Summary: This sermon focuses on Jesus’ response (9:29) to the disciples. In it, we learn that we don’t have all the answers, it’s not about formulas it’s about relationships, and that God wants to work his power through us (even in spite of us.)

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“Looking for Unanswerable Answers”

“What Do You Want Me To Do For You?” – Part Three

Mark 9:2-29

February 22, 2004

Purpose: God can still work in the unanswerable answer – those answers that seem to be illusive to us, but totally understandable to Him. (Focused on Mark 9:29). He works when we realize that we don’t have all the answers, when we stop looking for formulas and start strengthening our relationship and when we are open to let His power work through us,

Introduction –

A lot of things have been unanswered lately…

…war and unrest (Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and around the globe)

…the debate over homosexual marriage (courts, politicians, religious leaders)

…gas prices sky high


…uproar over The Passion movie from all sides

In these situations and more, we look to God and ask what are we to do with all of this…but yet we often receive no clear cut answer.

Unanswerable answers are those answers that seem to be illusive to us, but totally understandable to God.

And when we stumble into one of these unanswerable answers, it’s then we need to remember three things:

1) We don’t have all the answers.

2) It’s not about formulas its about relationships.

3) God’s power works through us.

These three are illustrated in our Scripture passage today.

I. We don’t have all the answers.

Can you imagine being the disciples?

They had seen Jesus do miracles before. In previous times, they had been sent out to heal the sick and set the captive free. The knew they could do this. They fully expected it to happen. They wanted to heal the boy. They thought they had the faith. But they couldn’t get the job done.

Peter, James, and John had just come off the mountain with Jesus. Can you imagine the Spiritual high that they were on. They had just seen Elijah. They had just see Moses. They had just heard the voice of God.

So when this father came with his son to be healed, the disciples knew that this was nothing new nor anything impossible. That had seen it done. Some of them may have already been apart of a healing, so they just stepped forward to make it happen…but it didn’t.

In fact, it didn’t so bad, that a crowd began to form. In the midst of their inability to get the job done, with all the embarrassment and shame that came along with it, the scribes showed up and began to pick a fight…can you hear them?

“We told you it couldn’t be done.”

“Can’t perform the trick when the magician is away, can you?”

But then, just in the nick of time, Jesus walked into the midst of crowd and takes over.

And although Scripture doesn’t tell us, I’m sure there was a collective sigh of relief when Jesus said, “Bring him to me.”

I would be willing to guess that we’ve all experienced defeat and frustration in our Christian walk. We may have labored with the best of them, fought evil against the worst of them, prayed with the rest.

We all know what it’s like to still have growing to do.


Jeanne Olsen, a mother of five from Illinois, took her daughter Kirsten, age 9, out for a mother-daughter breakfast. During their meal, Jeanne courageously asked her daughter, "How do you think I could be a better mom?"

Kirsten thought for a moment. "Well, you do yell a lot. I know you’ve been praying about that, but it isn’t really working yet." [Mother’s Unanswered Prayer for Self-Improvement, Citation: Kevin A. Miller, Wheaton, Illinois]

We may be gifted, prepared, or ordained, but the truth is we will never know as much as God knows until we get there and worship Christ in all his glory.

The point here is that we don’t have the answers 100% of the time.

And the more we take for granted, the more we assume that things are going to be the way they’ve always been, the more we assume that we have all the right answers and no one else, the more we set ourselves up for a fall.

The disciples learned, and so can we.

II. We need to stop looking for formulas and start strengthening our relationship.

When the disciples realized what had happened, they pulled Jesus aside and asked for the right formula.

Weren’t they given adequate power?

When Jesus first chose the twelve and sent them out to the world, He didn’t send them empty handed because in Matthew 10:1 it says; “And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal ALL manner of sickness and ALL manner of disease.”....... And in Luke 10:19 Jesus tells them; “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.....”

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