Summary: Questions and Answers in Jesus Day: How Long Has This Been Happening? - PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


Cause of failure - Prayer ignored (vs 28-29)

Result of failure - Power obstructed (vs 14-18)

Cure for failure - Priority given (vs 17-27)


Key verse 21:


“Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?””


“Then he questioned his father, “How long has this been happening to him?””


• Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary in the field;

• He was given a car so that he could travel around the area.

• But the car had a problem! It would not start without a push.

• So after pondering his problem, he devised a plan.

• Near his home was a school that he was involved with;

• So in the mornings he permission from the school;

• To take some children out of class, and to push start his car.

• As he made his rounds, he had another plan;

• He would either park on a hill or leave the engine running.

• He used this ingenious procedure for over two years.

• After two years ill health forced the Jackson family;

• To leave their post and make plans to return home.

• An new missionary came to that station to replace Herbert Jackson;

• When Jackson handed him the keys to the car,

• He proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started.

• The new missionary did not look too impressed;

• And told Herbert Jackson to pop the bonnet and started to look around the engine.

• He then said; “Dr. Jackson, the only trouble here is this loose cable.”

• He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, turned on the ignition;

• And to Jackson’s astonishment, the engine roared to life.

• For two years needless trouble had become routine.

• The power was there all the time.

• Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting that power to work.

• Transition: The disciples of Jesus had known power.

• But now they were powerless!


We are told in Mark chapter 6 verses 6-7 & 13:

"Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits...

They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them”.

• Transition: The disciples of Jesus had known power;

• They had experienced God at work in a supernatural way.

• People were healed and demons were cast out!

• But now they were powerless!

• Now they are unable to help one single boy!

(1). Result of failure - Prayer ignored (vs 28-29)

(a). Quarrelling in the crowd (vs 14-16)

“When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.”

• The ‘they’ mentioned here in verse 14 are Jesus, Peter, James & John,

• They have been on the Mountain of Transfiguration.

Now when join up with the other disciples they are soon brought back to reality!

• From the peace of the mountain top;

• From the spiritual high of seeing Jesus in his glory.

• They come back down to earth with a bang!

• The situation is chaotic;

• Their experience a large crowd and an argumentative group of scribes.

• Then to top it all a distraught father brings his afflicted son to Jesus.

Jesus looked around at:

• The embarrassed disciples, the arguing religious leaders and the needy father and son;

• Jesus was saddened and angry at their attitudes;

• Their unbelief and spiritual perversity were a burden to him.

• He responds in verse 19:

“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

(b). Discussion of the problem (vs 17-18)

• The argument between the disciples and the religious leaders;

• All centres around a boy in habited by a demon.

• The disciples are powerless to help the boy;

• The religious leaders can only point their fingers and accuse.

• Meanwhile while all the frantic arguing and finger-pointing takes place;

• A father stands desperate for help for his victimised son.

“A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.””

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