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Mark’s first-century biography – page 26

And when they (Jesus and three disciples, c AD 30) came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 
The four men come down from the mountain where Jesus had been transformed in front of them. They find that the other disciples are arguing with the “scribes” (well-educated experts). A great crowd surrounded these sparring people - but when Jesus came into view that crowd became very interested in him….

Jesus’ question to “them” was “What are you arguing about with them?” The “them” (two of them) are not identified. We don’t know who’s who. Maybe we’re all – every human being – engaged in constant argument with others… Our media seems to confirm this. 

And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 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.” 

The real, key problem had become lost in the argument. It was the problem within this son of a caring father; it was the “spirit” within the son. The argumentative disciples were unable to deal with this inner life-spirit. Is that still the case with religion today? And with today’s “scribes” (experts)? Ability – but only in arguing that they (on both sides) are right?

‘Health is a good thing, but sickness is far better if it leads us to God.’ (J C Ryle, bishop, 1816-1900)
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.” 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. 

Clearly Jesus was fed-up with his disciples in their argumentative inabilities. As for the son, the life-spirit within him, when brought to Jesus, attempted to kill him, then to floor him, and then to make him foam out his own inner evil.

And Jesus asked his father, “For what period of time has he become like he is?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often thrown him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you are able to do anything, having compassion on us, help us!” And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If you are able’! All things are within the ability of a believer.” 

This son had attempted suicide from early on. His father looked to Jesus for the ability to help his son. Jesus makes it clear that the father himself had that ability - if he is a believer. 

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I do 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.” 

Jesus spoke these words seeing a crowd forming, running, and coming. Why is that recorded? My thought is that Jesus did not wish that anyone would become convinced about him merely through seeing the greatness of this miracle. Rather (I think) he wanted people to come to him personally and believe in him for everything – even in their own storms.

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. 

Yes, the son was totally made whole. But he was dead. But he wasn’t dead. Jesus gave him new life. We too are able to rise.

 ‘We know how God would act if he were in our place – he has been in our place.’ (A W Tozer, pastor, 1897-1963)
And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why were we unable to cast it out?” And he said to them, “This 'family' is not able to come out through anything except prayer.”

The only prayer was prayed by the father. “I do believe; help my unbelief!” The primary message is that our self-destructive internal spirits cannot be dealt with unless we ourselves, in our spirits, pray to the Son of Man to give us the belief in him that we need. And the secondary message is that such change will not come to us through seeing miracles or becoming religious. 

Sinner Syvret

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