Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy
After the transfiguration, Jesus—along with Peter, James, and John—returned to join the other disciples. They discovered a large crowd had gathered and was arguing with some scribes. Why? A man had a mute son with an unclean spirit, and the disciples had been unable to heal him.
A Life With No Peace
The Gospel of Mark records that the boy had been controlled by the demon since childhood. To be clear, this was no picnic—the demonic world is bent on wreaking havoc and destruction on God’s creation. This particular spirit made the boy deaf and mute, and frequently cast the boy into fire or water with the intent of destroying him.
For the majority of his life, this boy knew nothing of peace. To be controlled by an evil spirit was to know only a life of chaos and terror. This boy needed Jesus, but would Jesus heal him? Those around Jesus didn’t seem so sure.
Jesus Calls for Faith
Jesus took note of their disbelief. First, he bemoaned the “faithless generation” (Matthew 17:17; Mark 9:19; Luke 9:41). It is possible Jesus had in mind only the disciples, who had failed to heal the boy. But more than likely he meant the crowd as well, since the term generation is typically used to denote a broad group.1
Jesus also addressed the father: “All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23).
The father responded, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). When things around us seem out of our control, unbelief is a natural response. If you’ve ever found yourself despairing, trusting God may seem like a foreign concept. But Jesus isn’t asking for perfect faith. Jesus meets us in our doubt and teaches us that “imperfect faith can be perfected.”2
Jesus Restores the Boy to Life
Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and said, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again” (Mark 9:25). With violent convulsions, the demon departed. As the boy lay on the ground, the people feared the worst. But this wasn’t death for the boy. On the contrary, Jesus had instilled new life. To the astonishment of all who watched, “Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose” (Mark 9:27).
This boy awakened with a new outlook on life. Formerly, the only voices he heard were from the demons inside his head. Now he used the ears bestowed to him by his creator to listen to the voice of the one who had healed him. Misery turned to joy. Chaos to calm. Not because of any spectacular display of faith, but simply because a father called out to Jesus.
1 Bock, "Mark," 256.
2 Bock, "Mark," 257.