A boy had been brought to the disciples of Jesus for healing. This boy was possessed by an evil spirit that had taken control of the boy and was hurting him badly. The spirit caused him to be cast into fire and water, seized him and cast him to the ground foaming at the mouth and grinding his teeth.
The disciples were asked to cast the spirit out of the boy, but the were unable to do so. When the father of the boy saw Jesus he came to him imploring him to help if he was able.
Here we see one of the keys to healing, both in this and all other cases. There is a question of faith in this section of scripture. The man begged Jesus to help him “If you can.” (Verse 22)
Jesus responded saying, “If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.” (Verse 23) Here is a powerful call to faith for the people of God. What Jesus is saying here is that for those who have faith nothing will be impossible. If a matter is in the will of God and a person has faith, then it will be done for them. There is no “maybe” in Jesus’ words but a positive statement that through faith anything can be done.
The father of the boy recognising his unbelief, possibly because the disciples had not been able to heal the boy, cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Verse 24) This man was desperate and desperately wanted to believe so that his son would be healed. Jesus took compassion on the man and the boy and rebuked the demon from him.
Now faith is a funny thing. You either have it or you don’t. The disciples once asked Jesus saying, “Increase our faith!” But Jesus replied, “And the Lord said, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, ‘Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:5-6)
What he showed is that you don’t need a lot of faith to be able to do remarkable things. But how do you get faith and then how does it grow? There is no doubt that faith can grow but what is the process by which this happens?
Knowledge is the key, and specifically the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) When a person hears the words of the gospel and they internalise it, that is when faith as a grain of mustard seed is born. As a person continues to learn more about Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God, their faith is strengthened. They begin to see the power of God working in their own life and the lives of those around them. That is how faith grows and strengthens over time.
When Jesus healed this boy, faith was born in the father. It is clear from the father’s own comments that he had little or no faith prior to this. He brought the boy to the disciples in the hope that the boy might be healed, but their inability to heal the boy would have crushed the father’s hope until Jesus arrived.
As for the disciples, after the event they asked Jesus why they were unable to cast out the demon. The Lord said here that, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” (Verse 29) By this he is saying it required the direct intervention of God to cast out this demon.
Jesus had given the disciples the authority to cast out demons, but it is evident that the disciples own faith was weak. We see this in Jesus first statement when told that the disciples could not cast the demon out. He said, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you?” (Verse 19) In other versions of this event we see Jesus say to the disciples that the reason they could not cast the demon out was because of their lack of faith, again emphasising that faith is the key to healing. However he also provided the process by which that can be overcome, and that is through prayer.
When our faith to do something is weak, even when we have the authority to do it as the disciples had been given (Mark 3:15), we can always put the matter into the hands of the Lord through prayer. When we come to God in prayer we are humbling ourselves under his almighty power and putting the issue into to his hands. We are laying our burdens at the feet of the Lord for his intervention and resolution. And this is OK for we are told to, “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7).
Anytime we are overwhelmed by the issues of the world or have what appear to be insurmountable problems, let us remember this teaching. Have faith and anything is possible to you. And if it seems too daunting, give the problem to the Lord in prayer for his resolution and in good time it will be resolved.
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