Summary: We need to offer help to those who are unhealthy
Helping Unhealthy People
Dr. Tolliver has made the following statement:
“Spiritually healthy Christians coming together in healthy churches, going to an unhealthy world, with the healing Gospel of Jesus Christ”
This parallels what is going on this text. There is a man who comes to Jesus because his son has seizures. It says that he was “moonstruck,” or a form of epilepsy. The reason for the epilepsy is spiritual. A demon has possessed the boy.
SIDE NOTE: Are all mental illnesses from Satan? Does all sickness come from Satan? No. Jesus said in another place that some are from Satan, some from the environment we live in, and some illnesses come so that God may show His power.
But back to this story. Obviously the boy is unhealthy. What we first notice is that the father asked help from the disciples and they did help the boy.
We need to offer our help to those who are unhealthy.
The problem was that the disciples did not realize that they themselves were not spiritually healthy enough to help the unhealthy person. The disciples tried to heal the boy, but obviously did not pray enough for the healing to occur.
SIDE NOTE: How much prayer does it take to heal someone? Lots of prayer. We know this from the “bracketed” part in your Bible. The brackets mean that it is not in the earliest manuscripts and so it is questionable whether these words came from Jesus. But when we look at a parallel verse in Mark, only the fasting is omitted.
[However, this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.]"
(Matthew 17:21 HCSB)
And He told them, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer [and fasting]."
(Mark 9:29 HCSB)
Therefore, prayer was part of the healing process. Jesus healed the unhealthy boy by prayer and miraculous touch. Now before you judge my comments here, you need to see the thrust of this verse. The problem in this verse is not that the disciples could not heal. The issue is that the disciples did not believe that the boy could be healed.
Their problem was a problem of faith, not of works.
We need to really want to believe that unhealthy people can be healed.
Our problem today is to say that someone has “issues” but that the don’t need my help. Yes, we will let them come to us and we will try to help them, but we don’t really believe that they can be healed. Because we still believe that the problem is their fault and only they are responsible to get themselves out of their problems. It sounds like this:
“Yeah, well he is always been this way….I am not surprised that this happened to him.”
“She always treated people this way….she’ll never change.”
“I am not surprised in the way this has turned out.”
This means that the unhealthy person is not the only unhealthy one in the picture. I need to be spiritually healthy to help someone. This attitude will not help me see results.
If all I do is say these kinds of things to other people when they need my help, they will never see miracles in their lives come from this church.
If all I do is ignore their hurt, I will never see God really act. If all I do, is treat people like they can’t be healed, then I should not be surprised when they are not healed.
To put it another way – the reason Jesus was so mad at their unbelief (and I believe Jesus was speaking about the unbelief of the disciples, not the hurting, unhealthy people) – it was because the disciples never really cared that the people would be healed.
“Oh, he’s been acting like this for a long time.”
“His parents did something wrong and so they deserve this kind of kid.”
This doesn’t sound too different from many of the Christians today – does it?
If we prayed more, our attitudes would change.
The fact of the matter is that faith is tied to prayer. Little prayer creates little faith. The fact that Jesus was disappointed in the disciple’s faith in their ability to heal the unhealthy boy was tied to their prayer life.
If we want to see more changes in our church, then we need to praying more. If we want to see more unhealthy people be healed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to pray more. If we want to care more about our world for all these changes to happen, we need to pray more.
That is the challenge that Jesus gives us here. We need to pray more for the unhealthy people who don’t know Jesus.