Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lent Day 23 - Mark 9:14-29

Who will rescue us? Jesus descends down the mountain to find the other disciples and the scribes in a situation beyond their abilities. A man with a son in need of healing clarifies the issue. His son is thrown into the fire and water by the unclean spirits and is only saved if some one "comes to his aid". His father responds to Jesus' question about having faith asking Jesus to help his unbelief or "come to his aid." A lot of translations read that the man of the son with demons implores Jesus, "If you can do anything take pity on us and help." Jesus responds affirming are possible for those who believe. The man responds by affirming his belief but acknowledging it isn't perfect. In fact, just as the boys is saved only if someone comes to his aid, so the man invokes Jesus to come to his aid. In contrast to his former state of chaos being thrown here and there, he is so still that he is thought to be a corpse.
Who is this story about - the father asking Jesus to help his belief or the healing of his son?
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation as the father? You know you need help beyond yourself, you have faith, but not perfectly and desire someone to come to your aid? What was it like?
What might Jesus have meant by telling his disciples that their inability to cast out the demon was due to prayer? What might this say about the connection between belief and prayer?
Before the disciples experienced some success in ministry (Mark 6:12-13), now things are becoming harder. Why might that be the case? Do you think it is true generally that the Christian life gets messier and harder as we grow closer in our journey as a disciple of Jesus? What might this say about the connection of discipleship and belief?

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