Today we take a look at Mark 9:14-29, where Jesus heals a young boy:
The Healing of a Boy with a Spirit
14 When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. 15 When the whole crowd saw him, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him. 16 He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; 18 and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.” 19 He answered them, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” 26 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 was able to stand. 28 When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”
Today we see Jesus heal another child that is possessed by an evil spirit, something we see quite a lot of, especially in Mark. There are a couple of words of reminder about evil or demonic spirits I want to give when we read texts like this. First, remember, scripture is clear, they are out there, they do exist. But, let us not become overly consumed or worried about them. That is not helpful. CS Lewis said this in his book The Screwtape Letters:
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.
Two things that I think are of great interest in this text are the notion of faith and prayer. Notice Jesus’ seeming frustration with the lack of faith displayed by everyone involved in this. No one is able to heal the boy, it seems as though it is at an end. The father says to Jesus, if you can heal, and Jesus says all things are possible for those that believe.
Then the father has one of my favorite statements in all of scripture. Lord I believe, help my unbelief. How often have we all felt like that? How often have we said I know you can do it Lord, but help me believe.
Belief and faith are not an on/off switch. When we flip it, doesn’t always stay there. We can believe, but still struggle with doubt and fear and worry. We can have great faith, but still have areas of our life that struggle to trust in. We can be this father. Lord I believe, but help my unbelief.
Today, may your faith be stronger than your doubts. Hold fast to faith. Hold on. Jesus can do it. Believe. Trust. Hope. Don’t doubt, only belief. Give your doubts, your worries, your fears, give them to Jesus. He can hold them, He can help them.
And the second thing that stands out to me is the conversation the disciples have with Jesus following. They want to know why they couldn’t heal the boy, and Jesus says some things can only be done with great prayer. Prayer is always the first things that we should do as Christians. Not the last.
Prayer must always be our frist resort, not our last. Prayer must be the frist thing that we turn to, not the last. We have to start all things, all things with prayer. Jesus says the only way that you can bring forth healing in this situation is through prayer.
Do we pray first? We have to. We must. It’s the only way that we’ll have the power to be faithful.
Tomorrow we’ll look at Mark 9:30-37.
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