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Summary: Satan is not to be trifled with

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Why could we not cast him out? by Gerald Van Horn

Mark 9:28 “And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could we not cast him out?”

This was a humiliating experience for the disciples. Crowds were following them. They were faced with a dumb spirit. They were completely powerless. They secretly and quietly ask the question, “Why could we not cast him out?” They had seen our Lord cast out spirits. They had obeyed His voice. What had happened? Why were the disciples helpless?

1. The situation they faced.

All three writers give us a picture of the setting:

Matthew 17:18 says he was possessed by the devil.

Luke 9:39 says he was possessed by a spirit.

Mark 9:25 says he was possessed by a foul spirit.

At any rate it was a tragic experience. The church today faces the same situation.

The devil is more cunning and subtle today. The Devil knows his time is short.

2. The failure they expressed.

“ they could not..” They were helpless to help this boy. They were powerless. This reminds me of the Sons of Sceva in Acts 19:15-16. The church today has

entered in spiritual dry places. No miracles. No souls. The church today needs the the power of God to break the power of Satan. We find an increasing immoral drift that is unchecked. There are more blasphemers today than ever before. We see an increase in crime on every hand. Even our children are not safe anymore. Pornography is every where. Only the power of God can stop the rampage of Satan.

3. The question they asked.

Great shame was upon the disciples. This could have been their finest hour and they blew it. They made a feeble attempt to cover their shame. They asked in private. I have tried to put myself in their shoes. I too would have been ashamed. There is not a

worse feeling in the world than this kind of helplessness. However, they found grace in eyes of the Lord.

4. The answer they needed.

Jesus was quick to respond to their question. Why? The Lord states three things:

1) Lack of faith. Matthew 17:20 “And Jesus answered them, Because of your unbelief.” Mark 17:6 “If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamore tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea, and it should obey you.”

2) Lack of prayer. Mark 2:29 “ This kind can come forth by nothing, but prayer.”

3) Lack of fasting. Mark 9:29 ...”and fasting.”

Though the text does not say so. But I feel there must also be the anointing. Isaiah 10:27 “ The yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord, is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 61:1-2.

5. The miracle they witnessed

In Mark 9:25-27 the disciples witnessed the power of God in dealing with those possessed with evil spirits. The father of this child exhibited great faith. v.24. The final work depended completely on the Lord. God is so gracious, however, that He often works in conjunction with man.


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