Today you should read: Mark 9:1-29
“Look James! It’s Moses and Elijah!” said John.
“Wow!” exclaimed James. “What should we do, Peter?”
“Quick! Let’s build some tents for them! They’ll really like that.” Peter replied.
Even the sharpest of the disciples had no idea what to do here. The transfiguration of Jesus and the appearance of two incredible heroes of the faith – Elijah and Moses – had them utterly befuddled. Building tents for angelic beings? Probably not the best move, although they did get the show of a lifetime.
Up until this point, the disciples still didn’t quite understand the purpose and plan of the Messiah. They, like most of the Jews, expected a major political king (which will be the case after the second coming), yet they missed the point of Isaiah 53’s Suffering Servant. This is why verse 10 tells us that they did not comprehend the words of Jesus when he spoke of “rising from the dead.” But they would learn this all too well in a short period of time.
Mark then moves on to describe the healing of a demon-possessed boy. The account explains that the disciples were called upon to cast out the demon but were unable to do so. In verse 19, Jesus calls out the people for their lack of faith. But who is He referring to -the disciples or the townspeople? I believe the answer is both. Why?
First, Jesus addresses the father of the boy. He rebukes him for lacking belief, which the father admits to, and asks Jesus to help his faith (v.21-25). Secondly, Jesus subtly gives His disciples a faith check by telling them that they couldn’t cast out this demon without prayer (v.29). In other words, had they had the faith and the appropriate mentality, they could have done it. Prayer is the faith-excersizing vehicle that strengthens believers. It’s the acknowledgment that God is all-powerful, capable, and strong and that we humans are weak and impotent. They needed prayer. They needed faith.
Food for thought:
1) Can you identify with the disciples in either of these stories?
2) Is your prayer life vigorous and intense? Or is it anemic and frail?
3) What “demons” are lingering in your life because of a lack of faith and prayer?
Posted by: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor