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                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                 Jesus Heals A Deaf-Mute Boy (9:14-29)


1. Coming down from the mount of transfiguration with His three
   a. Jesus finds His other disciples embroiled in controversy - Mk 9:14
   b. Surrounded by a multitude, disputing with scribes - ibid.

2. The controversy apparently involved a failed attempt to heal a
   deaf-mute boy...
   a. Who from childhood had been prone to seizures
   b. Whose father desperately wanted him healed
   c. Whom the disciples of Jesus had not been able to heal

[The account of this miracle is one of most detailed in the gospels.
From it we can learn valuable lessons, but must also be careful not to
misapply what is said.  Let's start by examining...]


      1. Jesus finds His disciples embroiled in controversy - Mk 9:14-16
      2. It appears related to their inability to heal a man's deaf-mute
         son - Mk 9:17-18,25
      3. Jesus chides His disciples for their lack of faith - Mk 9:19
      4. As the boy is brought to Jesus, he has a spirit-induced seizure
         - Mk 9:20
      5. The father describes how this has happened often since
         childhood - Mk 9:21-22
      6. The father begs for compassion if Jesus can help - Mk 9:22
      -- A chaotic scene, the disciples' frustration and father's
         emotions much in evidence

      1. Jesus responds to the plea of the father - Mk 9:23-24
         a. If the father can believe, all things are possible
         b. The father professes faith, begs for more faith
      2. As the crowd draws closer, Jesus heals the deaf-mute boy - Mk
         a. The demon cast out with a great convulsion, leaving the boy
         b. Jesus takes the boy by the hand, lifting him up, and the boy
      3. Jesus privately informs the disciples as to the reason for
         their failure - Mk 9:28-29
         a. Jesus explains the need for prayer in a case like this
         b. Many manuscripts add the need for fasting as well
      -- The incident ends with a quiet teaching opportunity for His

[The record of this miracle provides insight as to the role of faith,
prayer, and even fasting.  But we must be careful in how we understand
what Jesus is teaching.  With this in mind, we consider...]


   A. CAVEATS...
      1. Avoid misapplication
         a. It can be tempting to take Jesus' words in isolation
         b. Especially "all things are possible to him who believes"
         c. Which some have taken literally, without exception
         d. Giving many people false hope, destroying faith in the
      2. Consider context
         a. All things are possible, but must be within God's will - 1Jn
            1) E.g., Jesus in the garden - Mk 14:35-36
            2) E.g., Paul with his thorn in the flesh - 2Co 12:7-9
            3) As one brother put it:  "All things are possible, but
               they must be on the menu"
         b. Some things are not possible, when asked improperly
            1) For selfish and sinful reasons - Jm 4:3
            2) While not keeping God's commandments - 1Jn 3:22
      -- Jesus' words presume God's permission and our obedience

      1. The importance of faith
         a. Faith cannot be underestimated - He 11:6; Mt 8:13; 9:22,29
         b. Such faith grows through the Word of God - Ro 10:17
         c. It certainly does not hurt to pray:  "Lord, I believe; help
            my unbelief!" - Mk 9:24
         d. But responses to faith are always subservient to God's will
            (cf. Paul's thorn)
      2. The power of prayer
         a. Our faith, while important, is not always sufficient
         b. God must be involved, for only with Him are all things
            possible - Lk 1:37
         c. Thus at time faith must be joined with prayer - e.g., Jm
         d. But also, responses to prayer are subservient to God's will
            - 1Jn 5:14
      3. The role of fasting
         a. Fasting was often joined with prayer to incur God's favor
            - Ezr 8:21-23
         b. Fasting served to humble oneself before God - Psa 35:13;
         c. Such humility is more likely to incur God's favor - Isa
            57:15; 66:1-2
         d. Thus people often served God with fasting and prayer - Lk
            2:36-37; Ac 13:2-3
      -- Faith, prayer, and fasting working together can accomplish more
         if it be God's will


1. Many have misconstrued the words of Jesus...
   a. "If you believe, you will receive" (gospel of health and wealth)
   b. "If you can conceive it, you can achieve it" (power of positive

2. But they fail to take Jesus' words in the overall context of the
   a. What we seek must be in keeping with the Lord's will
   b. What we seek must not be for selfish purposes

3. On the other hand, many do not fully appreciate...
   a. The importance of faith in God
   b. The power of prayer to God
   c. The role of fasting in service to God

With the aid of the Word of God, we can better know what is in keeping
with His will.  Then we can better make use of our faith, prayer, and
fasting as we seek to do His will...
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