By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Mark 9:14-16 (NIV): When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.
For those looking to be healed, they show a tremendous amount of faith. They travel incredible distances, endure ridicule and setbacks; yet their faith continues to strengthen. It is important to note this because as we continually see throughout scripture, it is our faith that heals us (Mark 10:52). We see a strong example of faith by the father whose son was demon possessed since childhood. This father likely explored several avenues over the years without success. He watched his son without control over his own body; try to kill himself by throwing his body into fires and water (v. 22). This father realistically spent most of his time in fear of his son’s (and his own) life being lost. And just when the father thought he found the solution to his problem, we see he was unsuccessful when he asked some of Jesus’ disciples for help in removing the demon.
Mark 9:17-18 (NIV): A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
Like all of us, the spirit can be willing but the flesh can be weak. The father in a moment of weakness uttered the words, “if you can” to Jesus and Jesus immediately noticed. When Jesus followed up with the father, the father without hesitation acknowledged his weakness and asked Jesus to help him with it.
Mark 9:21-24 (NIV): Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
We can see the example of the father requesting (praying) for his son to be healed and for help with his unbelief. We can also see Jesus crediting His ability to remove the demon to the power of prayer (v. 29). It appears the disciples did not pray as Jesus did, and like most of us, whenever we forget to pray, we end up failing. Let this be a healthy reminder that we have the power to change the world if we start with prayer. We have to lean on God’s strength and understanding, not our own.