Mark 9 begins with the story we saw other gospel writers tell about Jesus and the transfiguration with Moses and Elijah. As they come down from that mountaintop experience – we again see the story of how Jesus casts out the demon from the boy whom the disciples had been unable to help. We get a few more details from Mark. “When the spirit saw Him, immediately it convulsed the boy”. Darkness cannot stand the light. As Jesus approached the boy who had been controlled for years – evil was fearful and did the one thing it knows to do – attack. Evil cannot confront Jesus – the enemy has already lost that one. Evil cannot stand to be in the presence of Jesus. So when Jesus is around – evil can only attack and destroy before fleeing. We are in the midst of a very real spiritual battle in our lives. It is a real deal and we need to wake up and be prepared for it. Remember that the disciples had tried to cast this spirit out already and failed. Jesus response after being asked if He could do it was “all things are possible for one who believes”. It all comes down to faith. The response of the dad was key: “I believe, help my unbelief”. Curious combination of words isn’t it? I believe, followed by help my unbelief. I think it indicates that we can rely on God to help take us all the way. We have to believe – to have enough faith to come to the Father knowing it can be done – but we can rely on the Father to help take us all the way. “Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up” referring to the son who had just been set free. We serve a God who loves us and wants us to be victorious over evil. He will help us with our unbelief if we come to Him in faith!
Jesus then goes away as “He was teaching His disciples”. Can you imagine how many people were lined up and looking to find Him. He was healing left and right and fixing problems many had had for life. Shouldn’t He have been busy ministering – not off somewhere with His 12? No – He was building the leadership for the church and pouring His life into those men. He was discipling. Remember how He left us – “go and make disciples” – He was showing us how that happens. You don’t snap your fingers and create them. They come from spending intentional time with others – by investing into one another and helping one grow. Discipleship is about growth in our walk as a Christ Follower. It is all about becoming like Jesus. So while there were hundreds and thousands who wanted to touch Him and be healed – Jesus chose to get away with the twelve and invest in them. As they went it is interesting what the twelve were focused on: “on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest”. That sounds like a really spiritual discussion doesn’t it? Talk about self being in the way. Jesus makes it clear what it takes to be first – “if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all”. It isn’t about positioning toward the front – it is all about positioning toward the rear or bottom. Servant leadership is how you become great. And that is not about me or you, but those we love and serve. The world has it all wrong. So many work to achieve success so they can be boss and have people under them to tell them what to do. God’s way – His economy – is exactly the opposite. You work to get to the top so you can serve more people. Leadership takes you to a place where you minister to many more and serve them as God entrusts them into your care. Leadership is not about me – it is about me serving those who follow as Jesus did – a servant leader where it is never about me and always about those who follow. Oh that we could understand how Jesus led. We focus on the wrong things – position, possession, power – when success and leadership really boils down to love, serving and people. Where are you on that walk? Is it about you, or is it about Jesus ministering through you to serve others?