O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Lord, I Believe – Help My Unbelief
Lord, I Believe – Help My Unbelief
Based on Mark 9:14–29
Preached on September 16, 2018
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In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Well, I hope you heard that Gospel reading, because the father’s story is your story. Get ready to put yourself into that mindset, for the Lord has a message for you today. You have a son. You love your son. You always want what is best for him. But there’s a problem. Your boy is severely afflicted. Possessed by an unclean spirit, and this evil spirit has taken away his ability to use his tongue. He can’t speak. Oh, it gets worse. When Satan’s lackey decides to grab and take hold of the boy’s body, he brutally hurls him to the ground in a heap. Like a sack of potatoes. Then the boy’s mouth froths, fizzes and foams. He sharply grinds his teeth to little stumps because they so violently clench, grate, grind and gnash. Finally, the boy’s limp and frazzled body becomes as stiff as a board.
But you’re a good dad. You desperately want someone to help your son. Someone. Anyone. A crowd has gathered around you. It has two sides. The religious scribes, the authorities. And a ragtag group of disciples – followers of a preacher named Jesus.
Well, in such a desperate predicament, where would you look for all your good? To whom would you go when you need help? Who would be your refuge in all this nasty distress? The one you trust, believe in from the heart, hang on, cling and grip onto - to deliver your tormented son from Satan’s hellish grip?
That’s what the hullabaloo seems to be about. You, the disciples, the multitude and the Bible scholars are having an all out verbal brawl about where you should go to get help. Loads and loads of solutions. Everyone has an opinion. As if they’re infallible. Round and round the arguing goes. Where it stops nobody knows. You’re red-faced. Ready to throw a few people to the ground. Foaming at the mouth yourself! Fists clenched. Body stiff as a board.
That’s when Jesus shows up. You all run out to greet Him. He’s overwhelming. He evokes wonder. Whoops! No one even considered going to Him for help! You insisted on His disciples. “I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit,” you boldly said, “but sadly they were of no help.” You obviously didn’t believe Jesus could help your son. You didn’t even pray. Neither did the disciples.
That’s when Jesus explodes. “You unbelieving generation. How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?”
Unbelieving generation? Really? Absolutely. When you or anyone else for that matter won’t depend on Jesus for all your good, you’re at the unbelieving point.
But,what does unbelief need? Unbelief needs … Jesus. A big time dose of Jesus! That’s why He says: “Bring your boy to me.” Jesus will turn you from unbelief to belief. Mistrust to trust — only in Him. As God FOR YOU! After all, that’s exactly who He is. “Bring the boy to me.”
The demonic spirit goes into full-blown antichrist mode when he sees Jesus. Satan’s lackey doesn’t want you or anyone to trust in Jesus. Don’t take your problems to Jesus. At least don’t take me anywhere near Him. So the demon convulses your son’s body to the ground.
“Bring your boy to me.” The very presence of Jesus leads you to begin to trust in Him. To look to Him for all your good. Even at a time like this. So you pray! “Jesus, if you can do anything, take pity on us, have compassion on us and help us.”
And with that - Jesus has brought you to the faith point! The highest worship of Him is to depend on Him. To be given to from Him! Prayer, the life of faith, expects to RECEIVE from Jesus!
“If you can? Everything is possible for one who believes,” Jesus declares. In other words, this is another promise from Jesus to trust Him to take care of you. That He is truly God FOR YOU.
The promise moves you. You want to. Humbly depend on Jesus: “I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief!” Now that’s a prayer! A prayer that hangs on Jesus for everything as you daily fight against your sin and unbelief! And what good use of your tongue! A tongue that “boasts” greatly in Jesus! Now you and the disciples finally understand what Jesus meant when He said: “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Prayer that hangs on to Jesus for help! Like when you pray the Lord’s Prayer and in particular: “Thy Kingdom come … Deliver us from evil / the evil one.”
I believe. Help my unbelief. Well, that’s what we’re going to do this year! In our Church and in our school. When we’re at home, and when we’re in class. When we’re together, and when we’re apart. We’re going to depend on Jesus. It’s Rally Day. We are the crowd that has gathered around Jesus. He has come here - now - in His Word, and is inviting us to open wide our hearts to Him again. To open our mouths in prayer – trusting Him. To hold that He is God FOR US – and is working to increase our faith. I believe. Lord, help my unbelief
What happens with this prayer? Jesus acts. He categorically rebukes the evil spirit: “You deaf and mute spirit I command you to come out of him and never enter him again.” With a whole lot of shrieking and convulsing the spirit must obey the Lord. It comes out, and the boy looks like an in-the-grave-corpse. “He must be dead! The evil spirit must have finally killed him!”
Even if he was dead, not even a stone cold corpse or even a decayed corpse is a match for the Lord. Jesus goes right to him, takes his hand, lifts him to his feet and there he stands! Healed. Restored. Rescued from the bondage of Satan.
“Everything is possible for one who believes.” Believes in Jesus, that is. The “everything” is the “EVERYTHING” that comes with salvation. That only Jesus promises, brings and gives. The victory Jesus has already won for you. In His life, death and resurrection He has delivered you from Satan’s hellish realm and eternal damnation. Satan cannot harm you!
Jesus has brought you into His reign. He rules you – not with force and coercion – but with forgiveness and mercy and His salvific care. His Good Friday care. Where He gave Himself for you – so that you would know He is God for you. Redeemer for you. Rescuer for you. You are baptized into His Good Friday death that counts for your salvation.
Look to Good Friday Jesus, then, for all your good. He is God FOR YOU. For your life and for your salvation. Now and forever.
Happy believing in Him Beautiful Savior! And happy praying. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr