Key Verse | Mark 9:23-24

And Jesus said to him, "'If you can'! All things are possible for one who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!"

Scripture | Mark 9

And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

The Transfiguration

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one 1 on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, 2 it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; 3 listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.

And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. 11 And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 12 And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

Jesus Heals a Boy with an Unclean Spirit

14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out 4 and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” 5

Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection

30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.

Who Is the Greatest?

33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

Anyone Not Against Us Is for Us

38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, 6 and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

Temptations to Sin

42 Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, 7 it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, 8 to the unquenchable fire. 9 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire. 10 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”


[1] 9:3 Greek launderer (gnapheus)
[2] 9:5 Rabbi means my teacher, or my master
[3] 9:7 Or my Son, my (or the) Beloved
[4] 9:24 Some manuscripts add with tears
[5] 9:29 Some manuscripts add and fasting
[6] 9:38 Some manuscripts add who does not follow us
[7] 9:42 Greek to stumble; also verses 43, 45, 47
[8] 9:43 Greek Gehenna; also verse 47
[9] 9:43 Some manuscripts add verses 44 and 46 (which are identical with verse 48)
[10] 9:49 Some manuscripts add and every sacrifice will be salted with salt

Don't Stop Believin'—Hold on to Jesus for Healin'

Devo | Mark 9

My June 23, 2012, concluded with a violent ATV accident and a hospital stay for a concussion, torn rotator cuff, broken ribs, four torn knee ligaments, and a complete knee dislocation.

The prognosis:...

My June 23, 2012, concluded with a violent ATV accident and a hospital stay for a concussion, torn rotator cuff, broken ribs, four torn knee ligaments, and a complete knee dislocation.

The prognosis: "A good result would be walking normally in one year." The previous day, I had registered for my seventh marathon.

I should've been dead. I was already spiritually dead, but God called me to Him through the testimony and love of another.

A Michigan football player's brother suffered a spinal injury in an accident and was given a one-percent chance to walk again. Three years later, he led the team onto the field, crediting God for making that one percent a reality. Brock's faith in Jesus and clinging to Mark 9:23 helped him endure, trusting that no matter the outcome, it was for God's glory.

Next, as the compassionate father understood that only Jesus could heal his son, Amber recognized that I needed spiritual healing through an introduction to Jesus. I'd have answered that I was a Christian on a test, but I lacked peace, uncertain if God cared or even if I'd join Him in heaven. My misconceptions were gradually corrected by the truth of His Word; I put my faith in Christ.

My marathon entry was unexpectedly moved to 2013. Holding to Mark 9:23, Amber and I prayed nightly for healing and strengthening to run for His glory. Fifteen months after the accident, God enabled me to complete that race.

Since then, Mark 9 has continued to grow me:

  • Mark 9:7—Word. Listen to Jesus. Know and obey His Word, not just what you think it says.
  • Mark 9:29—Pray. It's necessary! Rely on God rather than self.
  • Mark 9:31—Fellowship. Find people that constantly teach and talk about the kingdom.
  • Mark 9:43—Repent. Identify sin and battle it.
  • Mark 9:24—Humility. Confess, asking Jesus to strengthen your faith.

I'm thankful God restored me to running. It's an opportunity to witness His goodness, listen to His Word, and pray and/or fellowship with brothers. Even if He hadn't, though, He is still good.

You have the power of a personal testimony and can bring people to Jesus. Don't Stop Believin'.

Discussion Questions

1. In Mark 9:24, the father admits to believing while struggling with unbelief. What are some areas in which you are struggling to believe that God's way is best, that God is in control, or that you need more than God to find contentment?

2. In Mark 9:29, Jesus says, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer." More often than I care to admit, I try to manage things on my own each day instead of asking Jesus for help via prayer—particularly for things I've done before (as was the case with the disciples and driving out spirits). How can you rely more on God today instead of yourself?

3. James 5:16 reads, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." Will you believe God and take Him at His Word that the prayer of a brother or sister in Christ is powerful and ask for prayer today?

4. In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus heals 10 lepers, but only one returns to offer Him praise and thanks. The other nine valued the gift and the freedom of their new circumstances much more than the Giver. In what areas of your life do you need to repent from enjoying the gift more than the Giver? Instead, offer praise and thanks to Jesus.

