Jesus Heals a Sick Boy!

March 20, 2021

“Jesus took hold of the boy’s hand and helped him stand up” ~Mark 9:27

If you’ve ever been baffled and/or challenged by a section of Scripture regarding what Jesus said and meant, this is probably one of those. His reaction to a father’s request to heal his son and rebuking his disciples gives us pause to consider the meaning. The section follows:

Mark 9:14-29 – 14-15 Then as they rejoined the other disciples, they saw that they were surrounded by a large crowd, and that some of the scribes were arguing with them. As soon as the people saw Jesus, they ran forward excitedly to welcome him.

16 “What is the trouble?” Jesus asked them. 17-18 A man from the crowd answered, “Master, I brought my son to you because he has a dumb spirit. Wherever he is, it gets hold of him, throws him down on the ground and there he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth. It’s simply wearing him out. I did speak to your disciples to get them to drive it out, but they hadn’t the power to do it.”

19 Jesus answered them, “Oh, what a faithless people you are! How long must I be with you, how long must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.”

20 So they brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it convulsed the boy, who fell to the ground and writhed there, foaming at the mouth.

21 “How long has he been like this?” Jesus asked the father.

22 “Ever since he was a child,” he replied. “Again and again it has thrown him into the fire or into water to finish him off. But if you can do anything, please take pity on us and help us.”

23 “If you can do anything!” retorted Jesus. “Everything is possible to the man who believes.”

24 “I do believe,” the boy’s father burst out. “Help me to believe more!”

25 When Jesus noticed that a crowd was rapidly gathering, he spoke sharply to the evil spirit, with the words, “I command you, deaf and dumb spirit, come out of this boy, and never go into him again!”

26 The spirit gave a loud scream and after a dreadful convulsion left him. The boy lay there like a corpse, so that most of the bystanders said, “He is dead.”

27-28 But Jesus grasped his hands and lifted him up, and then he stood on his own feet. When he had gone home, Jesus’ disciples asked him privately, “Why were we unable to drive it out?”

29 “Nothing can drive out this kind of thing except prayer,” replied Jesus. J.B. Phillips Translation

Imagine the surprise at Jesus’ response to the father’s description of what happened, or rather, didn’t happen. The desperate man, anxious to see his only son healed, is instead rebuked by the Lord. First he is frustrated and disappointed with the disciples’ inability to cast out the demon and then, when Jesus appears He rebukes everyone for a lack of faith. Can anyone cast out this demon? Finally, he thinks, Jesus will restore my son to a normal life. 

Not quite yet! Even though the boy thrashes about when he’s brought to Jesus, He asks the father questions instead of simply casting out the demon. Imagine the scene as Jesus and the father talk about frequency and how long this has been going on while the boy is convulsing nearby. Finally the father begs the Lord to heal his son.

Then Jesus challenges the father with, “If you can do anything? Everything is possible to the man who believes.” And since this is real life instead of a movie script, the father candidly, probably with tears, laments, “I do believe. Help me to believe more.” Jesus grants that request and heals his son. But did he?

Instead of rising up, after a piercing, demonic last ditch scream, the boy lay as dead. All who witnessed this exclaimed, “He is dead!” Not so. Jesus took his hands and raised him up into his father’s grateful arms.

The thoroughly confused disciples then took Jesus away from the crowd and asked, “Why were we unable to drive [the demon] out?” These were men of faith and action, who had seen and done miracles. Why were we so powerless, they wondered. What is the secret? In keeping with our Lord’s mysterious answers, He simply says, “Nothing can drive out this kind of thing except prayer!”

If you are like me, you vow to ask God to help you to believe more and pray more.

Hosanna!


“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”  ~Mark 11:10

He was murdered! First horribly beaten. Then forced to carry his own cross to Golgatha for his crucifixion. And then, instead of shouting something mighty and springing off the cross— He died! They saw him die. Their minds swam with confusion. How could it be? He said he was the Messiah. He performed many miracles and taught with power.

He was known as a carpenter’s son but he claimed to be God— the Messiah! He caused trouble wherever he spoke and he spoke to thousands of people desperate for the truth, for hope.

“So Jesus and his disciples got up and went with [the father whose daughter had died]. Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, for she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment.”  ~Matt. 9:19-22

He infuriated the religious leaders who plotted to kill him. Yes, their solution was to kill the King of Glory! After all, he was a heretic according to them. They refused to believe his claims of being the living Messiah, torn from the pages of their sacred texts. God would not appear as an ordinary man, born to poor people in a small village. And what about the outrageous idea of the virgin birth? Heresy!

When speaking to his own disciples, he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~John 14:6. More than 2,000 years later, as we read this statement from the Book of John, we easily understand what Jesus meant. And yet, his followers, his closest brethren, were still confused.

Although His arrest and death upon the cross was imminent, victory was just around the corner for his followers and for us. “For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

Some people wonder how the Jews and Romans were able to kill Jesus if he is who he says he is. Jesus addresses that as follows:  “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” ~John 10:18

Jesus was and is, the sinless one who died in our place. He paid the penalty for all our sins. Faith in Christ cleanses our souls and transforms us into new creations, fully acceptable to face our Heavenly Father. But that’s not all, is it. No. There is one more step in this incredible process of redemption and victory over sin and death.

“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” ~1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday as some churches now name it, celebrates Jesus’ transformation from death to life. He was dead. Oh yes He was. Wrapped in grave clothes, sealed in a tomb. But death could not hold the Savior. Our Redeemer rose from the dead on the third day, according to God’s perfect plan!

“Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.” ~Matthew 28:1-7

So you see, Easter Sunday is a celebration of the cornerstone of our faith the lynchpin of our eternal forgiveness. Right this moment, Jesus is alive, at the right hand of God, pleading for us in accordance with God’s perfect plan. “But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. . .For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy (all believers in Christ). ~Hebrews 10:12-14

Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22

Hope Springs Eternal, Part 2

And that was it. He leaped off the couch, headed for the bookshelf and took his Bible to the dining room table. And there he sat until he was washed from head to toe with God’s never-failing promises and words of encouragement. And some of them that spoke to his heart were as follows:  

  • Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18  
  • Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. Philippians 4:6-8  
  • And my God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory, in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19  
  • Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. . .If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God who gives to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. James 1:2-5  
  • Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10  
  • Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light. Matthew 11:28-30  
  • For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7  
  • Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord, and by means of His mighty power. Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will stand up against the devil’s evil tricks. For we are not fighting against human beings, but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So take up God’s armor now! Ephesians 6:10-13  
  • Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5 

By then, his mind was beginning to recall scriptures and stories of God stepping into peoples lives, fighting battles for them, performing miraculous deeds, beyond human understanding or explanation. Tears began to fill his eyes and course down his cheeks, dripping off his jaw line, raining onto the table and Bible pages.  

“Oh Lord, forgive me for doubting you again. I know you brought us to Oregon but when I saw what seemed to be failure, I believed what I saw instead of your many promises and words of encouragement. Thank you dear God for whatever the future brings. Whether we stay or get evicted we will praise Your name forever.”