Mark 9:21-22- “So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 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.” NKJV
Jesus and His disciples were returning from the mount of transfiguration when they notice a crowd of people with His other disciples. The scribes are disputing with His disciples, and as He comes upon them, He asks a question, “What are you discussing with them?”
Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 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 9:17-18 NKJV
Since Mark doesn’t make it plain what the discussion was about, and the man spoke up and shared this situation with Jesus, let’s just assume they were discussing the boy’s condition and the disciples inability to handle the situation.
The father brought his son to Jesus, but at the time Jesus was on the mount of transfiguration. When it was evident that Jesus wasn’t around, the father assumed that because of the disciple’s association with Jesus, they could get the job done.
Can you imagine watching your child going through such horrendous experiences as this father did? He said the demon threw his son down, caused him to foam at the mouth, to grind his teeth and then become rigid, locking his body. This was terrible! Yet, this was their reality! Most parents can’t bear their children having a fever, or the chicken pox, let alone seizures and fits that are demonically controlled. And if this wasn’t enough, the child had no ability to voice what he was feeling because he was mute.
I can imagine the father’s desperation. I can imagine his anguish over watching his son being tormented by the demon, and the helpless feeling that would overcome him as he watched his son being abused time and again by this demon. Jesus’ disciples were unable to assist him. They wanted to, and they tried to set him free, but to no avail. And the father’s state of hopelessness returns. So when he sees Jesus, hope is renewed and he races to Jesus to tell him what is going on.
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.” 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 9:19-20 NKJV
Bring him to Me! When they brought the boy to Jesus, the demon saw Jesus and immediately caused the boy to go into convulsions. Do you see that? The demon was putting on a show of defiance for Jesus, trying for the last time to destroy this boy. Because one thing the demon is certain of, his days of hurting this boy are over!
So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 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 9:21-22 NKJV
Jesus asks the father how long had his son been going through this? The father gives Jesus a summary of his son’s experiences. He tells Jesus that since his son was a boy he had been experiencing these episodes, or attacks from the enemy. When the episodes happened, his son was thrown in the fire and in the water to destroy him. Then he looks at Jesus and makes a heartfelt request: “But if You can do anything have compassion on us and help us.”
The father’s request is not just for the son, it is for him also. Everything that his son has experienced, the father has been right there with him. When the demon threw his son in the fire, he had to rescue him from the fire and bandage his wounds. When the demon threw his son in the water to drown him, he had to pull him out of the water to rescue him. I imagine he couldn’t let the boy out of his sight for long. Either that or he had someone assigned to watching over him. He loved his son and wanted him free. He had done all that he could and now he asks Jesus if there is anything that He could do for them, would He please have compassion on them and help them?
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”Mark 9:23-24 NKJV
Jesus said to the father, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” The father immediately cried out, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”
Jesus stated that if we can believe, all things are possible to him who believes! The ownership of faith is always on us! It’s not about what Jesus can do, but what we believe that Jesus will do!
My husband comes to mind when I think of a father’s request! Watching him over the years as he has prayed for our girls about situations in their lives reminds me of this father.
When I was pregnant with our second born, my husband prayed that we would have a healthy child, that I would have a natural delivery, and that it wouldn’t be expensive because we were paying out of pocket. Well, on the day of delivery, I had a C-section, our child was rushed to PICU, and we knew it was going to cost a lot of money. While this is in no way as severe as the father in our text, for us, it was major because they told us she could die.
He went back to the Father, and told him, “I asked for a natural delivery, and she had a C-section. I asked for a healthy baby, and we’re being told she could die on us because of her larynx being under developed, and I asked for the cost to be kept down, and its climbing into the thousands.” As he went to bed that night he meditated on this scripture:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV
The very next day when he arrived at the hospital things started changing! The hospital submitted paperwork to someone and the bill was taken care of by them. The money we had paid was returned to us. Our daughter is living her best life with no trace of what she experienced, and I recovered quickly!
Parents, our prayers make the difference in our children lives. No matter their age! And as this father was courageous in going to Jesus, and honest about where he was in his faith, so must we be!
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!” 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.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.Mark 9:25-27 NKJV
Jesus set that father’s son free. That deaf and dumb spirit had to release him at Jesus’ command! Jesus healed our daughter and she had no further issues with her larynx. He’s just good like that! Never underestimate your ability to pray a prayer that says, I have to have a yes! That’s called faith! Wonderful Jesus!