tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testament
Based on Mark chapter 9
A Little Faith! –The Demon-Possessed Boy
As Jesus and the three disciples Peter, James and John came down from the mountain where they’d seen Jesus transformed and heard the Words of God, they talked about a common belief Jews held that Elijah must ‘return’ before the Messiah could come.
‘Why do the teachers of the law say this?’ they asked Jesus.
‘Well, Elijah has already come to set everything in order,’ Jesus answered them. ‘But he was badly mistreated, just as the Scriptures predicted.’
It was then that the disciples realised Jesus was talking about John the Baptist who’d been murdered by Herod.
As they came to the foot of the mountain they saw a huge crowd gathered around the other nine disciples who were having a blazing row with the teachers of the law. The teachers of the law were always looking for something they could use against Jesus, for any weakness they could exploit to run Him down and discredit Him. And now, they thought they’d found something! Jesus’ disciples had failed to heal someone and so the teachers of the law were pressing home their advantage over the disciples – and a row had broken out.
As Jesus approached the crowd, the people ran to meet Him. ‘What’s going on?’ He asked. ‘What’s all this arguing about?’
A man in the crowd, with a desperate look on his face, stepped forward and spoke to Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘My son can’t speak because he’s possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. Whenever the spirit takes hold of him, it throws him violently onto the ground and he starts to foam at the mouth, grind his teeth and his body becomes rigid! I brought him to You so that You could heal him. But as you weren’t around, I asked your disciples to make the evil spirit go, (P) but they couldn’t do it!’
When He heard this, Jesus felt so disappointed. After all, He’d taught them, after all, they’d seen! Not just His disciples but also the people, still they refused to really trust Him, to believe that He had the power to deal with whatever situation they could possibly come across. And so, with a slow shake of His head He said, ‘You faithless people! How long is it going to be until you believe? How long must I put up with your unbelief?’ Then looking at the father’s worried face He said, ‘Bring the boy to me.’
At once the boy was brought before Jesus, but as soon as the evil spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into a violent convulsion and he fell to the ground thrashing around and foaming at the mouth.
Rather than just heal the boy there and then, Jesus wanted to find out if his father still had the same belief he started with when he’d first brought the boy to see Jesus. Had seeing the disciples fail to heal the boy stopped him believing? So He asked, ‘ How long has this been going on?’
The boy’s father, desperate at seeing his child once again thrown into convulsions looked at his son while he answered Jesus. ‘It’s been happening since he was a small boy. And what makes it worse is that the evil spirit often makes him fall into the fire or into water – it’s trying to kill him! Please, if you can, do something.’
Jesus turned to look at the man. ‘What do you mean, ‘IF I can’?’ He asked. ‘Anything’s possible if a person believes.’
The man quickly shifted his gaze from his son and found Jesus’ eyes. ‘Oh but I do believe,’ he answered. ‘But please, help me not to doubt!’
Jesus had got his answer, the boy’s father did believe, even if it was a wavering and weak faith. Because what mattered wasn’t the strength of his belief, but the power of the One he believed in! And as Jesus saw other people beginning to run over and the group of onlookers start to grow, He rebuked the evil spirit. ‘Spirit of deafness and muteness,’ He said, ‘I command you to leave the boy and never enter him again.’ At this, the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and then left, just as Jesus had commanded. As the spirit left, the boy lay motionless on the ground. He lay so still that the crowd started whispering to each other saying, ‘Look, he’s dead!’ But Jesus walked over to the boy, took him by the hand and helped him to his feet.
A while later, when the crowds had gone home and Jesus was alone with his disciples in the house where they were staying, they asked him. ‘Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit like the ones we cast out before when you sent us out to preach?’
‘This kind of evil spirit can only be cast out by prayer,’ Jesus answered.