Markby Robert M. Solomon
How different the noisy and messy plains were from the dignified scene on the glorious mountain! Campbell Morgan wrote, ″He found disputing scribes, a distracted father, a demon-possessed boy, and defeated disciples . . . He silenced the scribes, He comforted the father, He healed the boy, He instructed the disciples.″7 The scribes were arguing with the other disciples because of their inability to exorcise the demon that had caused the boy to be mute. In desperate tones, the father told Jesus about how his son had suffered from childhood. The evil spirit caused fit-like symptoms and often threw the boy into fire or water in order to kill him (vv. 17-22). It was a helpless situation. Jesus was disappointed when he said, ″You unbelieving generation″ (v. 19). Was He speaking about the scribes, the disciples, the father, the crowd, or all of them? The problem was lack of faith. The father told Jesus ″if you can do anything, take pity on us″ (v. 22). Jesus corrected him by saying that the issue was not the power of Jesus but whether the man had faith (v. 23). The man replied with an honest prayer. ″I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief! (v. 24). He knew that he had faith but it was also deficient. Jesus then delivered the boy from the vicious demon. He knew it was a ″deaf and mute spirit″ (v. 25) and forbade it to return. Jesus took the boy by the hand and lifted him to his feet (v. 27). How kind and gentle of Jesus! The boy's father must have been greatly relieved that what had troubled his family was now gone. The disciples were astounded and the scribes were silenced. Later, in private, as they would often do, the disciples sought further explanation from Jesus. They asked Him why they could not drive out the evil spirit (v. 28). After all, Jesus had given them authority over demons (Mark 6:7). Jesus answered that this particular kind of spirit (perhaps higher up in the demonic hierarchy) ″can come out only by prayer″ (v. 29). Some manuscripts have the phrase ″prayer and fasting″. As Warren Wiersbe wrote, ″faith must be cultivated through spiritual discipline and devotion.″8 Authority is not just a gift but a fruit from within a totally committed heart. 7G. Campbell Morgan, The Gospel According to Mark (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1927), 194. 8Warren Wiersbe, Be Diligent: Serving Others as You Walk with the Master Servant (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010), 109.
How does belief mix with unbelief? To what extent has faith to do with what you know about Jesus and how much you trust Him? Turn your thoughts into prayer.
Jesus took time to teach and train His disciples and gave it priority (vv. 30-31). Why do you think this was necessary? How can our time with important people in our lives (family, colleagues, and mentees) be threatened by the constant demands on our time from other urgent matters?