#4: Everything is Possible

This one is from July 2, 2014:


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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13 Responses to #4: Everything is Possible

  1. Wally Fry says:

    I agree isn’t it amazing how commentators do that? Why can’t they just say…wellllll this might be it but I’m really not sure!

    I’ve been so fortunate since my salvation. I don’t think I’ve really been tested, at least not severely. I don’t necessarily want to find out how I would react, but I do wonder.

    Again, thanks for your posts, they are always fun to read.

  2. John says:

    I think I have discovered something that is impossible. I think it is impossible to get anybody from the Right Wing political ideology of The United States to work seriously across the aisles with Liberals – – – and to be fair …. vice versa too.

  3. Very good article, Don. I have wonder the same things.

  4. The words of the Lord Jesus as discussed in this post, to me are among the most powerful messages he left humanity. With faith all things are possible. Of course, we need to be realistic. Jesus is referring to those things which are within the realm of humanity. He was not talking of those things which are beyond humans but of those things that are within human ability.

  5. “I am amazed by how much some people know sometimes about texts that don’t provide the information.” Amen to this, Don. The thing I truly appreciate and respect about your blog is that you don’t presume to put words in Jesus’ mouth. (Or Paul’s, for that matter.) Too many others do that and claim it to be doctrine. Thank you for presenting us with the gospel in love and humility.

  6. It is crucial that everyone ask themselves why they believe what they believe.

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