Gospel of Mark | Generations | Mark 9.16-19 | movementministriesblog.com

by | Mar 12, 2024

“What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. 17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” Mark 9.16-19

“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus said. “How long shall I stay with you?” I bet every generation faces unbelief. Certainly this one did. Jesus rebukes them because they do not have enough faith to heal the man and cast out the demon. We sense Jesus’ impatience with the crowd and with his disciples. Jesus rebukes them by calling them unbelieving, then asking how long he will have to stay with them and put up with them. Doesn’t sound like something Jesus typically would say.

But it is the truth! These followers/disciples have seen Jesus do great and mighty works. And they themselves have done some as well — but when it comes to having great faith, they were not prepared. They failed in their faithfulness to accomplish the healing. Jesus’ patience was wearing thin — “How long shall I stay with you?” He asks…how long will I have to put up with you?

It is human nature to doubt and it’s also human nature to believe. It’s also human nature to think that what is happening to them and their generation is unlike anything that has happened before. We think Gen Z will usher in the Kingdom of God! They are young, believing and faithful. But we thought the same thing about Gen Y, Gen X and probably even before that.

Every generation believes the younger ones are the hope and future. And they are, but every generation also has the ability to believe and to doubt. To accept the faith anew, and then to lead us to revival and repentance. We are all human and all in need of salvation. God can and will do a work with each generation just as he has done in the past.

When I committed my life to Jesus in 1986, it was all new and fresh. Sure, I had been in bible studies, youth groups and Sunday Schools for my whole life — but meeting Jesus and having his Spirit inside of me changed everything. And yet when I met him, generations had come and gone, wars had been fought, arguments of faith had been won and lost. But he was new to me.

The “generation” to which Jesus was speaking in this passage was not unlike ours. Some believed and some doubted. But each generation needs Christ anew and afresh. Each generation will meet the Lord and new believers will discover the Spirit of God afresh. But there is nothing new under the sun. Each will also struggle to believe and will doubt.

We all need Jesus. We all need his mercy and his love. Each of us needs the power of the Spirit to guide us, lead us and direct us in the faith. Will you pray for the future generations? Will you cry out on their behalf that God might reveal himself to them just as he has revealed himself to us?

“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for your kindness and patience. Even when my love fails, your love remains steadfast. Come now, Holy Spirit, have your way with me. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen