Our gospel this week is Mark 9:14-29, taken today from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).
And when they came back to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. Immediately, when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed and began running up to greet Him. And He asked them, “What are you disputing with them?” And one person from the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, because he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes stiff. And I told Your disciples so that they would cast it out, but they could not do it.” And He answered them and said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” And they brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, the spirit immediately threw him into convulsions, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to kill him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” But Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again!” And after crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!” But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him, and he got up. When He came into the house, His disciples began asking Him privately, “ Why is it that we could not cast it out?” And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything except prayer.”
In this passage, Jesus finds His disciples locked in a battle with an evil spirit and an argument with the religious leaders. This speaks to us of the things we face here as His followers and the danger of being distracted by unbelievers. Satan only needs a small opportunity to prevent us from doing the Lord’s work.
The boy’s father asks if Jesus “can do anything” and Jesus answers that everything is possible for those who have faith. The man pleads for help, saying “I do believe; help my unbelief!” (v. 24). This is the cry that we should all raise to Jesus on a regular basis.
Jesus has pity on them and heals the boy because the father has admitted our human weakness – our faith must always be growing, it is never enough without God’s help. The disciples prove this point when they question why they were unsuccessful and Jesus tells them “This kind cannot come out by anything except prayer.” (v. 29). Only by our connection to God through Christ can we stand against the evil of the world.
Gracious God, we are blessed to be part of Your work and the call to share Your love. We know we can do all things through Your strength. Amen.