who was desperate and cried out to Jesus – “…but if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” When Jesus looked upon this crowd, when He saw the great need of the boy, when He sensed the unbelief and doubt that permeated the air, He cried – “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you?” But then, in His love and compassion Jesus said – “Bring him to Me.”
Jesus then looked to the father and spoke words of faith and hope. He said – “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” It is important to pause here. When Jesus came upon this crowd something had happened that left a vacuum of faith. They had gone from being faith filled to being faith-less. Defeat and doubt permeated the air. The father was about ready to give up. And just as he reached out with his last ember of faith Jesus breathed upon this little ember with His Word! When the father heard this he cried out – “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”
“LORD I BELIEVE, HELP MY UNBELIEF!”
What powerful words! What honest words! What a sincere and needed request! How did Jesus respond to this cry? Did He rebuke the man? Did He say – “Come back to me when your faith is adequate?” NO – Jesus healed his son! Jesus responded to this heartfelt cry for help and faith. The book of Hebrews tells us that we serve a compassionate and understanding High Priest, Jesus Christ our Lord.
- “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16 NKJV)
Jesus knows our frame, our condition. He knows we are but “dust” (Psalm 103:14) He understands our struggles and He invites us to come boldly to His throne of grace so that we might obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. In essence Jesus was saying to the desperate father – “Don’t give up!” If you persevere in faith – all things are possible to those who believe!
THE ONLY WAY THAT WE LOSE IS IF WE FAIL TO COME TO HIS THRONE, IF WE CEASE ASKING, KNOCKING, AND SEEKING!
This was the condition of the crowd. They had given up. They had stopped believing. This is why Jesus later told His disciples that this type of demonic spirit only comes out by prayer and fasting. Our victory only comes when we maintain a position of humility and faith at the throne of God!
Lord, this morning forgive me for the many times I have been like this crowd filled with unbelief and defeat. Turn my eyes once again to Your promise, to Your faithfulness, and to Your love. You understand my struggles, and even my unbelief. You call me during these times to come to You boldly in prayer – to boldly run to Your Throne! It is there that I find Your truth, that my faith is restored, and I receive the grace and help I need to persevere!
In Jesus Name!