If You Can . . .

Mark 9:14-29 NASB
 “And when they came back to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. Immediately, when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed and began running up to greet Him. And He asked them, “What are you disputing with them?” And one person from the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, because he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes stiff. And I told Your disciples so that they would cast it out, but they could not do it. And He answered them and said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” And they brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, the spirit immediately threw him into convulsions, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.  It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to kill him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” But Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes. Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief! When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again!” And after crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!” But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him, and he got up. When He came into the house, His disciples began asking Him privately, “Why is it that we could not cast it out? And He said to them, This kind cannot come out by anything except prayer.” Emphasis is mine.

This morning I was thinking of how we say we believe, yet we don’t believe, as witnessed to by our interactions with one another and then this above Scripture came to my mind. And when I say “believe” I mean we say we believe, but there is a hesitancy or a disregard to take Jesus at His word. Loving your enemies, praying for those who persecute you, comes to mind (Matthew 5:44).

In particular, the words that came out of the mouth of the father of the boy, struck me. “I do believe; help my unbelief!” When we are talking about our enemies, those who persecute us, that is where all those “buts . . .” seem to come into play. Yes I will love like Jesus loved but . . .

Did you notice that the disciples had tried to heal or deliver this boy and were unsuccessful and they had NOT mentioned it to Jesus? Now it is possible that they hadn’t had an opportunity at that point in time but the reality is that they had not made Jesus aware of their failure. Did Jesus already know, that is quite possible and I would have a tendency to think Jesus knew. The father of the boy must have seen the disciples healing others because he did bring his boy to them. And the father knew who these disciples were associated with, because when the disciples fail, the father does bring the boy directly to Jesus, as per, I believe, his original intent. But Jesus wasn’t there, at that time, but His disciples were. Did you notice that when they failed, the Scribes were arguing with the disciples. Any guesses what they might have been arguing about?

Jesus tells the father to bring his son directly to Him and questions the father on the severity of his condition. And then we are given the dialogue between the father of the boy and Jesus. “But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” But Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief!

Notice the “if”, notice that Jesus notices the “if” and immediately Jesus indicates the reality of those who believe in God, “all things are possible. It’s the father’s reply that came to my mind this morning, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” I find myself there too at times, believing and yet having unbelief, knowing beyond doubt who Jesus is and what He has done but not grasping the reality of all possibilities from our source, the guidance He has already given and the directives He has commanded us to follow. Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute us etc. When we do the exact opposite, is that not also unbelief? When we do not see results from our endeavours, even though we believe, and we argue among ourselves because of our failures or the failures of others, are we not in the same boat as this father with his son was? And do we not continue to miss the directive, that can change this situation by ignoring it and continuing on with our own mindsets?

And then Jesus heals the boy and responds to the disciples question, why they could not heal him. They needed to pray about this type of condition. That means trusting in God over our own endeavours. Did Jesus pray before healing the boy? No He did not or it would have been noted I would think. He already knew the will of His Father and He did what the Father directed Him to do (as always) and healed the boy, because Jesus is God, the Son of God. In Jesus, who without Him, we can do nothing, all things are possible. But the focus is on what God can do and not what we can do.

And we are still arguing.

Something to think about.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!


  1. Someone needs to write a book on “The problem with Faith”. most often “Faith” and having enough of it, is usually associated with the outcome. Prayer and faith seems to have the same problem. When the object of our faith is the outcome, our faith becomes a work which doesn’t work. The first ingredient of Faith is a surrendering to the object of our faith which is God. I am now beyond my pay grade in the realm of faith and it’s discussions. IF I could, I would see my prayers answered with my will to see our handicapped daughter physically healed, Thus I have less than a mustard seed capacity for such a thing and have to hand off the baton to Jesus the author and finisher of my faith….Am I on the wrong track here? Is my bucket of faith bullet ridden?


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