Mark begins his Gospel with the ministry of John the Baptist. After Jesus is baptized by John he moves into his public ministry.
We understand that when Jesus came as a sinless Savior entering a sinful world, all of history changed. We benefit from his example and incomparable service to us.
Help us to appreciate how much he identifies with us by enduring temptations, caring for our needs and ultimately dying so that we might receive eternal life.
Help us to be willing to serve him as our God and Savior, being willing to leave anything and everything behind that stands in the way of complete devotion to our Lord.
Help us also to be willing to serve him right where we are, if that is your will for us.
Give us supernatural insight so as to always be aware of the spiritual battle that is raging around us. We want to continue to further your kingdom and see your word go out to everyone everywhere.
And help us to be devoted to the proclamation of the gospel message, the message that tells us that Jesus Christ our Lord has come. We need to repent and believe in him.
In Christ’s name we pray,
Coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration, this was the scene for Jesus and his disciples (from the ESV).
14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Let’s admit right from the start that rebuking a demon and getting immediate, happy results is no small thing, unless you are Jesus. He did this kind of thing all the time. Most of us, let’s also admit, probably fall into the category of the disciples. They failed.
Sometimes failure just happens. Maybe what we tried was a bad idea. Maybe it wasn’t God’s will. Maybe the failure was in our approach, so we need to go back and try again with a lesson learned. Sometimes we fail due to lack of faith. That was the case here.
Jesus doesn’t attribute all problems to demons nor all failure to too little faith, so neither should we. Sometimes, however, the battle is purely spiritual. The gates of hell are busy in their futile efforts to prevail against the church. Their failure is assured in the long run. Jesus will see to that. In the short run, we have to take a little responsibility.
Let’s willingly engage in the work of spiritual warfare, remembering that we serve a big God who promises victory. And let’s not be hindered by our all-too-usual lack of faith. The strength of the church, the souls of the lost and the advancement of God’s will in the world are dependent, to some extent, on our faithful engagement.
God’s callings are always accompanied by His enabling. He will never call us to do something without also enabling us to do it. Many times the Lord asks us to do something that is impossible. And then, working in us, by His Spirit, He proceeds to do the impossible. The person who receives the most from God’s grace is not the one who has the most forgiven, but the one who is the most transformed.
If you were a soldier out on the battlefield, and your army was under attack, what safety measures would you take to protect yourself? You’d want to be well protected: be covered head to toe with body armor. You would also want some kind of weapons to use in order to fight back and defeat your attackers. The same is true in the spiritual realm in the battle we find ourselves in.