MEANTIME the other disciples were at the foot of the mountain. A multitude was about them, for a man had brought his son to be healed, who had been, from a child, possessed by an unclean spirit. We have learned of others who were possessed. You remember the man in the synagogue at Capernaum, who cried out with fear at the Lord’s presence. You surely remember the two who met the Lord on the east side of the Sea of Galilee, who lived in the tombs, exceeding fierce, how they too cried out as the Lord came near, and at His word the devils went out into the swine. Even children were possessed and driven by the devils to do harm to themselves and others. Evil spirits have not the same power over men to-day which they had at the Lord’s coming. It is because the Lord overcame them and protects us from them. Read of the man and his son who came to the disciples at the foot of the mountain of transfiguration. What a sad picture, and how plainly it teaches that the only power to cast out devils, and the only power to overcome any evil thing, is the Lord’s. We have no strength of our own, but only as we trust Him and ask His help.
And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it. For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.—Mark IX. 14-32.
Author: William L. Worcester 1904
Fire and water >> The burning of evil passion, and the corresponding false thoughts
When the devil was cast out, the boy was as dead >> When we let the Lord overcome any evil in us, it is a laying down of the old life to receive a new life
Belief in the Lord was needed in the father of the boy before the boy could be healed, the disciples’ lack of power was because of their unbelief >> Thy faith hath made thee whole >> True knowledge and practical living acknowledgment of the Lord give His Divine power access to our souls
“Why could not we cast him out?” >> Over self-confidence
“This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting” >> Miracles and healing come about only when we trust the Lord with all our heart and confess our own utter helplessness
Pictures: James Tissot —-Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum