And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?
How strong is our Faith?
When the father who had a son who was demon-possessed brought his son to Jesus, he told Him that he had taken him to the disciples, but they couldn’t cast out the demon (Mark 9:18). Jesus then rebuked them that they had such little faith. Was Jesus rebuking the man, the disciples, or both that they lacked the faith to have the demon cast out of him? It may have been the disciples. Jesus may have been talking to the crowd, too, that had gathered around Him (Mark 9:15) and saying this to the people of that generation because He addresses His rebuke of their little faith to the “faithless generation.” Apparently, the scribes couldn’t help the man whose son was demon-possessed, and maybe that’s what they were arguing about (Mark 9:14). Whomever Jesus was talking to, He was correct that the generation in which Jesus did His earthly ministry did not have faith (as He called it “faithless”), or at least much of it. Is today’s society much the same as then?
Jesus asked the son’s father how long this had been happening, to which the son’s father responded that this demon had possessed the boy since childhood (Mark 9:21), indicating that it must have been at least several years. The Greek word used for son was “huios.” This word is rarely used for a young son, boy, or child, so this son had experienced many years of demon possession. Can you imagine what the father and his family had been going through in their home all those years, living with a demon-possessed child and then son? The father asked Jesus to have compassion on his son (Mark 9:22). Jesus then refocuses on faith, telling the young man’s father, “If you can, all things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23). The father says he has faith, but he fears that his faith is not strong enough, so he cries out to Jesus to help him with his faith, which was apparently very weak (Mark 9:24). The word “cries out” means a very loud, desperate cry that must have been heard for several-hundred yards because the Greek word used for cry is “krazō” and means to “cry out loud,” which is the same word for when a crow cries out. This man is clearly desperate for Jesus’ help.
Casting out the Demons
After Jesus had commanded the demon to leave the boy, of course the demon had no choice but to leave because even the demons are subject to Jesus. The disciples were trouble by this and asked why they couldn’t cast out the demon (Mark 9:28), to which Jesus responded that this kind of demon exorcism must be done with prayer, and some manuscripts say “and with fasting” (Mark 9:29). Today many believers have a specific demon that hounds them. It could be the demon of pornography, of alcohol, drugs, or of anger. No believer has ever been seen to be possessed in the New Testament church because greater is He, the Holy Spirit, that is in them than the demon or devil that is in the world (1 John 4:4), but it does take much prayer and fasting to have these kinds of demons leave. Jesus would ask you, “What about your faith?” Do you need Jesus’ help with your disbelief or lack of faith? Just ask because God meets us in our “small faith” place and can increase it.
A Closing Prayer
Oh Holy Father, please forgive me when I have little faith, and please help me to grow in my faith and to learn to trust you more. I need your help in overcoming my own sins, and it is in the strong and glorious name of Jesus I pray.
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