Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mark 9:14-32

The Healing of a Boy with an Evil Spirit

14When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
16"What are you arguing with them about?" he asked.
17A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18Whenever 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."
19"O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."
20So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered. 22"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."
23" 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
24Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
25When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again."
26The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
28After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"
29He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer."
30They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise." 32But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.

We see here Jesus' power and His compassion. Jesus frees the boy from the evil spirit who had tormented him and held him captive. And I love the conversation Jesus has with the man's father. The boy's father says, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief." He's very honest, and this is something Christians can relate to. We have faith in Christ, we know what he's done for us, yet there are times where are faith may feel weak or when we may have doubts. But we too can speak to our Savior and say, "Help my unbelief." And He does! He strengthens our faith as we hear His word and as we receive His very body and blood.

Jesus at the end of this passage speaks of His death and Resurrection. We can rejoice in what His death and Resurrection means for us, and be thankful that our Savior has compassion on us just as He had compassion on this boy and his father.

1 comment:

Chris said...

What's interesting to me about the exorcism stories, especially in Mark's gospel, is that the demons seem to be the only ones who acknowledge Jesus for who He really is. There's an undercurrent of unbelief throughout that gospel, as evidenced by this passage. It's there even amongst the disciples. But, it is the demonic forces who recognize Jesus as the Son of God. I've always found that interesting.