Monday, May 16, 2016

Only With God

Monday, May 16, 2016
Prayer & Faith
As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John and approached the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them. Immediately on seeing him, the whole crowd was utterly amazed. They ran up to him and greeted him.  He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit. Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.” He said to them in reply, “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.”  They brought the boy to him. And when he saw him, the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions. As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around and foam at the mouth. Then he questioned his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”  He replied, “Since childhood. It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.” Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!” Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out. He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!” But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up. When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, “Why could we not drive the spirit out?” He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.” (Mk 9:14-29)
Ver. 14-16 Jesus had just come down from the mountain of transfiguration into a dispute between some scribes and the disciples. The scribes may have taken advantage of Jesus’ absence and tried to portray the disciples as fools. It seems the topic was casting out devils. Jesus didn’t have time to be dismayed over the disciples’ lack of faith. He tended to the boy.

Ver. 21-23 The boy’s father pleads, “If you can do anything, have compassion…” Jesus responds, “If you can!” Well of course Jesus can. The boy is brought to Jesus. Jesus commands Ver.24 “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!”

The evil spirt departs and everyone is amazed. And the disciples ask, Ver. 27-28 “Why could we not drive the spirit out?” Indeed. Were you thinking of yourself and your ability, or did you pray to God and ask Him to heal the boy and cast out the evil spirit? Ver. 28 “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
Do you have faith enough to trust God’s care for you? Do you pray with certainty? St. Augustine reminds us that there is no faith, when there is no prayer. Why and to whom would you pray, if you did not believe? Look at Jesus’ dismay when the disciples falter. Ver 18 “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? ”

Jesus sees the father’s faith is weak, yet He encourages him. Ver. 22 “Everything is possible to one who has faith.” Who doesn’t want their needs met? Lord, help our unbelief as the father cries, v. 23 “Help my unbelief.”

At first the boy convulsed and seemed dead. But Jesus took the boy’s hand and he sat up. Jesus’ disciples wondered why they couldn’t drive out the evil spirit. Jesus simply explained that prayer is needed. Did the disciples think they were the ones doing the healing? Or God? Jesus invites us, as he did the boy’s father, to pray with faith.
Lord I believe, help me to believe wholeheartedly. Help my unbelief. I ask for more faith; I trust in Your providence. May I have perseverance and bring healing and truth to all I may encounter. Amen.
Lord, help my unbelief.  I trust in You.          

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