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Healing of a demon-possessed boy


Mark 9:14 And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them.
Mark 9:15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him.
Mark 9:16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?”
Mark 9:17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit.
Mark 9:18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”
Mark 9:19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”
Mark 9:20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.
Mark 9:21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.
Mark 9:22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Mark 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
Mark 9:25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!”
Mark 9:26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.”
Mark 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
Mark 9:28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
Mark 9:29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
Let us carefully look at the above Scriptures:
On the day following the Transfiguration, Jesus and the three disciples descended from the mount of transfiguration to the plain below, where the other nine awaited their return.
Mark 9:14 And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them.
Mark 9:14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. NIV
That is, arguing with them or heckling them, as the context makes plain. The attitude of the scribes was obviously hostile. This detail is mentioned only by Mark.
These hostile scribes may have been some of the ones who “came from Jerusalem” for the purpose of alienating the respect of the people for Jesus and to report on what He said and did (see on Mark 7:1; Matt. 16:1).
As so often in the past, they attacked Jesus through His disciples (see Mark 2:16, 18, 24; 7:5). On this occasion they sought to represent Jesus and His disciples as impostors by making much of the fact that here was a demon over which the disciples were powerless (cf. DA 427).
Mark 9:15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him.
Why do you think they were amazed?
The reason for amazement at the approach of Jesus is best explained as the reaction of the crowd to the traces of glory that undoubtedly remained on the faces of those who had witnessed the Transfiguration (cf. Ex. 34:29–35; DA 427).
Mark 9:16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?”
It seems that the scribes became silent as Jesus approached. No doubt the tense atmosphere that prevailed, and for that matter, the very presence of the scribes, made it evident that they had been giving the nine disciples a hard time.
Mark 9:17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit.
Having been silenced and humiliated by Jesus whenever they had endeavoured to discredit Him in the past, the scribes withdrew from the contest (see on Mark 2:19; 7:11–13; Matt. 16:1–4; cf. DA 427). This gave the father of the poor, demon-possessed boy opportunity to present his request personally.
Brought my son. Luke says that the father requested Jesus to “look at my son”. In the Greek, this was a common idiom for a medical examination.
Luke 9:38 A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.
Mark 9:18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”
The father is here describing the stage of seizure in which the boy’s body stiffened.
Mark 9:19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”
Compare God’s appraisal of Israel during the days of Moses.
Numbers 14:27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me.
Jesus had the father of the demon-possessed boy in mind as He spoke these words, for the father’s faith was not the only obstacle in the way of the healing of his son.
Jesus also had the nine disciples in mind, but He did not want to single them out for censure in public, and so did not make them the direct object of His remarks. However, if the disciples were “unbelieving,” how much more the crowd.
Mark 9:19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”
How long? These words imply that Jesus here speaks as a divine being, one who has temporarily assumed human form.
Moses repeatedly had the same experience with Israel in the wilderness.
Numbers 20:10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?”
Let’s return to Jesus and the crowd.
Mark 9:20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.
Wallowed. Or, “rolled around.” The boy was a pitiable sight.
Mark 9:21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.
Asked his father. A detail recorded only by Mark.
How long? This is the only recorded instance where Jesus made specific inquiry of the case history of one whom He healed. He called upon the father to give a description of the disease and its effects in order that those standing by might fully appreciate the boy’s grave condition. It was for this reason that Christ permitted the evil spirit to shake the boy uncontrollably.
Mark 9:22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
The case was chronic, and therefore, from a human point of view, more difficult to deal with.
Matthew remarks as follows:
Matthew 17:15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.
In the Greek (see Matt. 17:15) the expression “suffers severely” was generally used to describe diseases which human skill had been unable to alleviate.
Mark 9:22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Help us. The father makes the boy’s case his own (cf. Matt. 15:22, 25).
Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
The father would not have brought his son if he had not already possessed a measure of faith
Mark 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
Can you hear this heart-breaking cry?
Mark 9:25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!”
This incident occurred during the period of retirement from public ministry, during which Jesus sought to escape publicity and to avoid arousing enthusiasm which He did not purpose to satisfy. Jesus therefore proceeded to effect the cure without further delay.
Rebuked the unclean spirit. The demon had caused the boy’s physical condition. The result would disappear along with the cause. (see Luke 9:42).
Let’s ask Doctor Luke to speak on the matter:
Luke 9:42 And as he was still coming, the demon threw him down and convulsed him. Then Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the child, and gave him back to his father.
Mark 9:26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.”
Jesus may have permitted this final manifestation of the demon’s power in order that the contrast between the pitiful condition of the boy and his condition when relieved of the demon might be the more apparent.
The crowd believed that he was dead. The boy was utterly exhausted by the violence of the spasm that had seized him.
Mark 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
The demon had departed, and now the touch of Jesus restored the boy’s strength. What a dramatic exhibition of the loving healing power of Jesus!
Mark 9:28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
Why could we not? The Twelve had cast out demons during their Third Galilean Tour (see ch. 6:13). They were at a loss to account for the fact that the power that Jesus had imparted should have departed from them.
Mark 9:29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
The scribes had attributed the helplessness of the nine disciples to the presumed superior power of the demon, asserting that Jesus’ control was limited to the less powerful demons (cf. DA 427).
The real trouble, however, lay not in the power of the demon, but in the spiritual impotence of the disciples.
But by prayer. Christ does not here refer to prayer offered in connection with the casting out of demons. He is not concerned with momentary prayer, but with a life actuated by prayer.
During the absence of Peter, James, and John with Christ, the nine disciples had been dwelling on their discouragements and personal grievances, in a spirit of jealousy because of the favour shown their absent companions (see DA 431).
Their state of mind and heart made it impossible for God to work through them.

Updated on 21st Mar 2022

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