A father brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus (Mk. 9:17). He told Jesus he had taken his son to the disciples, but they could not cast the demon out (Mk. 9:18). Thus, the father asked Jesus, “if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” (Mk. 9:22). What was the response Jesus gave the man? ““If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mk. 9:23). Mark 9:24 says, “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
We need help with our faith. We need deeper faith. The disciples later privately asked Jesus why they could not cast out the demon from the boy (Mk. 9:28). The twelve had been given the miraculous ability to do such in the limited commission (Mt. 10:8). Jesus highlighted the key on this occasion: “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mk. 9:29). Prayer and fasting, when done with the right motives, are practices that increase our faith (1 Cor. 7:5). Thus, even the disciples needed more faith; their failure to cast out this demon was evidence of such. Matthew’s account records these words of Jesus in response to their question: “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Mt. 17:20, 21).
Today, we do not have the miraculous abilities that the apostles had in the first century. However, in any age what matters to God is not our talents, knowledge, personality, or popularity. God uses people who live by faith. Hebrews 11 reiterates this truth time and again. “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain…” (v. 4). “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death…” (v. 5). “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household…” (Heb. 11:7). On and on the roll call of faith goes.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Substance means foundation. Faith is the foundation of our hopes in spiritual things. Evidence is from a Greek word which means conviction. Faith is conviction of the unseen. God is unseen (Jn. 1:18; 1 Jn. 4:12). Our home in heaven is unseen (Jn. 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:1-5). None of us have ever seen Jesus with our physical eyes revealed in great glory from heaven (1 Pet. 1:7, 8). Yet, those of faith live with the conviction of these unseen realities (2 Cor. 4:18; 5:7). One comes to have faith in these things by hearing the word of God, as Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” God has told in His Word, the Bible, about Himself, His Son, and about heaven. Do you need help with your faith? We all do. Hear God’s word and meditate upon it with prayer and fasting and the Lord with increase your faith (Lk. 17:5).