“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 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.”
The disciples learned a very valuable lesson this day! What can we learn from this amazing story? As a father myself, there is nothing more debilitating than being unable to help your son. As the father of the boy with an evil spirit becomes increasingly weary and heartbroken over the condition of his own son, I believe he initially felt relief when he encountered the disciples. Upon his interaction, he might have thought, “I’ve finally found some help for my child!” One cannot truly fathom caring for a child who was being destroyed by this evil spirit – v22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him” – what helplessness consumed this family! Yet there’s hope on the horizon!
When Jesus came back to the disciples after his transfiguration, he encounters two distinct problems: (A) The disciples were unable to cast out this evil spirit and (B) the teachers of the law arguing with them. How did unbelief play a part in giving the devil a foothold in this situation? How does the lack of faith play a part in giving the devil a foothold in your life? Upon further questioning, Jesus learns that the disciples were unsuccessful in delivering this child from an evil spirit. Jesus expresses deep, yet righteous, disappointment over the lack of faith demonstrated by His chosen followers and stated in v19, “O unbelieving generation…how long shall I put up with you?” As the child was brought before Jesus, the spirit immediately threw the boy into a convulsion – stop, mediate on this verse, and be in awe! The evil spirit was not confused! This spirit knew exactly who was standing before him. More importantly, the evil spirit knew his time was short! – PRAISE GOD! The convulsions and distractions did not deter Jesus, He commanded the evil spirit to leave the boy and to never return! Yes and Amen! The boy was restored! What does restoration look like in your life? God intends for you to live free from such burdens, evil spirits, fear, guilt, and shame. These are not from our heavenly Father.
Let us not forget two very important pieces within this story. The boy’s father verbalized his unbelief when he stated, “But if you can do anything…” Jesus responds with a powerful, “If you can? said Jesus. Everything is possible for him who believes.” My dear brothers and sisters, do you struggle with unbelief like this boy’s father? We must believe and have faith that this very promise is true as God is incapable of lying. Rebuke the lies of the devil and claim this victory and promise for your own life! Just as the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief,” we must pray the same!
The second important factor involved the unsuccessful deliverance conducted by the disciples. The disciples did ask Jesus why they were unable to drive out this evil spirit, and Jesus states very clearly in v29 “This kind can come out only by prayer.” We must remember that casting out evil spirits is more than a proclamation we verbalize in the name of Jesus. I believe this was a humbling experience for the disciples. Maybe we get “too comfortable” and “too confident” within our own abilities and then the words lose their power because this power granted by Jesus Christ alone is mixed with our selfishness. These two cannot coexists! Selfishness will never equate to spiritual power! It’s like oil and water – it won’t mix! Christ’s power rests on HIM ALONE! Once we taint it with selfishness, pride, and lack of faith, then we place faulty human traits on a powerful God – Let’s not do that my brothers and sisters. When we fail to acknowledge through prayer and fasting the origin of our God-given power, then we have closed our spiritual eyes. We then open gates for pride, selfishness, envy, and anger as we close the door on God’s anointing. The words, “In Jesus’ name” carry great power and authority to believers – those that crucify the flesh daily. Let us learn from our brothers that walked with Jesus. Let us not become prideful and remain humble in spirit.
Question: Is unbelief keeping you from experiencing fullness in Christ and His power?