Sermon Summary and Discussion Questions | "From Desperation to Dependence"


In this message from Mark 9:14-29, Jeff reminded us that God’s power comes abundantly to those who humbly rely on Him. Here Jesus encounters a desperate father who pleads for a miracle, but through the exchange, Jesus takes the man on a journey that transforms his desperation into dependence.

1. Helplessness apart from Christ

At the beginning of the passage, the disciples are confronted with demon that they cannot control. They are powerless in the absence of Jesus. However Jesus comes to the scene and immediately takes command. He confronts the disciples’ lack of faith with a weary response. They’re unbelief wearies Him not because He is impatient but because he is so surpassingly faithful and good.

2. Personal engagement with Christ

After addressing the disciples, Jesus engages the desperate man. Here we see Jesus’s compassion. He enters the man’s world and invites this father to engage Him. In a moment of transparency, the man reveals his desperation and uncertainty. Jesus responds in astonishment. The promise of God’s power is far greater than anything this man can imagine and unbelief is a far greater challenge than any demon! The man does not retreat, but instead cries out to God. He humbles himself and lays his weakness at Jesus’s feet. Though his faith is small, it is centered on Jesus. The most important thing about biblical faith is not it’s amount, but it’s Object. Jesus responds in power to this humble faith. This was a divinely orchestrated encounter to take the man’s eyes off of everything else and center his gaze on Jesus, turning his desperation into dependence.

3. Power given by Christ

In an instant, Jesus commands the demon to depart. For the father, what had been hope against hope became true faith because of the personal relationship with Jesus. The connection with Jesus provided access to the power of God. The disciples had forgotten this. They had drifted from their dependence and reliance on Jesus. But He patiently and faithfully reminds them that serving him can only be done in fellowship with him. God’s power comes abundantly to those who humbly rely on Him.


Discussion questions:

1. At the beginning of the passage, the father was desperate but uncertain. Do you find yourself in a similar state? Where has time and disappointment and failure eroded your confidence in God and His power?

2. “In every Christian’s heart there is a mixture of doubt and belief.” Where are you tempted towards doubt and unbelief? How are you currently battling that temptation?

3. In the message, Jeff said, “True faith is faith that prays. If we are rock solid convinced that power and grace and help comes from God we will pray.” How have you seen God respond in power to your prayers in the past?

4. What is one specific area of your life where you want God to transition you from desperation to dependence?

5. Jeff reminded us that faith is not measured by it’s amount but by it’s object. Where is any area where your faith is weak, but you can still run to Jesus like the father in this story and cry “I believe, help my unbelief