Summary: Father of a demon-possessed man
IMMEDIATE FAITH (MARK 9:15-29)
There was a devout Christian mother who was always teaching her daughter lessons of faith and trust, especially telling her that she need never be afraid at any time because God was always near. One summer evening she tucked her little girl in bed after her prayers, put out the light, and went downstairs. Then an electrical storm came rolling out of the west with vivid flashes of lightning and a reverberating roar of thunder. Suddenly there was a simultaneous blinding flash and a deafening crash, and when the echoes died away, the mother heard the little girl calling desperately, "Mama! Mama! Come and get me."
The mother found her trembling, little girl in tears. After she had soothed her somewhat, she thought it might be an opportune time to teach a spiritual lesson, and said, "My little girl, has Mother not taught you many times that you need never be afraid, that God is always near, and nothing can harm you?" The little one put her arms around her mother’s neck and said, "Yes, Mama. I know that God is always near, but when the lightning and the thunder are so awful, I want someone near me that’s got skin on him." (from Illustrations of Bible Truths # 231)
Mark 9 tells the story of a father of a demon-possessd man whose dream for his son’s healing almost grounded to a halt but for his awakening to faith. No one but Jesus could help him. Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and commanded the spirit to come out of the boy. How was his faith awakened? What stirs and not sinks a person’s faith? How does faith surface and shine against the greatest odds and obstacles?
Dare to Invite Yourself in Hope
15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16 "What are you arguing with them about?" he asked. 17 A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not." (Mark 9:15-18)
Sophie Tucker the dog must have nine lives. The grey and black cattle dog fell from a yacht on a rough trip in poor weather. After searching for an hour off the Queensland coastal town of Mackay, the owners regrettably and reluctantly expected the worst, but the dog had a mind of its own.
The determined pet swam six miles of shark-infested waters and landed on an island, where she survived for more than four months on wild goats for food. Before too long, a handful of people living on the island reported seeing a dog running around. When the bodies of several young goats were found, locals contacted wildlife rangers and word of a dog on the island reached the ears of Miss Griffith and her family.
When the owner heard that a dog had been caught in an island, they went to have a look. They waited at the marina as the rangers’ boat came in - and there in the cage was a grey and black dog. Miss Griffiths said, "We called her name and she went crazy - whimpering and banging on the cage, so they let her out and she ran over to us and almost knocked us over with excitement. She was a house dog and look what she’s done, she has swum over five nautical miles, she has managed to live off the land all on her own. We wish she could talk, we truly do."
"The castaway dog who swam SIX miles through shark-infested waters, then survived FOUR months on a desert island," 07th April 2009
The man, first of all, is an uninvited guest who refused to take no or failure for an answer, so he barged in unsolicited and made himself heard. Verse 15 reveals that the multitude is "all the people" - "a great crowd" in Greek, not just any crowd or an average crowd. The only other time a great crowd of this size shows up in Mark is in Mark 4:1-2, where a great crowd forced him to teach the great crowd from a boat. The parallel account in Luke 9:37, too, says the exact thing in Greek, translated as "a large crowd" in English.
The drama heightened and the stakes increased with the debut of the words "overwhelmed" and "ran" (v 15), occurring for the first time in the book. The word "overwhelmed" is exclusive to the book of Mark and no other; it is used three more times in the book to describe Jesus’ "deep distress" in the garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:33) and the women’s "alarm" at the tomb on resurrection day (Mark 16:5, 16:6). It is almost impossible to speak over a large crowd so highly strung. The word "run" occurs two more times only in the Bible, once describing Philip running up to the chariot of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:30).The chance of getting an audience and making an impression with the Lord among the excitable, emotional and edgy crowd was downright bleak and impossible. Numbers (large crowd), emotions (overwhelmed) and activities (running) were in convergence that day.