The Faith of a Father
September 3 - Nº 246 Matthew 17:14-21; Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:37-43
When Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, and John, he noticed a large crowd of people gathered around the nine disciples who had stayed behind. The disciples seemed to be arguing with a group of Pharisees. As soon as the people in the crowd saw Jesus, they turned and ran to him. “What is everyone arguing about?” he wanted to know. A man in the crowd called out, “Lord, have mercy on my son! He is my only child. But he is possessed by a spirit. It has taken away his speech and gives him violent seizures. They throw him to the ground, and sometimes he lands in the fire or the water. I brought him to your disciples and pleaded for them to help him. But they couldn’t do anything!” Jesus was frustrated. He knew that regardless of what he or his disciples did, the Pharisees would not believe that he was the Son of God. Even if he performed a Messianic miracle by casting a demon out of a person who could not speak, they would not accept him as their Messiah. They would say he got his power from Satan—just as they had said before (see #234 - The Unpardonable Sin!). And most of the Jewish people would believe them! Jesus commanded them to bring the boy to him. When the evil spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the child into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around with foam coming out of his mouth. Jesus asked the father, “How long has he been like this?” “Since he was very young,” the man responded. “If you can do anything, please take pity on us and help us,” he pleaded. “‘If you can’?” Jesus questioned. “Everything is possible when you believe.” Immediately the father exclaimed, “I do believe; please help me overcome my unbelief!” Because of the father’s desperate plea and new-found faith, Jesus rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he called, “I command you to come out and never enter the boy again!” The spirit shrieked, and the boy convulsed violently. Then he lay so still on the ground that the people began to wonder if he was dead. Jesus took him by the hand, lifted him to his feet, and gave him back to his father. Everyone was amazed! Later, the disciples came to Jesus privately and asked him, “Why couldn’t we drive the evil spirit out?” Jesus had already given them authority to do this (see #232 - A Sick Servant and a Dead Son), and in the past they had been successful (see Luke 10:17). But this demon had not listened to their commands. Jesus answered, “It’s because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you!” He was teaching them that accessing God’s power had nothing to do with using the correct words or using the right actions. It had everything to do with praying and having faith in God!
The only one who exhibited faith in this story was the father, and his faith was as small as a mustard seed. In a last-ditch effort, he brought his son to Jesus. Do you trust God enough to bring your hardships to Him and let Him fix them? The sooner we learn to do this in life, the better off we will be! And it is a lesson we must re-apply every single day!