A Father’s Worst Nightmare

Mark 9:14-29


June 15, 2014 AM     Father’s Day

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland



I.       Introduction (Mark 9)


A.    It’s Father’s Day!


1.      One time a little boy was asked to define Fathers Day and he said, It is just like Mothers Day, only… you don’t have to spend as much on the present.

2.      Becoming a father is easy enough, but being one can be very rough.

3.      A little girl was sitting in her father's lap as he read her a story. From time to time, she would take her eye's off the book and reach up to touch his rough and grizzled cheek. She would reach back and stroke her own cheek, then his again.

4.      Finally she spoke, "Daddy, did God make you?"

5.      "Yes, sweetheart" he answered, "God made me a long time ago."

6.      "Oh” she said, “then Daddy, did God make me too?"

7.      "Yes, indeed honey" he assured her. "God made you just a little while ago."

8.      "Oh" she said. Feeling both their faces again, she concluded, "God's getting better at it now isn't He?"


B.     Dads, by nature are not normally afraid – that is one of the requirements of being a dad – you cannot be afraid


1.      Of the dark

2.      Of huge, hairy spiders

3.      Of stopped up toilets

4.      Of midnight robbers


C.     You see, dad “always” know what to do – we just do! (smile…)

D.    But this father we are going to learn about this morning, was afraid – very afraid – of losing his son!

E.     He was experiencing a father’s worst nightmare – which is having a problem, and not knowing what to do! Especially a problem in one of his children!

F.      It is into THAT moment in his life that Jesus speaks – not only to him, but to every father today!


II.    Background to Mark Chapter 9


A.    It is just after the Transfiguration


1.      Where Jesus took three of His closest apostles with Him to the top of a small mountain and He was transformed in front of their eyes, and he became as bright as the sun!

2.      They were awed that they got to have a glimpse of the coming day of the Lord!


B.     Peter, James and John wanted to stay up on that mountain for ever! Who wouldn’t?

C.     But then it was over!

D.    They had to get down that mountain – because there was a need, a desperate need of a father, for his son!


III. Message


A.    The Commotion (Mark 9:14-16)


1.      A great multitude of people was gathered tightly together watching an argument

2.      In the middle, two groups were arguing


a.       Jewish Scribes, lawyers were mocking and accusing – they hated Jesus and His disciples

b.      The other 9 apostles were arguing back and trying to defend themselves against their attacks


B.     The Problems (Mark 9:17-18) These problems are very common still today


1.      A Dad steps forward out of the crowd

2.      He points to his son, and says he needs help – big time!


a.       Here was a young teenager – that’s bad enough!!!

b.      He has gone crazy – a lunatick (Matthew 17:14,15)!


1)      Having unexplained difficulties with him

2)      “Under the influence of the moon” – a way of saying “something was affecting him” like the Moon affects the tides - demonic

3)      Parents watch today as their kids pierce themselves, tattoos, start drinking, drugs


c.       He has a dumb spirit – something was stopping him from being able to speak

d.      That spirit controlled him – involuntary movements

e.       Tore at him – went wild – we today call these “epileptic fits”

f.       Caused the boy to foam at his mouth, and gnash his teeth together

g.      Suicidal (Mark 9:22)

h.      He was pining / wasting away – wasn’t getting any better - it was killing his son!

i.        And this father was watching it before his very eyes, and could do nothing to help him!!!

j.        It tears every one of us apart as well watching this take place in any of our children!


3.      Then he points to Jesus and was upset that Jesus had not been there when he had come

4.      Then he pointed to the disciples and blamed THEM for not being able to help him – they were supposed to be able to help, but they were powerless

5.      This father had already given up on the scribes and Pharisees and on his religion!

6.      This father, was desperate, and didn’t know what to do – helpless


a.       His wife is not around – maybe has completely given up

b.      Sometimes, problems and troubles tear homes apart when God put them together to hold it together!!!


C.     The Rebuke (Mark 9:19)


1.      You may THINK Jesus had no compassion here, but as always, He used every situation, every trouble to teach us how to trust God and how to get through our disasters!

2.      He rebukes the entire crowd…


a.       For being a faithless generation – much like today!


1)      Oh they were all religious – at least they LOOKED the part

2)      But they were faithless! With all their praying, and going to the synagogues, and hearing people teach about God… they had no real faith in God!


b.      They were not learning!


1)      Jesus had been teaching constantly now for over 3 years, almost DAILY!

2)      And He wonders how long do they expect Him to hang around


c.       They were like little children simply attracted by the entertainment – they wanted a circus show, NOT a Saviour!

d.      They, like almost ALL religious people today, only wanted to be impressed, and entertained, and not saved!


3.      He Rebukes the Scribes…


a.       For jumping at the opportunity of this situation and finding fault with His disciples

b.      These scribes had NO answer, and yet were attacking the Apostles for not being able to fix things!


4.      He rebukes the father as well…


D.    Where Did The Father Go Wrong?


1.      I am sure this man had a lot of good things going for him…


a.       I am sure he was a good provider for his home – paid the bills, worked hard

b.      A good husband (his wife is not there to ask, but we will give him the benefit of the doubt)

c.       I am sure he tried to be a good father (you can see it in his desperation here)


2.      But…

3.      He was not a disciple of Jesus – like many a Dad - always been just a part of the crowd mentality


a.       You think that is not really a problem?

b.      How much trouble would be saved if Dad’s walked with God, and leaned upon God, and depended upon God DAILY instead of only in the disasters?!


