November 6th, 2006
One of the strange things about life is that you often have to believe before you can succeed. If you don’t believe that you can stay on a tightrope, then you probably won’t. If you don’t believe that you will be able to sing or give a speech in public, then you will probably fail. Confidence comes with getting something right again and again, but if your experience is simply one of failure, how can you get the confidence necessary to succeed? In today’s reading, Jesus was asking the boy’s father to have faith in Jesus’s ability to heal, but all that he had seen in the past were failed attempts at healing his son. Can you force yourself to have enough faith?
Mark’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 9
9:1 Jesus said, “I can guarantee that some people standing here will not die until they see the Kingdom of God arrive with power.”
9:2 Six days later Jesus took Peter, James and John with him up a high mountain away from anyone else, and his appearance was changed in front of them. 9:3 His clothing became a brilliant white, brighter than any human could make them. 9:4 Elijah and Moses appeared, and they were talking with Jesus. 9:5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, I’m glad we’re here. We can make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 9:6 He did not know what he was saying, because they were terrified. 9:7 A cloud overshadowed them and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” 9:8 All at once when they looked around they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
9:9 As they were coming down the mountain, he instructed them not to tell anyone what they had seen until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 9:10 They kept this to themselves, wondering what “rising from the dead” meant.
9:11 They asked him, “Why do the religious lawyers say that Elijah must come first?” 9:12 He said, “Elijah does come first and restore all things. Why is it predicted that the Son of Man will suffer greatly and be despised? 9:13 But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did to him whatever they wanted to, just as it was predicted about him.”
9:14 Returning to the disciples, he saw a large crowd around them, and religious lawyers arguing with them. 9:15 As soon as the crowd saw him they looked at him in awe and ran to greet him. 9:16 He asked the religious lawyers, “What are you arguing about?”
9:17 One of the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought to you my son who is possessed by a mute spirit. 9:18 It attacks him and throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and seizes up. I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they couldn’t.” 9:19 He answered, “Unbelieving generation, how long will I stay with you? How long will I put up with you? Bring him to me.”
9:20 They brought him to Jesus, and as soon as the boy saw him the spirit attacked him and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. 9:21 Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” He said, “From childhood. 9:22 Often he has been thrown into fire or into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, please have pity on us and help us.” 9:23 Jesus said, “If you can do anything?! All things are possible for someone who believes.” 9:24 The father of the child at once cried out, “I do believe. Please help me not to doubt!”
9:25 Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly forming. He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying, “You mute and deaf spirit, I order you to come out of him and never enter him again!” 9:26 It cried out and violently convulsed the boy then came out of him. The boy looked so much like he was dead that many people did say, “He’s dead.” 9:27 But Jesus took his hand, and lifted him, and he got up. 9:28 Later inside the house his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we cast it out?” 9:29 He said, “Only prayer can drive this kind out.”
9:30 They went out from there and passed through Galilee. He wanted to remain incognito, 9:31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said, “The Son of Man will be handed over to people who will kill him; and on the third day after he is killed he will rise again.” 9:32 They did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask.
9:33 He arrived at Capernaum and went into a house where he asked them, “What were you arguing about while we were walking?” 9:34 They were silent, because they had been arguing about who was the greatest. 9:35 He sat down and called the twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be last of all, and servant of all.” 9:36 He took a little child, and put the child in the middle of them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 9:37 “Whoever receives one such little child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives not only me but also him who sent me.”
9:38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone who doesn’t follow us casting out demons in your name, and we stopped him, because he wasn’t following us.”
9:39 But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him, because no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able to turn around in a hurry to speak evil of me. 9:40 Whoever is not against us is on our side. 9:41 If someone gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ’s, I can guarantee that person will not go unrewarded. 9:42 Anyone who causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble would be better off being thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around the neck. 9:43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled, rather than going to the unquenchable fire of hell with both hands intact. 9:45 If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than being cast into hell with both feet intact. 9:47 If your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than being thrown with both eyes intact into hell, 9:48 ‘where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 9:49 Everyone will be salted with fire. 9:50 Salt is good, but if salt loses its saltiness, what will you use to make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves and live peacefully with each other.”
Entry Filed under: Trust