Everything is Possible

MV614 021-LR

Mark 9:14-29

Parallel Texts:  Matthew 17:14-20; Luke 9:37-43

When Jesus, Peter, James and John returned to the other disciples after the transfiguration, there was a dispute in progress; the teachers of the Law were arguing with the disciples. The people in the crowd see Jesus and come running to Him. “What are you arguing about” He asks, but before they could answer a man steps up and begs Jesus to help his son who was possessed by an impure spirit. Mark does not record for us what the argument was about.

The man goes into a fair amount of detail regarding his poor son’s plight, and tells Jesus that His disciples on the scene were unable to drive the demon out of the boy, and asks Jesus to do it. Jesus’ answer is puzzling:

“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

Mark 9:19

Mark doesn’t elaborate on what Jesus was referring to here. When the spirit saw Jesus, it went wild within the boy.

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Mark 9:21-24

The demon is going crazy in the boy, people are watching, nobody has answered his previous question, and yet Jesus seems as cool as a cucumber. That poor father tells Jesus of the horrors of the boy’s life, can you imagine what that must have been like? Then the man says something perfectly reasonable, but Jesus doesn’t seem to think so. “If you can do something.” Nobody else had been able, but Jesus isn’t just anybody else!

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Everything is possible? Really? Do you believe that? Why am I so often told so much about what  can’t be done?

Well the man made a snap decision: He was going to believe; he even realized that he might need help moving forward, but he was going to start believing right then and there.

Jesus drove out the demon right then and there.

As I read this, I see that we have come face-to-face with one of those moments when we need to ask ourselves if we really believe that what we believe is really real.

Well, do we?

The disciples ask Jesus why they had been unable to drive this spirit out of the boy, and Jesus seems to give an almost nonchalant answer: “This kind can come out only by prayer.” I’ve read commentaries in which the author professes to know exactly what Jesus meant by that, but the text does not say. I am amazed by how much some people know sometimes about texts that don’t provide the information.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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25 Responses to Everything is Possible

  1. paulfg says:

    Don, as well as that comment – the question which stops me every time is “How long has been like this?” Pandemonium, chaos, noise, urgency, all of that – and a calm question. Followed by that “really” moment, and then that phrase. Left wondering if the “monologues” are really transcripts. The upside is I keep wondering, re-reading, wondering, asking. And that is even more special.

    • Don Merritt says:

      That’s a really great observation! It’s always been like this, only I have to wonder what our excuse is. Those guys back then couldn’t be sure of who Jesus was, but we have seen the end of the story; what’s up with us?

  2. Patricia Ann says:

    Some of us just don’t get it…..yet!

  3. Tom says:

    I always looked at the comment of Jesus on how long shall I put up with you. I see it as His stating something like “have you not seen who I and what I can do? You can do these things also.” Jesus had to have been disappointed at times with their lack of belief. May we never have that question asked of us today

  4. telitru says:

    No matter how much faith we think we have, we always need to strive and pray for an increase in faith. The faith we have must also be respected and used to do good for others. When I say respected, I mean we cannot doubt saying it is doubting ourselves, as we have to believe the wisdom and gifts of God are not wrongly assigned to us.

  5. lukeeaster22 says:

    Don, I am missing something here. In the last paragraph, you observe, “I’ve read commentaries in which the author professes to know exactly what Jesus meant by that, but the text does not say. I am amazed by how much some people know sometimes about texts that don’t provide the information.” “By what Jesus meant by that” has to do with the apparent need for prayer (or, in some translations, “prayer and fasting”. It seems straightforward to me. What am I missing?

    • Don Merritt says:

      “This kind can come out only by prayer.” (and fasting)

      Prayer for what? Wisdom, strength, discernment, power… or for Jesus to come along and do it for me? Jesus isn’t very explicit here…

  6. Zestwriter says:

    One thing for sure, Jesus has all power, thanks for these blessed scriptures and good explanations. God Bless

  7. Hi Don! Amen to that last line.

  8. Kingsley the bard says:

    Thank for the lov eon my blog. I’ve followed you 🙂

  9. Cris says:

    Perhaps the prayer and fasting (KJV) refers to the preparation before confronting the evil spirit. Prayer, for the Spirit of God to be with you, and fasting, to leave the things of the world behind you, or something to that effect.

  10. trutherator says:

    Mark 9:29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

    Desperate prayer, especially with fasting, releases the believer to concentrate on the Lord and His Word and faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

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