Just before the new year I highlighted highlighted Mark Edwards’ thoughts on the passage of scripture in Mark chapter 9 which features Jesus teaching a distressed father about faith. A few verses after the one in that post, the disciples come to Jesus with a question about their own inability in the face of the challenge in the passage–specifically, the fact that they could not cast the demon out of the child the man had brought to them. The verse in question is Mark 9:28–
When He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?“
Here’s a nice meditation on this verse, also from James Edwards:
A recurrent theme in this passage is the inadequacy of the disciples in ministry with Jesus. Service in fellowship with Christ is characterized by constant awareness of the inadequacy of the servant. As this story illustrates, Jesus calls disciples to tasks beyond their abilities, and the fact that the tasks surpass their abilities is evidence that the ministry is Christ’s not theirs.
The inadequacy of disciples is not their fault, nor should it have the effect of impairing either their faith or fellowship with Christ.
Rather, inadequacy drives the disciples to prayer, which is God’s gift to them and another form of fellowship with Jesus as their Lord.
(The Gospel According to Mark, James Edwards, p.281)