Fennie helps us reflect on Mark 9:14-29
Big truth: Jesus can bring resurrection life!
Key verse: 9:25-27
And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
Reflection: In the last passage Jesus took his disciples to the top of a high mountain, as close to God’s heavenly throne room as they could be. And they saw Jesus in all his dazzling glory. In this passage they come back down the mountain, and are faced with terrifying evil. Jesus demonstrates that in the pain and sorrow of this broken world, he alone is able to bring hope of resurrection life.
Thinking it through:
- Where are we most aware of the pain of “life at the bottom of the mountain” at the moment? How are you being impacted by the presence of evil in this world? Bring these anxieties to God in prayer.
- When do we find it hard to believe that Jesus really does have power to overcome evil? Why do we find it difficult? How do Jesus’ actions encourage us?
There is knowledge that there is long-term hope in the resurrection and judgement when Jesus returns. On another hand, I’m helpless in the present day, watching awful things happen to the people I love. In that sense, the father’s plight is familiar. Jesus’s power is hard to believe in when things remain stagnant or get progressively worse. In such times, God seems to be somewhere between indifferent, arbitrary, and absent. Our perspective down here is completely unlike God’s: the Bible says that to Him, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. We must align ourselves with his ends. In this passage, Jesus reacts to the sickness of faithlessness as at least as deadly as demonic possession. God prioritises our relationship with him so we must do the same. Then, all things are possible.
- How often to you think about your own death? How does knowing Jesus’ power change the way you might think about it?
When the father put his faith in Jesus, Jesus effortlessly raises his son to life. Therefore my own death does not frighten me. Death is not the end and the resurrection is hope for all who have faith.
Working it out:
- How do you usually find yourself responding to “life at the bottom of the mountain”? How does the world around us respond? How might Mark want us to respond, and what steps could you take to put that into practice?
“I believe; help my unbelief!” The world promises that the universe will provide justice sooner rather than later. But God is bigger than that. Justice is certain; we need only wait. As with demonic possession, the cure for faithlessness is only to ask. Jesus will meet us where we are.
Praying it in:
Father, thank you that even in the face of evil and suffering, Jesus has the power to bring resurrection life. Please help us to cling onto that hope in the midst of this broken world. Please help us to respond as somebody who has this hope of resurrection life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.