Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode ELEVEN of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Mark 9 today, and our focus is on prayer and spiritual warfare. Thank you for joining us for Bible 2021! We are a daily podcast, where we will dig into ten minutes of truth from the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day. Welcome to new listeners from Al Jizah, Egypt, Queensland, Australia, Parts Unknown, France, Estuaire Province, Gabon, Santa Barbara, California and Joplin Missouri. Thanks for listening! Our focus this year is on DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our new web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more – Click here for our reading plan!
Today’s chapter is another long one, but also another one that is absolutely full of great teaching, and great incidences in the life of Jesus. In one episode, the disciples argue about which one of them is the absolute greatest and notice that Jesus doesn’t rebuke them for desiring to be great, but rather gives them the key to greatness, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35) We also have the Transfiguration, Jesus predicting His death and resurrection, and a strong warning about the dangers of sin, and the finality of Hell. All of those could be an episode or more on their own, but our focus today is on the episode in Jesus’ life that happens right after the Transfiguration. A man brings his demonized son to Jesus’ disciples, but they can do nothing at all with the demon…and when Jesus finds out about it, He is clearly frustrated with His disciples lack of faith – clearly He believes they SHOULD have been able to help this boy and deliver Him from the demon. Let’s read the passage and see what happens.
Jesus is able deliver the boy…but the disciples don’t understand HOW, so Jesus tells them, in what is our verse of the day, Mark 9:29, “29 And he told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.” How fascinating, considering we don’t see Jesus praying here. Jesus merely commands the demon, and it comes out. So, what does Jesus mean here about prayer, and why did He rebuke the disciples for their lack of faith, and not their lack of prayer?
I believe that Jesus is not suggesting that the disciples should have quickly prayed and then ordered the demon out, for this is not what He Himself did. I believe that Jesus is saying that a persistent lifestyle of prayer will lead to spiritual victories in situations like this. When we consider Jesus’ teaching on perseverance in prayer in Luke 18, and the fact that this teaching on prayer ends with a question, “When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?” We see that there is a connection between persistent prayer and faith. Charles Spurgeon points us to this need for more than a mere moment of prayer here:
God does not give us everything in answer to one prayer. It may be necessary for some blessings that the prayer should be reiterated—that it should deepen—that it should grow into an aching. It may be even necessary, in order that a blessing should come, that fasting should be used with prayer in order to show the intense eagerness and earnestness of the petitioner.
C. H. Spurgeon, “‘The Oil of Joy for Mourning,’” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 59 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1913), 84.
I believe Spurgeon is capturing the gist of what Jesus is teaching the disciples – do not expect to have overcoming spiritual victory by simply uttering one prayer…overcoming spiritual victory comes with a faithful lifestyle of persisting and continuous prayer – see Luke 18:1-8 for more!
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for January: Mark 1:15 15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
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