Mark 9:20-29 - And they brought the boy to Jesus. And when the spirit saw Him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." And Jesus said to him, "'If You can'! All things are possible for one who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, "He is dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when He had entered the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" And He said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer."
Jesus, Peter, James, and John had just recently been on the Mount of Transfiguration. Sometime afterwards, they rejoin the disciples. When they do, they see their colleagues are having a time of it. There's a great crowd around them; the scribes are blasting them with questions and nit-picking as usual. When Jesus and the others arrive, He asks them what all the arguing is about.
While Jesus was away, a man brought his son to the disciples, desperately hoping for big things for his son's demon possession. Try as the disciples might've, nothing works. They were unable to help the boy. We don't know what they did to confront this unclean spirit. They may have searched for the words Jesus said to the last demon He cast out, thinking it would work this time, too. Jesus tells them it was prayer that was needed.
In the end, Jesus, naturally, had to take charge—and He does. He rebukes the unclean spirit, naming it for what it is—a "mute and deaf spirit"—and casts it out. But even then, the evil spirit convulses the child terribly, draining him of all strength, leaving him like a corpse. "But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose."
And how we want Jesus to do the same for you and me! Lost in our sin, torn this way and that by everything that afflicts us inside, Jesus breaks through and lifts us to safety. He knows our pain and what torments us; He experienced it fully; He took it to the cross and destroyed it through His death and resurrection.
Talk to Him. He can handle whatever you're dealing with.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus who lifts us to safety. In His Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. Have you ever tried to help someone but you weren't able to? What prevented you?
2. How do you think the disciples felt when they couldn't help the boy? Do you think that Jesus telling them that prayer was important was an eye-opener for them?
3. What's your typical response to life when things get overwhelming?
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