Chapter 31

The prayer God always answers
Mark 9:14-29 (ESV)


14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 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.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “’If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 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.” 26 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.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”


Mark 9:14-16
Down from the mountain

Jesus, Peter, James and John, having descended the mountain, see the other disciples surrounded by a crowd. The scribes are there. Often after a time of blessing—like Jesus’ transfiguration—difficult problems arise, often connected with awkward people! The amazed crowd greets Jesus, who asks, What are you arguing about with them?

Mark 9:17-24
The big problem and the far bigger prayer

The father of a spirit-possessed mute boy answers. He describes how his son’s demon possession produces serious convulsions. The unclean spirit causes him to fall, foam at the mouth, grind his teeth, and become rigid. His father says that Jesus’ disciples cannot liberate his boy by expelling his evil spirit. Jesus says His disciples, (whom He empowered earlier to cast out unclean spirits [1]), lack faith. Jesus has the boy brought to Him. Again convulsed by the spirit, he falls down and rolls around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus hears he has suffered like this from childhood, having been thrown into both fire and water. His father pleads, If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Jesus assures him that all is possible for anyone trusting Him personally. That is what ‘believe’ means.

The man’s reply is a wonderful prayer, encouraging today any feeling their faith is inadequate. He cries from the heart: I believe; help my unbelief.  He takes his unbelief to Jesus and asks Him to put it right. Jesus will always do that!

Mark 9:25-27
Jesus alone can save

Reversing the father’s unbelief and answering his prayer, Jesus commands the unclean spirit to leave the boy and never return. The demon obeys, convulsing the boy. He is so motionless that onlookers say He is dead. They are wrong! As Jesus takes the boy’s hand and lifts him up, he arises.

The boy’s deliverance parallels our saving faith in Christ. We can neither control all our actions nor save ourselves from sin and eternal death. We live physically, but are dead in our sins[2]. We are dead toward God. Only Jesus can save us.[3] He touches us through His pardoning death and powerful resurrection life. Responding to faith in Him, He takes us personally by the hand.  Jesus alone gives us eternal life. His strength and love begin to control and direct our lives, giving us purpose and peace.

Mark 9:28-29
A word to the disciples

Jesus says that to liberate a boy like the one He healed, they must pray. We too must cultivate a time of daily prayer and trust Him![4]



[1]    .  Mark 3:15.
[2]   .  Ephesians 2:1-2 tells the Ephesian Christians you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked until Christ gave them eternal life.
[3]    .  Romans 5:6.
[4]    .  Philippians 4:6.


Questions on Chapter 31
Mark 9:14-29 The prayer God always answers.

A. After a time of blessing on the mountain what do the disciples encounter with Jesus? Should you expect Satan to attack after a time of blessing?   Mark 9:14-18    Matthew 3:16-17    Matthew 4:1-11   2 Corinthians 12:7   Job 1:6-12

B. Although the way that Jesus heals the spirit-possessed mute boy is another historical fact, how does it also illustrate how God works in a sinner who turns to Christ as his Saviour?   Matthew 11:28   Ephesians 2:1   Romans 8:2

C. If you are assaulted by unbelief and doubts, how should you deal with them? How should your prayers be affected? Mark 9:24   Romans 10:17   Acts 17:31

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