Summary: Today's Sermon looks at the topic of unbelief or doubts from the story of the father of the demon possessed son.
Help My Unbelief
After Jesus’s return from the Mount of Transfiguration, He is met by His disciples and what would seem like a mob.
What happened is that a father brought to Jesus his son to be healed saying, “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)
The father went on to say later than it would throw him into either fire or water to destroy him (Mark 9:22).
Now by the description given of this boy’s condition, medical science would list this as a severe form of epilepsy seeing that these seizures happen almost anywhere and at any time where he would fall into fires and get burned, or falling into water where he could drown.
When I look at this explanation and how we look upon illnesses and diseases, it would seem that we really haven’t progressed as far as people would like to think. Clearly humanity has taken great strides in the area of medical science, but they have left out the spiritual equation. They deal with the physical and emotional, but never consider the spiritual in their diagnoses.
In going through the concept of providing spiritual first aid in my next book, what I have found is that many doctors are beginning to change their tune in this area treating the whole person, that is, body, soul, and spirit, and to separate one from the other, which is what has been done, does more harm than good.
We kind of get the same idea with this father and his son. It seems like he visited all the doctors in the land, but nothing could be done for his son, and this had been going on for some time, seeing as the father said it had been happening from the boy’s childhood.
Now, when Jesus came near it says about the boy, “Immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.” (Mark 9:20b NKJV) But how do we know it is spiritual and not just the medical condition of epilepsy? By the words Jesus used.
“‘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.” (Mark 9:25b-26a NKJV)
Now, the father also used the description of a mute spirit, that is, he had no idea what was causing this boy’s condition, nothing and no one had revealed it. And many times, this is what is going on in our lives. We have no idea, and nothing seems to work.
But from Jesus’s words, it was clear that what caused the boy to fling himself onto the ground and foam at the mouth wasn’t epilepsy; rather it was a demonic spirit.
But prior to casting out the demonic spirit, Jesus did something very interesting. He didn’t immediately cast it out, but rather He looked at the father and said,
“If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23 NKJV)
And here is where we really need to stop and look at what the father said. He was completely and totally honest. He admitted that he had unbelief, that he didn’t have complete faith and trust.
“Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:24 NKJV)
What was it that he didn’t quite believe? Was it that his son could be healed? Up to this point nothing and nobody was able to help. Maybe he didn’t believe that God could or would heal his son, or was his doubt in Jesus?
Guess what, we don’t know. But Jesus healed his son without there being the type of faith that one would think. Even prior to the healing, Jesus said to the people around, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you?” (Mark 9:19 NKJV)
And how can we proceed in understanding this healing and the faith that it required seeing that Jesus said that if he believed that all things were possible, and the father clearly said that he had his doubts. So why did Jesus heal this man’s son?
Let me just give you what I believe from what Jesus did. I think it had nothing to do with the boy’s faith, because clearly, he was controlled by the demonic spirit. I think it had everything to do with the father, but not his faith, but rather his honesty.
You see, we’re no different than this father. Yes, we believe. When we came to faith in Jesus Christ, making Him our Savior and Lord, we came by grace through faith, the Apostle Paul said (Ephesians 2:8-9).