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13. A HALF-HEARTED BELIEVER (Mark.9:14-29)

BACKGROUND: A person with an evil spirit is often called possessed. This is something different from having a mental disease, epilepsy etc. An evil spirit can never take possession of a person who believes in Jesus and is baptized, because the Holy Spirit is already dwelling in his heart. According to Luke, the boy in this text was the only child of his parents (Luke 9:38).
  1. Imagine what the everyday life of this father was like since his son became possessed by an evil spirit (vs.17-18, 20-22). (Consider the relationship between the parents, with neighbors, with God; thoughts about future; attempts to heal the boy, etc.)
    • Compare the life of the boy with that of his peers.
  2. What was perhaps the most difficult thing for the father in the situation described in verses 14-18? What about the son?
  3. Whom did Jesus refer to when speaking of the unbelieving generation that he found so hard to put up with (vs.19)?
    • Why was it so hard for Jesus to stand the unbelief of the people in this situation particularly?
  4. Why does the father include himself also in his cry for help: "Take pity on us and help us?"
  5. In verse 23 Jesus seems to demand unwavering faith from the father. Why did he do that?
    • How would you feel if someone demanded a perfect faith from you when you already were distressed?
  6. What did this father believe and what did he doubt while crying out the words in verse 24?
    • What did you believe and what do you doubt when you cried for help from Jesus for the problems of your loved ones?
  7. Did this cry for help prove that the father already had a saving faith or not? Give your reasons.
    • When do you think the father became a believer in Jesus? Discuss various possibilities.
  8. Why did Jesus help this family, although neither the father nor the son had an unwavering faith?
    • By whose faith did this miracle happen?
    • How much faith is needed in order that Jesus can help your loved ones in their sufferings?
  9. It is probable that the father thought his son had died when he was lying lifeless on the ground (vs.26). Why did he have to experience that excruciating moment before Jesus helped him? (What would the father have failed to learn if he had been helped by Jesus immediately?)
    • Why does Jesus often allow us to end up in a desperate situation before he interferes? (If he had helped you immediately, what would you have failed to learn?)
  10. "Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet." Put in this sentence the name of the person you are worried about. What does verse 27 say to you when you read it like that?

GLAD TIDINGS: Even when evil people and evil spirits tortured Jesus, he still believed in the power and love of his Heavenly Father with an unwavering faith. Because of his perfect faith, we also can receive help from God for ourselves and our loved ones, in spite of our doubt.

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