New Testament Portraits of Faith (2): Gospel of Mark

Thomas D. Stegman SJ

In this second of a five-part series on what the New Testament teaches about faith, Thomas D. Stegman, SJ ? associate professor of New Testament at Boston College School of Theology and ministry ? sets forth Mark?s distinctive understanding.

While all three Synoptic gospels recount the story of Jesus? healing an epileptic boy immediately following the Transfiguration, the evangelist Mark offers the most detailed version (9.14?29). Mark focuses on the dialogue between Jesus and the boy?s father. After relating the harrowing details of his son?s malady ? including the boy?s being cast into fire and water (a result of demon possession) ? the father desperately appeals to Jesus, ?If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us!? (9.22). Jesus responds by calling the father to greater faith, which in turn evokes the latter?s heart-wrenching cry, ?I do believe; help my unbelief!?, which can also be translated ?I do have faith; help my lack of faith!? (9.24).

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