5. In Mark 9:43-48, Jesus explicitly warns not to play around with sin as if it were no big deal. He says to go to serious lengths to deal with it. In what areas of your life do you need to get serious about dealing with sin?

Meet Mark Hapka

Greetings, Journeyers! Praise God I'm a blessed man (Psalm 128:3-4) with my Proverbs 18:22 gift of a wife Amber and our 4-year-old son Titus. Together, Amber and I serve in the Equipped Disciple ministry helping fellow saints deepen their roots in Christ and grow in thankfulness.

Our family enjoys in-person MLB and NBA, as well as some backyard baseball and living room hoops.

As an alumnus, I cheer on University of Michigan athletics. In the Watermark parking lot, look for the car with the Michigan block "M" followed by ARK 923. No, that's not my birthday—it's a great Bible verse!

5 Comments available

Hugh Stephenson about 2 months ago

GM Mark! How lucky we are to have the amazing Hapka family serving us as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Love your devo story and your bio. This is truly a powerful chapter worthy of deep study.

Love the Bible verse plates. I’m not as creative. Just PS 401 for Psalm 40:1. Some great convos off of that plate.

Q1. Slight rephrase- is God good, in control and enough? Yes. Not a “struggle” but I keep wanting to help him with some really great ideas.

Q2. A friend recently suggested a surrender prayer hourly. Oh boy. A few hits. Many misses.

Q3. I do pray and ask for prayer. Some amazing answers. Still falling far short of standard though.

Q4. Material comforts. Way too frequently taking for granted the simple daily provision. Also good health with just enough periodic scares to refocus me.

Hugh Stephenson about 2 months ago

Q5. In re:gen learned to change my playgrounds, playmates and playlist. The hard part now is I; “look around” when I should “look away”.

Today I am reflecting on the Transfiguration. Until recently I grossly under emphasized how important this is. In many way, this is “The Call”. Once I know, I mean REALLY know, who Jesus is, it’s time to go down from my mountain top experience and get focused on running the race set out before me, (Matthew 16:15, Hebrews 12:1-3.). Oswald’s devo on this is a must read.

I count 7 lessons teaching points of discipleship-

Mark 9:22- Move “beyond the healing or the Healer”. The father has some faith but knows he needs more. He BEGS for it.

Mark 9:29- In order to understand and be effective I MUST fully submit and be guided by prayer to my Heavenly Father.

Hugh Stephenson about 2 months ago

Mark 9:36- I must re-image all people as precious in God’s eyes, (Genesis 1:26-28). Humility and compassion must become my DNA.

Mark 9:39- Stay on task. What others do or don’t do is secondary. At best. (Hebrews 12:1-3…again).

Mark 9:41- Even the tiniest, smallest, deed is noticed by God and will be rewarded. The purity of my heart is to be evident, (Psalm 51:10).

Mark 9:42-48- Have the highest imaginable standards in caring for others and and guarding against temptations. (1 Peter 5:8).

Mark 9:49-50 God will send fiery trials to purify me and salt to preserve me. Embrace the sacrifice and hardship. The fire will not destroy me. The salt (Holy Spirit) will keep me from impurity and produce holiness.

(ESV SB Notes and Constable’s notes liberally paraphrased).

Thomas Aquinas edifies:

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”

George Dalton about 2 months ago

My brother you and your amazing wife are such a blessing to the body who have the pleasure and honor of calling y’all friend. Thank you for your tireless service in Equip. Thank you for your incredible leadership and limitless love for the saints.

Sue Bohlin about 2 months ago

BAM! Great, great devo, Mark!

I loved how my study Bible explained how verses 44/46 don’t show up in the earliest, most reliable manuscripts so they were most probably copyist errors. As a calligrapher for 40+ years, I have experienced running on auto pilot and either leaving out a phrase or duplicating one, so I can well appreciate how these errors could creep into the manuscripts. What a huge grace of God to have thousands upon thousands of manuscript copies, in various languages, so we can compare them and discern what the original text said.

Last week at our Mind Games Camp, in teaching about the reliability of the Bible, we gave students in small groups slightly different versions of a recipe for them to figure out the original ingredients and directions. They got hands-on experience with textual criticism to build their confidence that the Bible is true and trustworthy!

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