Explore the Bible Study: Strengthens (Total Dependence)

5:06 PM

Acknowledging our total dependence on Jesus for everything is the only way one can face the challenges of life. We don’t just set Jesus aside for the times when we need Him. Total dependance only comes through nurturing a relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer and surrender.  This is the lesson for the disciples, a man who was concerned for his son, and for us in the Explore the Bible Study: Strengthens.

Have you ever observed parents, or personally experienced, dealing with teenagers who think they can do something on their own without anyone else’s help? What were some of your thoughts as you observed this taking place? Have you ever had to step in to help or offer a solution?

Jesus had to step in during a very critical event recorded in Mark 9. Jesus, like a loving Father, has more to teach His disciples. They discover an important lesson regarding their need to be totally dependent on Him.

After Jesus’s conversations in Mark 8 with Peter and the disciples regarding His death and resurrection and what it means to take up one’s cross to follow Him, He takes three of His disciples—Peter, James, and John—to a mountain. Mark tells us it was six days later – “After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves to be alone. He was transfigured in front of them, and his clothes became dazzling—extremely white as no launderer on earth could whiten them.” (Mark 9:2-3)

While this amazing learning experience was taking place, the other disciples were still down in the valley among the crowd. In this crowd was a desperate man who brought his son to the disciples for help. This man’s son was “possessed by a spirit” that “robbed him of speech” (Mark 9:17). These same disciples who had been commissioned earlier by Jesus in Mark 6:7 to go out into the villages and who saw God work through them to preach repentance, drive out demons, anoint the sick, and heal people are not able to help this demon possessed boy.

This is a very embarrassing moment for the disciples and a disappointing moment for the father and son. Additionally, the crowd begins to gather with accusations and arguments regarding the authenticity of Jesus’s authority based upon the actions of the disciples.

This is what Jesus, Peter, James, and John encounter when they come down off the mountain. Mark describes the situation this way in Mark 9:14-16: When they came to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes disputing with them. When the whole crowd saw him, they were amazed and ran to greet him. He asked them, “What are you arguing with them about?”

The disciples were struggling. The crowds were growing. The scribes were stirring up trouble. And, sadly, a man and his son were hurting and desperate for help. Now they see Jesus coming and all attention turns to Him.

Just like a parent who steps in to help and to provide a teaching moment for an independent minded teenager, Jesus provides what is needed to offer miraculous healing and to teach an important lesson regarding depending totally on Him.

Downloadable Teaching Helps

Includes additional ideas and my plan I use to teach my Bible study group.

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LifeWay Explore The Bible Resources

These teaching helps are intended to be used as a supplement to your study of Lifeway's Explore the Bible curriculum resources. Portions of this material are taken directly from content copyrighted to Lifeway Christian Resources Explore the Bible and is used with permission.  This material has not been reviewed by Lifeway Christian Resources. 

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