The Book of Mark
James J. Barker

Lesson 31

Text: MARK 9:14-29


1.     When considering this wonderful passage of Scripture, special attention should be given to verse 23, particularly the little word “if.”

2.     Regarding this Scripture, the great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “There is a lesson here which we need to learn. We, like this man, often see that there is an ‘if’ somewhere, but we are perpetually blundering by putting it in the wrong place.

If’ Jesus can help me

‘If’ He can give me grace to overcome temptation

if’ He can give me pardon

if’ He can make me successful? 

Nay, ‘if’ you can believe, He both can and will.

You have misplaced your ‘if.’ If you can confidently trust, even as all things are possible to Christ, so shall all things be possible to you. Faith standeth in God’s power, and is robed in God’s majesty; it weareth the royal apparel, and rideth on the King’s horse, for it is the grace which the King delighteth to honour. Girding itself with the glorious might of the all-working Spirit, it becomes, in the omnipotence of God, mighty to do, to dare, and to suffer. All things, without limit, are possible to him that believeth. My soul, canst thou believe thy Lord tonight?” (Morning and Evening).

3.     In other words, God’s power to help us is unlimited, but we often limit God by our lack of faith.



1.     When our Lord and His disciples came down from the Mount of Transfiguration, they encountered a bewildered multitude.

2.     This is an amazing picture, and it illustrates for us how our Lord descended from the realms of glory, and came into this world full of demons and bewildered sinners.

3.     The prophet Isaiah said, “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.  There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isa. 57:20, 21).

4.     Beloved, we are surrounded by a bewildered multitude today.  And when the Lord returns we will say goodbye to this sin-loving, godless world.

5.     Every day we are reminded of what a devilish and bewildering world we live in. Just think of some of the headlines this week.  Iran is very close to getting a nuclear bomb. 

6.     Muslim terrorists were arrested right here in Queens.

7.     One Muslim fanatic recently blew himself up in Saudi Arabia.  He actually hid his explosives up his rectum!

8.     In the midst of this bewildered multitude were the scribes (9:14-16).

9.     The scribes were religious hypocrites (cf. Mark 12:38-40).

10. The Bible does not explain what the scribes were talking about, but more than likely it was about the demon-possessed boy, and the disciples’ inability to help him (9:16-18).



1.     Demons are violent (9:18, 22).  Much of the violence in this world is generated and inspired by demons.  The other day, two men bumped into each other in front of the library in midtown Manhattan.  Angry words were exchanged, and then one man pulled out his knife and killed the other.

2.     The murder was captured on video, and soon the murderer’s face was featured all over the newspapers and on the television. A few days later he committed suicide. 

3.     Notice Mark 9:22 – “to destroy him.”  The devil is a destroyer.  Demons are destroyers.

4.     Revelation 9:11 says these horrible locust-like demons, which will torment sinners during the coming tribulation (Revelation 9:6 says, “And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.”), have a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.”

5.     The Hebrew word Abaddon and the Greek word Apollyon mean “Destroyer.”

6.     Jesus said to the religious leaders in John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning…”

7.     I think we are seeing more and more of this type of demonic behaviour as we get closer to the end of the age.  There is much more violence, more occultic activity, more strange religious cults, more wickedness, etc.

8.     What kind of person pays money to sit in a theatre and watch people get massacred by a chainsaw?

9.     The devil and his demons also are behind this onslaught of violence and immorality.  That is why demons are often referred to in the Bible as “unclean spirits.” 

10. Film director Roman Polanski made millions of dollars making violent, demonic movies about adultery, incest, rape, murder, and Satanism.

11. Back in 1977, Polanski raped a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles. Rather than go to prison, he fled to France.  Recently he was arrested in Switzerland, yet his many Hollywood friends say he should not face trial.

12. Hollywood is a moral sewer and it is controlled by Satan and his demons.



1.     Our Lord said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?” (Mark 9:19).

2.     Faithlessness means powerlessness.  Faith confers power.

3.     Unfortunately, even some saved people are faithless.  And if they are faithless, they will be helpless and powerless.

4.     Some Christians can help us finish up this construction work, but it will take faith. 

5.     Jesus said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

6.     It takes faith to believe what Jesus said.

7.     Many Christians lack faith because they are not reading the Bible.

8.     So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).

9.     If we do not read the Bible we will get weak spiritually.

10. In Mark 9:23, our Lord said to the boy’s father, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

11. Then we read, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

12. Faith is the key.  Hebrews 11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please God (cf. Mark 9:23).

13. I should say a few words about “prayer and fasting” (9:27-29).

14. First of all, this passage reminds us that some demons are more wicked and dangerous than others (cf. Matthew 12:45).

15. Furthermore, our Lord’s words in Mark 9:29 seem to suggest that certain situations are so serious that they require prayer and fasting. 

16. Some believers instinctively understand this.  When David’s baby was dying, II Samuel 12:16 says, “David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted.”

17. Andrew Murray said, “Prayer is the one hand with which we grasp the invisible. Fasting is the other hand, the one with which we let go of the visible.”



1.     Let us consider the father’s prayer in Mark 9:24, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

2.     This kind of prayer will be answered immediately (cf. 9:25-27).

3.     The father had genuine faith.  He acknowledged that his faith was weak, and so the Lord strengthened his faith.  His faith was a growing faith.

4.     Is your faith growing?

5.     Perhaps there are some here tonight who need to pray, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

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