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The Current Conflict

Mark 9:14-29 records one of the most insightful passages in the NT regarding the Christian life. When Jesus came down from the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James and John, he found the scribes “questioning” [arguing, debating] with his other nine disciples over their inability to cast out a demon. I'm sure the scribes were asking: “If your Master is who he claims to be, how is it his name is insufficient to get rid of this demon and cure this kid?”

A conflict was raging between the scribes and the disciples. Another conflict was raging between a satanic force (demon) and the young boy the demon had possessed from his youth. It was a precursor to, a foreshadowing of, the conflict raging in America today. 

There’s a word play in these verses that’s instructive. In 9:19, Jesus made reference to a “faithless [unbelieving] generation.” The Greek for “generation” is γενεά (genea), meaning “fathered, that which is related to birth.” In 9:29, behind closed doors, Jesus made reference to the demon as “this kind” when explaining to his disciples why they were unable to cast him out. The Greek for “kind” is γένος (genos), meaning “kindred, offspring.” The words “generation” and “kind” come from the same root. Jesus taught there was a certain kind of believer (the UNBELIEVING) and a certain kind of demon (the UNRELENTING). 

Isn’t that an oxymoron of sorts? How is it possible to have an unbelieving believer? But According to Jesus, the unbelieving believer is one who is NOT praying and fasting (9:29). Therefore Jesus establishes “prayer and fasting” as vital components of the NORMAL CHRISTAIN LIFE! 

In the conflict raging in America today, we see the POWERS of darkness flourishing against a POWERLESS church, an UNRELENTING evil challenging an UNBELIEVING church that names the name of Christ without exhibiting the power of his name. And when the unrelenting comes face-to-face with the unbelieving, the unrelenting always wins. 

Jesus expressed his frustration with these two questions: “How long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?” (9:19). Do you think he might be asking the same of his church today? These two questions are somewhat rhetorical, but have a silver lining. Just how long IS Jesus willing to “suffer” [tolerate, put up with, endure] the unbelieving and powerless state of his people? The context provides the answer: AS LONG AS IT TAKES! 

When Jesus CORRECTS his own, he always does so with COMPASSION! No matter how low the charge on our spiritual batteries, Jesus stands ready to EMPOWER the believing believer, whose desire for his Lord is GREATER than his necessary food (see Job 23:12). His LONGSUFFERING will ALWAYS outlast our STUMBLING! So, amidst the conflict that rages, it’s high time for the church to experience a fresh dose of NORMAL!


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