Summary: God answers prayers; even for faith

Help Thou My Unbelief

by Joe Mack Cherry

Text: Mark 9: 14-29

Theme: Praying for faith

I. Introduction to the Text

A. The Transfiguration

1. Has always been a mystery to me.

2. It is believed that this happened the night prior to the events that took place in

our text.

B. Jesus and His disciples always had a crowd following them for a variety of


1. Some for food as we see in the previous chapter.

2. Some for healing – the Syrophoenician Woman’s daughter.

a. Remember what her plea was when Jesus made the harsh statement?

b. What was the difference between this exorcism and the one in our text?

3. Some came for amusement.

4. Some followed devising evil plans trying to catch our Lord in a mis-statement.

C. An unconventional look at this passage, maybe; but prayer has been a resounding theme here lately.

1. God does hear the prayer of sinners contrary to what the man was told in Jo. 9:31. Also, consider Cornelius, the first Gentile convert.

2. Everyone of us should be able to put ourselves in this father’s position.

II. The Text

A. Read the Text

B. Facts and Observations

1. The amusement does not point to the fact that Jesus had just been transfigured because of the command of Christ to tell no one.

2. Quite obvious that the scribes were wearing on the faith of the disciples.

a. Has this ever happened to you? What causes your faith to wear thin?

b. They did not only doubt themselves, they doubted God’s ability to work in them.

c. Read Jas. 1: 5-8

3. This was not epilepsy though the symptoms imply it; the Gr. word for epilepsy is “moonstruck” hence the term “lunatic”; this was demon possession.

4. Have you ever had the feeling that you were surrounded by inferior people?

a. Jesus was constantly.

b. Thus His human side showed disgust.

5. This man referred to Jesus as a man not as deity.

a. A Roman term for “sir”

b. Did he really believe in Jesus?

c. He had no real understanding of Jesus but he was familiar with His abilities realized “something”. He was desperate.

6. “… but if you can help us?”

a. It is easy to help those who love and appreciate you.

b. This man was driven by the need to have his son made “whole” but showed his doubts about Master’s ability.

c. Some people reach out today to other things in search of help and fulfillment. “Get something if it’s only a monkey to believe in!”

d. “us” the father is pleading for the whole family.

III. Application

A. “Help thou my unbelief” is a valid prayer.

1. Have you ever felt like you’ve done all you can do and nothing changed?

a. I wonder how he felt between the time he met the disciples and the time Jesus healed his son.

b. He seemed to think Jesus was asking him to do something he wasn’t able to do (have faith) so he cried out for it.

c. He saw Jesus rebuke the disciples.

2. God knows our limitations.

3. We admit to our earthly father’s that we have no clue as to what to do about situations and circumstances.

4. Rom. 8: 26-27

5. This is a prayer for strength.

B. I am that man.

1. I may not have a demon possessed child; but I do have my shortcomings and I do worry about the spiritual lives of my wife and children.

2. I have stood and seen others get things that I wanted. I believe the man in this passage had seen others healed.

3. I let worry stand in the way of my better understanding God’s interaction with me, today.

4. Do I believe God can do for me what He has done for others?

5. Do I allow skeptics in this world like the scribes to weaken my faith?

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