The scenario surrounding this discussion between Jesus and the father of a demonized boy is an incredible picture of contrasts. In the first verses of Mark 9, Jesus and three of His disciples are on top of a mountain where Jesus is transfigured in such a way that His inward deity and glory begins to shine through His clothes and His skin (Mark 9:2-8). Suddenly, the Old Testament prophets Elijah and Moses appear and the Lord engages in a dialogue with them. Then the glory cloud of God descends upon Jesus and the voice of the Heavenly Father booms forth saying, “This is my beloved Son.” Reflecting back on this “mountain-top” spiritual experience we can understand why Peter and the others wanted to build shrines there and spend a great deal more time worshipping and enjoying the presence of the Lord.
But while Peter, James and John were tremendously enjoying this “mountain-top experience,” the other disciples were down in the valley experiencing discouragement and defeat. When presented with the opportunity to help a demonized boy, the other disciples were apparently helpless and faithless. The futility of their efforts is summarized by the boy’s father when later He said to Jesus, “I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it” (Mark 9:18).
Many times that phrase, “they couldn’t do it” characterizes the modern Christian and the modern church. When confronted with the problems, difficulties and demonic attacks experienced by individuals, families and churches in our world, oftentimes today’s contemporary followers of Jesus are powerless and helpless. They don’t know where to turn or what to do or how to overcome the attack of the enemy.
Question – “If confronted with a similar scenario where someone was experiencing demonic attack or oppression, would you be able to be helpful, or would you consider yourself to be virtually helpless?” The truth is most Christians today could do little more than wring their hands and say, “I can’t help you.”
When Jesus arrived on the scene, He of course was able to remedy the situation. The father said to Jesus, “Do something if you can” and Jesus responded by saying, “What do you mean if I can? Anything is possible if a person believes” (Mark 9:22-23). Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and commanded the spirit to leave the boy, never to return again. The boy was completely delivered from the demonic oppression that he had suffered with for so long (Mark 9:25-27).
In this story, Jesus identified the reasons why the disciples themselves weren’t able to cast out the demon. He said that because of their faithlessness and their prayerlessness they didn’t have the power or anointing to overcome this emissary of the Devil (Mark 9:19, 28-29).
Question – “What keeps you from overcoming (or helping others to overcome) the attack of the enemy?” Whatever it is, you need to remember that when Jesus arrives on the scene (which happens whenever we invite Him to do so), “all things are possible to those who believe” and to “those who have been praying.”
As you pray today: 1) Pray for the Lord to reveal to you any hindrances in your life (i.e. faithlessness or prayerlessness) that sometimes keeps you from successfully overcoming demonic attack – and then repent and ask the Lord to remove those hindrances from you; 2) Pray for the Lord to fill you with fresh power so that you can overcome every attack of the enemy, and help others to find freedom as well; and 3) Pray for others you know who are experiencing demonic attack. If you will turn to and rely on the Lord, He will enable you to overcome your “unbelief” and be victorious over the enemy (Mark 9:24).