Summary: God responds to faith. Watch where you place your faith. The emphasis is not on the size of faith but the placement of your faith. Watch the motivation of your heart.
Mark 9:14-29 Having the Faith of a Mustard Seed 4 Mar 2012 1743
Read also Matthew’s account: Matt 17:14-21
A young boy was tormented by a demon. He could not control himself, throwing himself into the fire or water to kill himself.
• His father was at a lost what to do, and brought him to the disciples of Jesus.
• It was one of the most embarrassing situations for the disciples. They could not deliver the boy.
Jesus was not around. He was up on the high mountain with Peter, James and John.
• The nine other disciples were left to fend for themselves without their Master.
• They tried but nothing happened. It was not for the lack of trying.
This problem wasn’t entirely new to them. They had encounter demon-possessed victims early with Jesus – in Mark 1 and 5.
• In fact, Jesus had earlier called them together and “gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” (Matt 10:1)
• But they failed this time. A large crowd had already gathered.
Finally Jesus came, and with authority, commanded the deaf and mute spirit to leave.
• The son was delivered. The father was grateful. Everyone was happy, except the disciples. They were disturbed.
• After Jesus had gone indoors, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
What was the heart of the problem?
• Jesus did not say, “You did not say the right words.” The problem wasn’t about a method or formula.
• Jesus did not say, “You did not try long enough.” The problem wasn’t about hard work or trying harder.
• Jesus did not say, “You need certain skill or experience.”
• And definitely not because “the demons were too powerful.” Not a question of divine authority or power.
Jesus put His finger on just one thing – Matt 17:20 “Because you have so little faith.”
• His first reaction to the problem was: “O unbelieving generation!”
• His respond to the father was: “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
(1) God Responds to FAITH
God always respond to faith – we see that with Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Martha (raising of Lazarus), Jairus…
Heb 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
• God wants us to trust Him in order to experience Him. If we want to see God’s works, we need to have faith.
• It has little to do with how bad the situation was. It has to do with what’s going on in our hearts.
• What is happening INSIDE of you is more important than what is happening on the OUTSIDE. Watch your heart when you are facing a crisis. Cling on to God in faith.
The degree of difficulty, the complexities, and even the length of the problem – “from childhood he has been like that” – does not really matter to Jesus.
• All of these external factors are immaterial to Jesus.
The father says, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” (Mark 9:22)
• Jesus: “If you can?” That’s the wrong start. “You are half-believing that some things I cannot or will not.”
• Jesus corrected him: “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (9:23)
• The man responded, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” (9:24)
That’s what we should be concerned about! Not the problem but our faith in God.
• Pray, “Lord, help me overcome my unbelief. I’m beginning to doubt you, please help me overcome that!”
• That’s our concern - we want to believe God. We choose not to doubt God. We don’t entertain the slightest unbelief.
Don’t focus on the problem. Don’t focus on the “impossibilities”. Don’t focus on the externals. Watch your heart.
• JESUS: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (Jn 14:1)
(2) Watch Where You PLACE Your Faith
Jesus’ explanation to the disciples is enlightening - Matt 17:19-20
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"
20 He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
If the problem is this “so little faith”, then the logical solution is to have BIG faith.
• I expected this: “You failed because you have little faith; if only you have a BIG faith, then you will succeed!”
• Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain…”
• It’s almost like saying: “Your faith is small. Actually, that’s enough. If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, that will do!”