Can Jesus Help?

Mark 9:24  And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.


While Christ was away with Peter, James, and John, a man had come to his disciples with a great problem.  His child was possessed with a devil from the time of his early childhood.  It was a most sad case to the father (It must be noted it was a father who brought his child to Jesus, not a mother.  Ephesians 6:4 states, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  It is the responsibility of the father, not the mother to raise the children.  The mother is the help meet [help that is suitable]) who was powerless to help his son.  He testified of his son’s condition saying, “And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him.”  He watched helplessly as the evil spirit tormented and tortured his son, not knowing what would become of him.  Finally, having heard the fame of Jesus of Nazareth, he brought his child seeking help.

There may be parents that have watched their children get more and more involved in sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, rebellion, hate, declaring their parents don’t understand. You may be a person who have gotten more and more involved in wickedness, and know you are nearer to destruction than you have ever been.  You may have tried counselors, so forth, and every other earthly program, but nothing has done any good.

People must come to Jesus Christ if they are going to receive his help.  Notice the following scriptures where Jesus helped those people who came to him.  Understand, you may know Jesus can help, but you will receive no help at all if you do not come to him, asking for help.  You might know Jesus can save, but you will not be saved if you do not come to him, asking forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

1.      Matthew 8:2 – “And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”  This leper broke the law of Moses by coming to the multitude to come to Jesus.  Jesus said nothing at all about his breaking the law of Moses, but healed him.

2.      Matthew 8:5,6 – “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.”  If the centurion had not come to Christ, his servant would not have been healed.

3.      Matthew 8:16 – “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:”  These would not have been healed if “they” had not brought them to Jesus.

4.      Matthew 9:27-29 – “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us. 28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. 29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.” 

5.      Matthew 20:29-30 – “And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. 30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.”  [1]

He petitioned the Lord’s disciples to help him.  Moreover, try as they might, they could not rid the boy of the spirit.  The disciples had at one time rejoiced saying, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” (Luke 10:17).  Now they were rendered impotent and could not prevail over this spirit.  This must have plunged the poor man into despair.  Of course, the scribes found perfect opportunity in this man’s misfortunes.  They took interest in the disciple’s failure and sought occasion to win some points.  They created quite a stir among the people.  This man’s condition was worse now than before.

Men cannot help without Jesus.  My uncle Crawford told me AA was a good program, but it won’t work without Jesus Christ.

Jesus comes on the scene seeing the clamor and desires to know what the situation is.  Notice that the disciples are not quick to confess their trouble.  (The world is not quick to confess the failure of all their programs, plans and ideas.  They, instead of confessing they don’t know what to do to help, devise more and more plans that continue to fail.)  Having lost sight of Jesus for a short time, their fervor had cooled.  Their own lack of faith became apparent.  Christ told them, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”  The boy’s father spreads the matter before the Lord.  Expressing his own hopelessness he says, “I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.”  Whatever reasons others had for being in the crowd, his agenda was clear.  He was not hesitant to speak up when he thought that he might find mercy and grace to help in his time of need.  Jesus sought the boy saying, “Bring him unto me.”  “And they brought him unto him.”  Years of grief, worry, and dismay had all led up to this moment.

It is hard to say what the man expected at this point.  Whatever his expectation, I believe he was surprised by the Lord’s words to him.  “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23).  The words of Christ were a sharp sword that pierced him to his heart.  He felt them a stinging rebuke, as is apparent in our text, for he (straightway – or immediately, it didn’t take him long to realize his helplessness and the sufficiency of Christ.) “cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”  (The torment to the child brought the parent to Jesus.  Evil circumstances often bring people to Christ, who would otherwise never come.)  Had he ever considered his unbelief as a contributor to his misery?  Had he ever realized that his lack of faith had bound him in a prison of despair?  Had he ever seen his own handicap by weak faith?  He was driven to tearful repentance confessing his unbelief to Christ.  Let us now briefly consider some possible points of unbelief with this man.

He may have thought his situation was too hard and beyond help.  No one had suffered on the order of his sufferings.  Long years he had battled to no avail and his son only grew worse.  I imagine he had pursued many avenues of assistance.  Perhaps he had brought the child to the Synagogue (religion won’t help, but Jesus will.) many times seeking help of the rulers.  Perhaps he had even enlisted the expertise of physicians.  Perhaps he had prayed and come to no improvement.  He had exhausted family and friends looking for aid.  He could have thought the sum of these things pronounced hopelessness upon his case.  Now the fame of miracles and triumph in similar cases had introduced a small hope.

On the other hand, his despair may have passed to presumption.  He had sought help at the hands of the disciples.  He may have become over-confident thinking that there was no need to bother Jesus with his problems.  His fellow man could supply the help he desired.  The disciples could try another approach that had escaped him to this point.  He was distressed when this last hope failed.

In all these things, we see a consistency of unbelief.  All of his thoughts turn inward.  His focus is on his own insufficiency and inability.  He cries up his awful circumstance and laments his uselessness.  All of his statements involve “if.”  If only he were stronger.  If only he were wiser.  However, for all this, he had never come so honestly before the Lord and aired his complaint.  He labored.  He was heavy-laden.  Why had he not come to the Lord?  Yet in an act of divine mercy, “When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.  And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.  But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.” (Mark 9:25-27).  His burden was lifted.

We too must pray this prayer of repentance, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”  Whether we face physical afflictions, temptations and trials, or a call to a greater field of service, we must confess our unbelief to the Lord and seek His help in overcoming.  “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (I John 5:4).  Unbelief is debilitating.  When we focus on our own weakness, we are trapped and are the same as the man with one talent that buried it in the napkin.  If we believe the promises of God, then we will focus upon the Lord Jesus Christ.  “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psa. 37:4-5).  Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phi. 4:13).  Let us look to the Lord and resolve to do as Asa of old who prayed, “LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.” (II Chr. 2:14).  Let us seek to exalt and glorify Jesus Christ with our lives and lean wholly upon Him.  I believe then we will accomplish much in the cause of His kingdom.


Your Servant For Jesus’ Sake,

Jeff Short

I am the pastor of the Indore Baptist Church in Indore, WV.  I write a devotional each week and send it to anyone that wishes to receive it.  If you do not wish to receive this devotion, send me an email letting me know you want to be removed from the list.  You may forward this devotion, un-revised, to anyone you wish.  You may also add an address to the list by emailing me the address to be included.  May the riches of God’s blessings rest upon you.

[1] The paragraph before the five scriptures and the five scriptures were added by WWR 12/15/02