When the Power Is Not There


  • In the text today we see a family.
    • Demon possessed
    • Since a young child
    • Tried to kill him
    • Tied his tongue and blocked his hearing
    • Imagine what that did to the parents
      • Constantly having to be “on”
      • Watching him closely 
      • Never allowing him to just be a boy playing in the lake
        • Or sitting around the fire
        • The boy likely wore the scars of being thrown and cut and cast down by this evil spirit over the years
  • Demon wanted to destroy the boy, what evil spirits do, roaring lion
    • John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
    • In our passage today, we will see Jesus bring life to this situation.
      • Today we are mainly going to focus on this account from the disciples point of view


Mark 9:14-29

  • Jesus tone is different than the compassionate, sheep without a shepherd Jesus
    • Faithless, how long am I to be with you and bear you
      • Could it be Jesus knew His time was short and His disciples needed to grow up?
      • Could it be He was frustrated because they weren’t able to do it?
      • Could it be He knew the root of it was their prayerlessness?
    • Rhetorical, because Jesus bears with us long, but it doesn’t mean He doesn’t get frustrated or disappointed with His children, our God has emotions
      • Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever,  because he delights in steadfast love.


(disciples point of view)

    • Disciples were without power that they thought they had
  • Verse 18
      • Curious cus they went on a demon casting mission (Mark 6:7, 12-13
    • What changed?
      • Could it be that they were no longer operating in the strength of the Lord?
      • Could it be that they were becoming prideful and forgot who’s power actually does the work? (later this chapter they argue about who among them is the greatest…smh, as if they have anything to do with their own greatness in the kingdom of God)


Verse 28, and when He had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “why could we not cast it out?”

      • This is not much different than a question we may ask as believers and disciples of Christ…
      • Why can’t I live right?
      • Why can’t i stop that sin?
      • Why can’t i forgive that person?
      • Why can’t i stop feeling this way that isn’t pleasing to God?
      • Why can’t i stop my addiction to substance or alchohol or pills or pain meds?
      • Why can’t I share the gospel?
      • Why can’t I control my eyes, my hands, my feet and my thoughts?
    • This question of why can’t I do what Jesus has said I can do is a major question that we have to tackle and get answered.
      • Because God hasn’t made us to be powerless Christians
        • Because according to Philippians we can do all things through Christ.
        • Romans says, We are more than conquerers through Him who loved us


    • prayer and faith are an absolute necessity to affect change
  • Verses 28-29 (this kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer)
      • Can not…but prayer
      • This was directed towards the disciples
      • I think we can make it more personal by saying, this kind can not be driven out by anything but a prayer life…
      • The disciples were with Jesus…insufficient
      • The disciples were doing ministry…insufficient
      • The disciples were hearing the teaching and preaching of Jesus…insufficient
        • They still had to have a prayer life
      • This principle applies to us as well…
        • We can come to church
        • We can listen to sermons and podcasts and youtube spiritual content
        • We can listen to klove, moody, and rejoice 102.3
        • We can be active in ministry, childrens church, vbs, connections, cleaning the building
        • We can be faithful givers and tithers…
        • Jesus is saying that none of that is sufficient to do the things He has called you to do, you, i, we, must have a prayer life!
          • Repeat and let that sink in…
        • It is the air we need to breath
        • It is the water we need to stay alive
        • It is the food we need to give us strength
        • Instead it becomes: the water we bypass for the soda
        • It is the greens we bypass for the fries
        • Lets look at some scriptures that point to the prayer life of Jesus


Luke 3:21

Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened,

Matthew 14:23

After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

Mark 6:46

After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.

Luke 6:12

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.

Mark 1:35

In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.

Luke 5:16

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

Luke 9:18

And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?”

Matthew 26:36

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”


  • What do we learn from Jesus’ example?
    • He prayed often
    • He prayed intentionally
    • He prayed for a length of time, ie these did not appear to be five minuters
    • When teaching the disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:6 Jesus says, but when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
      • It seems that there wasn’t enough of this going on with His disciples, which is why they couldn’t cast out the demon that He gave them authority to cast out
        • Could it be that we need to do more of this so that we can live the type of lives and fulfill the call on our life that Jesus has commanded?
        • In the Matthew account, we get a second reason for their ineffectiveness, not enough faith.
    • Matthew 17:19-20-(Jesus adds it is because of your little faith)
      • Little faith, not even mustard seed size
        • We know that they were prayerless, we know that they were dealing with some confidence in themselves instead of in Jesus, and we know according to the rebuke of Jesus, they were dealing with unbelief
        • All of this points to the lack of faith, of which only a mustard seed was required
        • This causes us to ask of ourselves, do we truly believe what His scriptures promise?
          • If we believe, just the size of a mustard seed, Jesus says that nothing will be impossible for us!
    • We see two reasons for their ineffectiveness and our ineffectiveness to carry out things that God has given us the authority over
      • Prayer and faith
      • How can we begin to have a prayer life like Jesus?
        • It must be intentional
        • Choose to pray x amount of times per week
        • Block out the time
        • Make it a habit
        • If Jesus had to pray all night, how much more do we need to pray!
    • How can we increase our faith so that nothing will be impossible for us?
      • 1) Know our role: Luke 17:5-10
        • We are servants of the most high
        • Anything that we are doing for God, in this case, they were casting out a demon
          • We are going it for God’s glory
          • We are believing that He, would use a mess like us, to accomplish His work
          • If we take this stance, if we take this posture, we can focus our faith on the One who has the power to do all things, and He can accomplish mountain moving things in our life
      • 2) Faith is increased by God speaking to us
        • Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ
          • Let your faith be increased by hearing the word in your personal bible study
          • Let your faith be increased by hearing the word in church
          • Let your faith be increased by hearing the word bible studies
          • Let your faith be increased by hearing the word from 3rd party sources like books and media
          • Hear the words of christ, more than you hear the words of hollywood,or more than you hear the lyrics of your favorite singer or rapper.
  • In our text today, we see Jesus have compassion on a family and He heals them.
    • This is part of Him bringing about the kingdom, which is a restoration of all things to the way He intended it to be
    • The kingdom will not be fully brought about until the end, when Jesus returns with power and we reign with Him forever
    • Until then, by His grace, He has made us agents of reconciliation, doing His work of bringing about the kingdom in this world
    • This text today has been an equipping text, equipping us to do Jesus’ work
    • The most important restoration that Jesus has called us to do is to be restored in relationship with Him
      • Gospel
      • Prayer
      • Join the family


  • A father who lacked faith 
    • Verses 22-23
  • Faith that makes all things possible
    • Verses 23-24
    • All things are possible with God and with those who believe (doctrine)
      • Jesus wanted the faith of the father
      • He only asks for a mustard seed
      • What He really doesn’t want is a courtesy ask or a unsure if you have the power ask
        • Ie, anybody had to be on the phone with tech support and they couldn’t figure it out and youve been transferred and you try to be nice to the next person, but you doubt they can fix it?
        • Or anyone tried to get their money back from a store or a bank or  anything and are not sure if the manager can do it after the first person didn’t have the authority?
        • Jesus don’t want that


    • Our qualifier is found in 1 John 5:14-15 (according to His will) & 1 John 3:22 (obedient and pleasing children)

Sermon Notes on Mark 9:14-29

when the power is not there

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