Help My Unbelief! | Mark 9

Help My Unbelief ! By Rev. Shine P. Thomas

Mark 9:14-29

We pray, but do we really believe?

A woman lived in a small house built at the foot of a tall mountain. The mountain obstructed her view and made the inside of the house dark. She had read the Bible about faith moving mountains. Taking it literally, one night she prayed that the Lord would remove the mountain. The next morning the mountain was still there. “Oh!” she replied, “Just as I expected!” We pray, but do we really believe?

“Unbelief separates our circumstances between us and God, but faith puts God between us and our circumstances.” F. B. Meyer

“Unbelief is at the bottom of all our staggerings at God’s promises.” Matthew Henry.

We waver because of unbelief. We fear because of unbelief and we doubt because of unbelief. The result is that we miss what God can do for us because of our unbelief.

Brief Background

In Mark 9 Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up to a high mountain. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white. There appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

Most of us want to live on the excitement of the highs in our lives. Our faith is high when we are on the mountain experience. Our faith is not the kind that thrives on the valleys of assaults of unkind people, problems of life, or the demonic attacks.

As they were coming down the mountain, they saw a large crowd around the other disciples and the teachers of the law were arguing with them. Jesus confronted them: 

Mark 9:16 

16“What are you arguing with them about?”he asked.

But before they could answer, a man from the multitude said: 

Mark 9:17-18 

17A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

Jesus’ disciples had failed; they could not drive out the evil spirit. Jesus had called them to preach, to have authority and drive out demons. Here they cannot exercise their authority over the evil demonic powers because of unbelief. See the voice of God’s sorrow over the disciple’s unbelief. 

Mark 9:19 

19“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.”

1. Unbelief Has No Power

Many people are living in unbelief like the disciples. We are praying for the situation to change but deep down we are struggling with unbelief. We have no spiritual power or victory when we doubt. Unbelief cannot please God.

Hebrews 3:12 

12See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you have a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 

Satan is pleased when we do not believe God and cannot exercise authority in the spiritual realm.

Jesus was concerned that his disciples could not drive out the demon. On one side the Pharisees are mocking Jesus’ task of training his disciples and on the other side the disciples were not achieving what Jesus called them to be. The How did Jesus meet the moment of despair and failure of his disciples? 

Mark 9:19 

19Bring the boy to me. When he could not deal with the ultimate situation of training and equipping the disciples, Jesus dealt with the immediate situation.

Do not lose your faith even when your dreams are not materializing. When we cannot deal with the ultimate situation, that dream is taking too long, that prayer is not being answered; the key is to deal with the present situation. Do what you can today. Do what you can now. Jesus said, “I do not know when my disciples are going to change or learn but at this moment I can help the boy.”

2. Satan Comes to Destroy

John 10:10 

10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

1 Peter 5:8 

8Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Demons and Satan are real. What they control they will surely destroy. Even what they cannot control they want to destroy. Here is an insight into the nature of Satan and his demons. See the condition of the boy suffering with the demonic attack.

Mark 9:17-18 

17Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouthgnashes his teeth and becomes rigid.

Mark 9:20-22 

20When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21Jesus asked the boy’s father,“How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22“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.”

Mark 9:26 

26The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.

Work of Satan in this man

a. Robbed him of his speech.

b. Seizes him – Takes control.

b. Throws him to the ground.

c. Foams at the mouth.

d. Gnashes his teeth.

e. Becomes rigid.

f. Threw the boy into convulsion.

g. Fell to the ground and rolled around.

h. Thrown him into fire or water.

g. Tired to kill him.

h. Shrieked. An expression of pain, to scream, cry, or roar.

i. The boy looked like dead.

The devil wants to possess someone’s body and destroy them. The devil wanted to destroy this boy. Do you remember the demon possessed man at Gadara? The evil spirit wanted to destroy him but when Jesus cast them out, the devil went into the pigs, and all 2000 of them were drowned in the lake.

The devil is bent upon destruction. Given a chance the devil wants to destroy a child of God but I tell you not schemes of the devil will work against a child of God. We are protected, blessed, delivered by Jesus Christ. We are brought by the blood of Jesus. Amen!

3. Power Comes When There is Faith

Mark 9:20-22 

20So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21Jesus asked the boy’s father,“How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22“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.”

Here is a clear statement of the power of faith. The father said to Jesus: 

Mark 9:22b 

22 If you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.

Can you imagine a person saying to God, “If you can”? Surely God can do anything He wants to do. God is not bound by any power. He made everything out of nothing. It’s not a question whether God can do this. See what Jesus states back to this man.

Mark 9:23

23“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Jesus said, “The issue is not whether I can do anything or not, but the real issue is in you—will you believe? I can do everything but do you believe?”

God is speaking to us today. He is powerful to change any situation and he is willing to do it, but do you have the faith to receive your miracle today?

See the immediate response of this man to Jesus’ statement. 

Mark 9:24 

24Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  

This father is an honest man, isn’t it? He is very transparent about his unbelief. He recognizes his faith and yet also his weakness of doubt and pleads for help, “Help me overcome my unbelief.”

What you see here first is the unbelief in the disciples who were with Jesus; secondly we find unbelief in an ordinary follower of Jesus Christ. Truly, we all struggle with unbelief from time-to-time isn’t it?

This incident is an encouragement to all of us. Sometimes when our faith is not perfect, when we waiver God can help us overcome our unbelief. Many of you are praying for your situation to change but in your mind you are set with your condition today. Now, today ask him to help you overcome your unbelief. He wants to change your situation today.

This man believed. Power comes when there is faith. Jesus went ahead and did the miracle. 

Mark 9:25-27 

25When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,”he said,“I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.”27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

God works when there is faith. Power comes when there is faith. Faith comes when we overcome our unbelief.

4. Key to Overcoming Unbelief – Time with God

If you look at this miracle in its context; Jesus, Peter, James and John have been on the Mount of Transfiguration. They have been in the presence of God. Now they have come back down into the valley. Here are the attacks of Satan, the oppression of the demonic, and the challenges of the hostile Pharisees. Jesus’ disciples had failed to deal with this demon. 

Mark 9:28-29 

28After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” (Lord we are walking with you, we are saved but why couldn’t we cast out this demon?) 29He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting and fasting.

Time with God is the key to overcome our unbelief

There is a great lesson here. God has saved us. He has given us good families, children, job, blessings of life. God has given many of us good ministry but there would be valley experiences challenging the blessings of God. And what can deliver us in those times is our intimacy with God; our knowledge of who God is, our time with God.

Time with God can help us overcome our unbelief. Without God we lose our vitality in Christian life, without God we lose our power in day-to-day living but with God we have the power for any breakthrough in our life.

Jesus here is giving us the key to overcome our unbelief and have power in our lives.

a. Prayer.

b. Fasting.

In our Christian life there will be challenges, battles but time with God – Prayer and fasting is the key to overcome our unbelief.

The disciples had not done this. They had not taken time to seek God about this situation or taken time in fasting and prayer, so they were ineffective.

In the NT, we have been given another tool to overcome our unbelief and have faith in God.

c. Word of God. 

Romans 10:17 

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

The disciples had only the OT scripture. Today, we have the entire Bible to spend time with God. So the key to overcome our unbelief is time with God – Prayer, fasting, and study of the word of God.

He is Ready, Are You Willing?

Let’s commit our situations into God’s hands today. He is willing and able to give you the breakthrough right now. There is nothing that is impossible by God but will you come to God by faith in Him? Ask him to help overcome your unbelief. Amen!

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