The watchman and his class found a dilemma in this verse. “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark9:24)
How can one have faith and still has doubt and unbelief at the same time?
This requires immediate investigation. Many cannot receive the healing and deliverance from their diseases and weaknesses because of this contradiction in them. The watchman’s study notes are in brackets.
A Boy Is Healed
14 And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. 15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. 16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?”
17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”
(A great multitude was there and they observed the physical condition of the sick boy and the failure of Jesus’ disciples to cast out the mute demon from him. They were even arguing with the ‘specialists’ -scribes over the treatment of this medical or mental case. The disciples had been given authority and power by Jesus previously and had been successful in their healing ministry. So why did they fail this time? The patient’s father of course complained to the master healer Himself. It was natural to react the way he did to failure and disappointment.)
19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”
(Jesus was not addressing the faithless crowd of bystanders or the patient and his father. They did not know Him or His power. Many had not even heard the full Gospel of the Kingdom of God and of Christ. Jesus was addressing His own disciples who had followed Him and lived with Him and witnessed His supernatural power and deeds. They had heard the full Gospel. They had been given authority and power by Him. Note how Jesus described them.)
20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.
21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”
And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe,all things are possible to him who believes.”
24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
(Note the conversation between the patient’s father and Jesus. How can anyone be believing and not believing at the same time? Was he telling lies? But the poor man was in tears. He was in front of a big crowd. Yet he continued pleading to Jesus to heal his son. So he must have heard of Jesus’ power and believed that Jesus could do it. Yet, he admitted that he had unbelief. Amazing. This is the theme of today’s message. Can we have faith and unbelief at the same time?)
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
(Note how simple the matter was. Jesus merely commanded and the evil spirit obeyed and came out of the boy. The boy might have looked terrible when he was possessed. But Jesus saw the evil spirit and not the patient. In the spiritual realm Jesus’ authority is recognized and obeyed.)
28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” **
(Note the conversation between the disciples and Jesus. The disciples were still obsessed with their job failure. They were looking at the physical (body and soul -mind and emotion) realm, the humiliation and inadequacy they felt in not delivering the required result.) But Jesus did not answer them about this ‘job’ or ‘performance assessment’. He revealed the true condition of their spirits. They were still living within the paradigm of their physical and natural world. they were unable to believe that Jesus’ Father (God)’s world is real, even though they could not see it. Jesus had taught them and demonstrated to them the reality of God and that He is from God. But their hearts were hardened by their preoccupation with the physical and natural and unbelief of the spiritual reality.)
Those who are not spiritually discerned cannot understand the things of God. God is Spirit. The Pharisees and Scribes cannot understand. Christians are expected to know and understand. But Many cannot. Why? Spiritual discernment comes from diligently seeking God, belief in the spiritual reality of God (and His word), being led by faith and not by sight. These are all essential in order to know and understand the matters of God, that is, the matters as revealed by the Holy Spirit (often through the word of God).
**Notes on FASTING: This does not mean certain evil spirits are so powerful that the disciples cannot cast it out even by Jesus Name. The fasting is for the disciples to cast their own flesh and unbelief of God’s spiritual reality. Unbelief nullifies their use of the Name of Jesus and the authority therein over spiritual beings (e.g. evil spirits). They did not believe because they were walking by sight and not by faith. Their hearts were hardened by the world and worldly knowledge. They could not discern spiritual matters because they were not led by the Spirit.
Fasting deals with our flesh and carnal man.
Being a disciple means we need to deny ourselves (body, mind and emotion and everything that makes up us in the physical natural realm), take up our cross and follow Christ daily. Only sons of God are led by the Holy Spirit. Only when we walk and live by the Spirit, can we discern spiritual matters and war in the spiritual realm, taking the authority of the name of the Son of God, Jesus effectively.