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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Everything is possible to the one who believes.”—Mark 9:23 (HCSB)
Mark 9 recounts one of the most interesting encounters Jesus had with someone. Let’s examine it: While Jesus was up on a mountain being transfigured, the disciples were approached by a man whose son was possessed by a demon. And despite having cast out demons in the past, they were unable to expel this demon.
So, when Jesus comes down the mountain and discovers what’s happening, He says, “You unbelieving generation! How long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to Me” (Mark 9:19 HCSB). When the child is brought to Him, the father explains what’s been happening and says, “But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mark 9:22 HCSB). I love Jesus’ response: “’If You can’?”
Theologian John Gill wrote, “As the man put an ‘if’ on the power of Christ, Christ puts an ‘if’ on the faith of the man; and tacitly suggests, that power was not wanting in Himself, but faith in him; and should that cure not be performed, it would not be owing to any inability in Him (Jesus), but to his (the man’s) own incredulity.”
Jesus basically tells the man that His power is not the issue, nor is it in question. He had shown time and again that He had the power—that he “could.” The question here was, and is still today, about faith. Jesus can do all things, but can we—will we—believe Him?
There is no evil Jesus cannot overcome, no trial He cannot bring us through, no obstacle He cannot break down for us, no demon He cannot drive out. But will we allow Him to do the work He wants to do? Will we trust Him, His Word (John 5:24), and His promises?
Understand—Jesus isn’t our genie. I’m not going to get a billion dollars just because I ask and believe Jesus can give it to me. I know He can, and I believe He can . . . but I know I don’t need these things, and I know they would distract me from Him, His purposes, and His will for me. It’s not a matter of believing He can do anything on our wish list . . . it’s all about trusting in His power AND His good and perfect will. If it’s His will to heal our sickness or open a door we want to go through, and we trust in Him, His will shall be done. Our job is to seek His will, fully trusting His words are true and promises will be fulfilled.
DIG: Read Mark 9.
DISCOVER: Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this man? How did you react? Were you filled with doubt or faith?
DISPLAY: Pray today and ask the Lord to help you with any unbelief you may have within you.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.