Bible Study: Sept. 10, 2017
NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week's Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passage: Mark 9:17-29
Discussion Questions: What do you typically do when you feel afraid? What have you been taught about demons and demon possession? What evidence do you see of demonic activity in today's world?
Food for Thought:
Author and professor Jeremiah Johnston's father, an evangelist, was interrupted one night during his preaching by a couple, all dressed in black, praying out loud to Satan. They were reciting the Lord's Prayer -- backwards. It didn't stop there. Johnston learned Satanists had been sending letters decorated with pentagrams to churches where his dad was preaching. His father also learned the Satanists were putting hexes on his family.
Johnston was afraid -- but his dad wasn't. When asked about it, his father said, "Son, truthfully I was afraid at first. But Jesus is greater than any spiritual power, and He said He has given us all authority in Him to defeat the enemy." That answer brought Johnston peace because it proved to be true.
When Jesus and the three disciples who were Jesus' inner circle (Peter, James and John) came down from the mountain after the transfiguration (Mark 9:1-13), and rejoined the other disciples, a crowd had gathered because a father had brought his son to them. An evil spirit clearly had control of the boy. The terrified father described how the spirit often would seize his son, make him unable to speak, throw him into fire and water, make him foam at the mouth and grind his teeth, and cause convulsions and seizures. It was obvious an evil spirit was at work to cause such physical maladies and self-destructive behavior.
Jesus had other encounters with people controlled by demons. Surprisingly, the Gospel accounts do not separate the actions of the person from those of the demons. To be sure, we see in Scripture that demons are real and cunning, and can cause confusion and bring physical and emotional harm.
It's easy for many of us to relate to the father in this encounter since we also have felt defeated by the enemy and bewildered about what to do. In the quicksand of our experiences, we turn to Jesus. That's what this father did. His faith may have been pretty wimpy, but at least he was looking in the right direction. "If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." Perhaps Jesus smiled as He repeated that phrase back to the father: "If you can"? Think about what you just said. Of course I can!
Jesus didn't criticize the man, but he did want the father to realize he had no reason for weak faith. Then the Lord uttered one of the most powerful sentences in the New Testament: "Everything is possible for the one who believes." Our only escape from spiritual attack is through faith in a God who can do everything possible to come to our aid.
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students, and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God's Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the Internet at www.biblestudiesforlife.com.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Stores.