4.      He allowed the spirit into his home in the first place (Mark 3:27) – many of us are guilty of this!


a.       In this end time, we are allowing such bad spirits into our homes – through TV, music, attitudes

b.      Spirit of complaining

c.       Of bitterness, of anger and wrath

d.      Of backbiting and disrespect

e.       Of lust and pornography

f.       Of tolerance of sins and things God calls an abomination!


5.      He had kept putting off the spiritual needs of his family

6.      He was faithless himself, and uninterested in spiritual things… until disaster struck

7.      Full of unbelief in Jesus

8.      Turned to Jesus LAST! He probably tried to get the help of doctors and counsellors – that is what any normal parent would do! Not wrong… But none of them could help (see Mark 5:25,26)

9.      He only NOW was humble enough to try Jesus – worth a “try”!

10.  Had no idea what to do, or what to believe


E.     What Jesus Did For This Desperate Father (Mark 9:19-27)


1.      He invited the father to bring the son and all his problems to Him


a.       You don’t have to push God to take your problems… he usually waits for us to let go of them

b.      Jesus took infirmities and sicknesses upon HIMSELF (Matthew 8:16,17) to prove He can take all our sins away as well!


2.      He upset the spirit – praise God!

3.      He only asked the father to believe – to have faith IN HIM, and in HIS abilities.
To trust HIS care, and HIS will, and HIS help no matter how confused you may be!

4.      Even with the father’s very little faith, Jesus went ahead and healed the boy


a.       Rebuked the foul (wicked, filthy) spirit

b.      Restored the child whole, and without any remaining problems

c.       Restrained the spirit from EVER entering into him again

d.      Returned him to his gobsmacked father! A gift!

e.       Jesus did it all almost in an instant!


5.      Through it, Jesus taught this father about FAITH


a.       Living BY faith - Facing every problem by faith

b.      Trusting God, to do the right thing, to lead you, as you pray and ask! Knowing He is SO able!


F.      Confused Disciples (Mark 9:28,29) – when they were away from the crowds…


1.      They were quite upset


a.       They had FAILED

b.      They had been given powers over this kind of spiritual problems back in Mark 3:13-15

c.       Yet, THIS was the first time they had ever dealt with something they couldn’t fix

d.      The Scribes had mocked their inability, their lack of power – they had called them frauds and stupid for following ‘Jesus’

e.       They were very upset because they were so embarrased!


2.      Their real problems…


a.       They were cocky – arrogant about faith


1)      Just expected miracles

2)      Expected God to do what THEY thought should be done

3)      Expected the power to be theirs to do with as they pleased

4)      NEVER expected to be humiliated and seen as weak themselves, and failures

5)      They were NOBODIES, but a little bit of power changed them, and that needed to be fixed!


b.      They were not willing to pay the price themselves for answers to prayer – fasting!

c.       They themselves just had a superficial walk with God – only what they could get from God


3.      So, What is faith?


a.       More than just “believing”

b.      It is humbling ourselves before God and men – becoming desperate for GOD alone!

c.       It is losing your own control and instead doing whatever GOD says do – like fasting

d.      It is being WILLING to do whatever is necessary – fasting! The opposite of what is natural

e.       It is patiently en-trusting the problem to God’s care

f.       It is paying attention to everything Jesus said (Romans 10:17), learning how to live this way!


IV. Application – What can We Learn from this Father?


A.    Start following Jesus Ourselves - Jesus calls ALL MEN to follow Him!


1.      Whether He is popular today, or not; whether there is an emergency or not

2.      Read of Him through the Bible – Grown men, especially fathers need to know this Book!

3.      Listen to Him as you read

4.      Pay close attention to what He says and does instead of RTE and Sky and Enda Kenny


B.     Act on spiritual needs


1.      Notice spiritual problems in yourself and your family instead of just visible and physical ones

2.      If someone came into the house with a broken arm, you would act on it, right?


C.    Do things alone if you have to


1.      Usually it is a wife, or a mother what acts when things go wrong in the home

2.      Here it is a man, a father, without his wife nagging him, or dragging him

3.      Your friends may think you are crazy and leave you


D.    Ignore the mockers and the ultra-religious

E.     Accept rebuke – correction – it will help you do better next time

F.     Realise that your children need YOU – not just Mom! Need you to KNOW God, love God!

G.    Admit your own unbelief – unbelief blocks God’s help so much


1.      Our unbelief shows in the sterility of our homes

2.      No prayer time together

3.      No thanking God for meals, or for everything that comes our way

4.      No praying to God first when troubles com


H.    Desire more faith than you currently have


1.      We all know we could use more money, more good looks, more hours in a day

2.      When are we all going to realise that we need greater faith (Luke 17:6)


I.       Trust Jesus Christ for the impossibles – quit being so “down on God” thinking nothing will work out


V.    Invitation


A.    Are YOU like this father? Most every one of us are! Especially DADs!


1.      Are you at the end of your line? Faithless, and just trying anything and everything you can find?

2.      Have problems brought you to a desperate search for answers? If they haven’t, they will!


B.     Jesus is not a try-before-you-buy kind of God

C.     He is Lord!

D.    And all He asks of us, is to believe solidly, and unreservedly in Him


1.      Not just as a fact

2.      But as your Saviour – the only One capable of saving a wretch like you!


E.     It is a decision, a choice, a heart cry…

F.      From a desperate heart, to the ONLY Saviour, Jesus, the Son of God!

G.    Don’t wait until a disaster to become desperate! Get born again, today