Clinging to Jesus!
Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost Trinity Lutheran Church
13 September 2015 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
St. Mark 9:14-29
Well, the father’s story is your story. You have a son. You love him very much. You always want what is best for him. However, the boy is severely afflicted. Demon possessed. The evil spirit takes 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 stiff as a piece of lumber.
You desperately want someone to help your son. You’re in a group full of people. A large crowd. Teachers of the Old Testament Bible. And nine disciples – followers of a preacher named Jesus. Nine because Peter, James and John have been on Transfiguration Mountain.
Well, in such a desperate predicament, where would you look for all your good? From whom would you expect all good? To whom would you go when you need help? Who would be your refuge in all this nasty distress? Who would you trust and believe in from the heart in these Satanic attacks? On to whom do you hang? Cling? Totally mooch off of to deliver your tormented son from Satan’s hellish grip?
That’s what the hullabaloo seems to be about. You, the nine 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.
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 for that matter to trust in Jesus. As if Jesus is not equipped to handle your problems. So the demon convulses your son’s body ferociously. Uncontrollably his body shakes and rolls on the ground. His mouth frenziedly foams.
Jesus asks you: “How long has the boy been like this.” “Since childhood,” you answer. “From time to time the spirit has thrown him into fire or water trying to kill him.”
The very presence of Jesus leads you to begin to trust in Him. To look to Him for all your good. Even at this troublesome time. So you pray! “Jesus, if you can do anything, take pity on us, have compassion on us and help us.”
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.
With such a promise you 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! What good use of that small part of your body: the tongue! A tongue that “boasts” greatly in Jesus! (James 3:5)! 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 / or the evil one.”
Well, I’d better get back to the text. After the “I do believe – help me overcome my unbelief” prayer, — prayer that clings to Jesus — Jesus 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. 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 sure as shootin’ there he stands! It’s over. 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 “EVERYTHING” of salvation Jesus has given 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. His salvific care. The Good Friday care of your Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. You are baptized into His Good Friday death that counts for your salvation. He gives you His Good Friday Body and Blood to eat and drink in Holy Communion with His divine and mighty promise that all your sin is forgiven.
You 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! And praying to Him! In the Name of Jesus.