From the report of the evangelist Mark, we learn that the boy’s father first took him to the disciples, but they failed to “cast out the devil”. I don’t want to comment on their faith here, because despite my strong faith, I’m not sure if I would do such a miracle for someone in that condition. In Matthew 17, about the same case, the evangelist adds more details: “Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him hither to Me.” It seems that there are 2 barriers that prevent the miracle from happening. Jesus calls the people there “unbelievers and perverse.” What are people like now ?! There is no change from 2000 years ago until today, right! Sad!
(I can’t help but mention that this is also one of the reasons I love the Bible, that everything written in it is applicable to us, the people of the 21st century.)
But I feel sorry for the desperate father who takes his unfortunate child to the representatives of the Son of God, and they seem to have no strength to deal with this situation. And now the poor man’s hesitation throws him into an ocean of doubt. His only hope dies when he observes the helplessness of Christ’s disciples – not a word of them is heard, not a single prayer of theirs is answered, as if God has withdrawn from them, and the demon in the poor boy laughs at them.
We do not know how long they cried out to the spirit to leave the boy, we do not know how long they stood on their knees or with their hands raised in prayer, but there was definitely no result, and worst of all, they weakened the faith of the weary watching them with hope father.
But God intervenes …
even if sometimes it seems to take too long time. His delay is out of love for us, to trust Him completely and unreservedly, to acknowledge that human means and conditions are not like God’s, to humble ourselves and trust that His methods are the best, though sometimes they may seem strange.
The Father meets the Heavenly God in person, in flesh and blood through Jesus Christ, and completely humanly cries:
“but if you can do something, have mercy on us and help us.”
“If you can”
– in the time of Christ, few have acknowledged that He is what He claims to be – the Son of God, God the Son. If this man believed that Jesus was God, he would not say these words, because God can do EVERYTHING. He may have wanted to say without recognizing God in Jesus of Nazareth: “If you have greater faith than mine, and especially greater faith than that of your disciples …”
– do what ?! To tell the demon, to make a schedule of when he is planing to throw his son into fire or water so the father to be prepared? Or should he sacrifice himself for his son and accept the devil instead? …
“Have mercy on us”
– The father is really desperate at the limit of his strength … and his faith. He cannot and does not want to offer monetary rewards. He has heard, and may have seen, this strange healer and Master performing miracles – restoring sight to the blind people, clearing leprosy, raising the paralytics, and even saying that he raises the dead. Why shouldn’t his son touch the mercy of this miracle worker and receive a normal and full life?
– sounds like an acknowledgment that all resources have been exhausted, all therapists, physicians, and famous healers in the country have been visited, but no help has been found. “You are our only hope, we have tried everything that depends on us and that is within our power, but nothing worked.”
verse 23: “And Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”
It is as if Jesus is telling him, “My heart overflowed with love and compassion when I saw you in the crowd: hunched over and worried, crushed by the weight of the pain on your child, watching him completely helpless as the devil tormented him and convulsed in pain. I not only, that I can, but I will do not just something, but I will give complete healing to your child, yes, I will help him!
(Ah, that big “but”! Can’t things happen without “but”? Here Jesus says “IF”, and that “if” sounds like a condition, the only condition!)
The most important condition for a miracle to happen is – FAITH! And perhaps the hardest thing to do sometimes /
If you BELIEVE!
“If you believe that what you came for will happen, it will become a reality.” But Jesus did not stop there. He added: “Anything is possible for one who believes.” Jesus not only wants to satisfy the father’s request, but he also wants to teach him a lesson in faith.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. By faith we understand that the [c]worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:1, 3)
If the father did not have a drop of faith, that the disciples or their teacher could do something, he would not bother to take his possessed son to them at all. But there was another problem:
verse 24: “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
That sounds almost like the request of Jesus’ disciples, “Give us faith.”
The father comes to get help for his son, but in fact he needs help too.
How much faith does he need to heal his son? How much faith do disciples need to learn to trust Jesus and begin to forgive unconditionally and to love their neighbors as themselves without prejudice?
Luke 17: 6. “So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.“
Jesus hardly wants us to use this amazing gift of faith to do unnecessary tricks. He simply gives an example to illustrate the power hidden in the heavenly gift of FAITH, and that we can have it.
I also found the full recipe for faith in the last book of the Bible, Revelation 14:12
“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”
I don’t think faith is a constant.
It is a force that either increases, powered by the right source, or decreases. It turns out that patience, keeping God’s commandments, and Jesus’ faith are directly related. I would like to reach the highest standard – the faith of Jesus. But I, like the disciples and the father of the demonized boy, come before my God with all my doubts, disbelief, impatience, difficulty in trusting those who betrayed me, and all that would cause my faith to diminish.
So, the father returned with new faith and with his healed child – a young man full of strength and radiating calm, happiness, optimism and great gratitude for his new life.
Those of Christ’s disciples who did not trust him later fell away, and Judas Iscariot even betrayed him. But those of them who allowed Jesus to work with them and change them for the better, received the FAITH they lacked and became those apostles of Christ who set the beginning of Christianity and whom history will remember forever.
P.s “If you believe ….. Everything is possible for the one who believes”!