Jesus Heals a Boy Possessed by an Impure Spirit
“When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
“What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 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.”
“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.” So, they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.[a]”
My eldest daughter is a doctor of physical therapy. That alone is a miracle. She studied and worked hard throughout her public school years and yet the results were not always reflective of that work. Once she entered college she leaned on the lessons learned from getting help early and how to study. She excelled beyond belief. As a physical therapist she has seen the fruits of her labor – the healing power of her education. She has helped many women in the specialty of lower abdomen and uterine pain. I’m so proud of her. That being said, as my faith journey moves along, I’ve accepted that some healing only comes from prayer.
“Begin to rejoice in the Lord, and your bones will flourish like an herb, and your cheeks will glow with the bloom of health and freshness. Worry, fear, distrust, care—are all poisonous! Joy is balm and healing, and if you will but rejoice, God will give power.”A.B. Simpson
I like this quote because it reminds me of an amazing healing I saw take place in a friend many years ago. She had fallen and broken her upper arm. For many months she went to doctors’ appointments and had all sorts of imaging. And yet her bone was not naturally re-growing and healing. It became the usual sight to see her in an arm sling that year. She was like a baby bird with a broken wing. Her disappointment after each doctor’s appointment was evident. And yet she kept praying for healing. At the end of that painful year I still recall seeing her at church one day and she was full of joy! Her doctor, on the other hand was so perplexed. At her appointment that week she had another x-ray. And her bone was completely healed. The specialists had no explanation. But she knew the amazing answer. Her prayers were heard.
I love how the father in the Bible verse today has the guts to admit to Jesus’ face that he has doubts. “IF you can do anything” is what he says. And then asks for help in overcoming his unbelief. My friend Betsy once shared a powerful prayer technique with my BSGs. She said if you aren’t ready to believe or take action then ask, in prayer, for help in believing.
How many of us, when faced with illness or injury aren’t really sure God can heal? So many of us tend to rely solely on our surgeons, psychologists, specialists, etc. And we forget to turn to God for healing or even to ask for His guiding hands for those gifted doctors. If you are unsure, pray to resolve your unbelief. When the disciples asked Jesus why they weren’t able to cure the boy in this amazing Bible event he responded by telling them they needed to draw on the power of God through prayer.
The disciples had been careless with their personal spiritual walk and had neglected communing with God through prayer and fasting.Warren Wiersbe, New Testament Bible Commentary
Notice this is not about praying “enough” or being faithful “enough.” It’s about praying and being faithful and believing. His amazing healing power is available to the faithful. And while we may not always know why or when He chooses to heal someone or not, we need to rest in trust that He has a plan far greater than ours. We must never stop praying and asking for His amazing healing power.