Jesus Heals a Boy with an Unclean Spirit
A desperate father pleads with Jesus to heal his son from convulsions that are destroying him. He had begged the disciples to drive it out, but they could not. Jesus gives an unusual response, “O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you…” The son is brought to Jesus and he heals him.
In order to better understand this encounter, it is helpful to read Matthew and Mark for additional details. Matthew 17:19-20 describes the disciples asking Jesus in private why they could not drive out the demon, and he replied, “Because you have so little faith.” In Mark 9:23 -24, Jesus made a similar statement to the boy’s father: “Everything is possible for him who believes.” The father exclaimed, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!” In Mark 9:29, Jesus tells the disciples that “this kind can come out only by prayer.”
What Jesus asks of the disciples, the boy’s father, and us today, is a wholehearted belief in him. An earnest belief that he can and will bring healing to all the brokenness in our lives. How does this apply to us today? Well, without a doubt, we despair of things that we do not think will resolve the way that we perceive is “best.” We apply our own timelines, expectations, and resolutions that may not be God’s. We find ourselves spinning with anxiety when it is not really what we should be doing. A true examination of our hearts during these times reveals that we are lacking in trust and faith that God will resolve these heavy concerns we are holding onto. We can almost hear those same words spoken above applied to us: “O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?
Crying out to God in prayer places us in the position to receive His powerful healing. This cry acknowledges His sovereign power over all circumstances. Jesus is there in our time of need and distress. Jesus’ prayer for the boy is what drove out the demon causing his convulsions. The Lord wants us to come to Him before we are exhausted, believing in His promises that He has mercy on us, loves us, and will guide us through all things. Let’s come to Him first in prayer, believing that he will direct our path. There is power in prayer.
Our unwavering belief in Christ as our healer and our willingness to receive prayer for any of our troubles is a powerful combination for restoration and healing.
Dear Lord, we come before you knowing that we fall short in our sin, belief, and faith. We know that with faith “as small as a mustard seed” you can do great things through us that glorify you and your Kingdom. Help us to have courage to step into all that you would have us do. Open our eyes and hearts to a world that needs healing, and may we be vessels used by you.
Anne Bloom serves as a vestry member, and Ruthie McIntosh is a former vestry member of The Falls Church Anglican.