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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


When Jesus Is Not Pleased

“O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. (Mark 9:19,20, NIV)

This may be the most explicit example of Jesus being frustrated with His disciples.

Even though He had given them power over demons (3:15) and they had previously exercised that authority (6:13), they were now powerless to help a boy whom a father had brought to them.

Jesus’ rebuke is scathing. He calls them unbelieving and asks two “how long” questions. The first, “How long shall I stay with you” relates to the shortness of time that Jesus has left in His mission. The second “how long” finds Jesus rhetorically wondering if He should fire them all: “How long shall I put up with you?”

We know the answer to both questions as we journey on with Jesus. We learn that He did not give up on His disciples even though, at this point in His ministry, He is very frustrated with them. That’s a helpful encouragement because the Lord doesn’t give up on us either — even when we severely disappoint Him.

If Jesus was upset then by His disciples, I cannot begin to imagine how He must feel sometimes today about His Church — a Church that is often powerless in addressing the pressing needs of others. It really disappoints Jesus when His people are no help to those weighted down with adversities and dominated by evil.

But, it’s more than frustration with His Church — it’s also frustration with you and me. We must take this personally! What in your life or mine really disappoints the Lord — what causes Him to ask, “How long must I put up with you?” (NLT).

Jesus orders the boy brought to Him and the demon manifests itself.

In Jesus’ ministry you will never find Him diagnosing a person with demon possession. The demonic always manifests itself in His presence. When we have clean hands and a pure heart, when we are in communion with the Lord, we also clearly see when evil manifests itself. One of the reasons for powerlessness over evil is that there is too much sin in us. The devil in others cannot be driven out when there is an aggregate of evil and good in our own lives. Yielding to temptation, prayerlessness and giving in to spiritual laxity diminish our efforts to effectively confront evil.

Clearly the boy does not have epilepsy, even though to the casual observer that may appear to be the case. In epilepsy there is no controlling evil spirit that shrieks and comes out (9:26). The boy is deaf and mute due to the indwelling presence of a demon (9:25).

Until the father brought his son to Jesus, there was no cure. Family, religious leaders and well-intentioned friends had not been able to help. The disciples should have been able since they had delegated authority from Jesus.

There are countless children whom the enemy is throwing down and tossing out — they are the lost boys and girls of our generation. Will we stand by helplessly and do nothing? Or will we act in Jesus’ name to rescue them and confront the evil that harms them?

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, help me to not walk away from a desperate adult or child who needs help. I cannot help everyone, but I can do something about those You put within my reach.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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