Mark 9:21-25

Mark 9:21 (KJB)
And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.

In true concern, Jesus asks his father how long has this boy been possessed by the devil? The words “he asked” in the Greek is one word and denotes a very intense verb which meant that Jesus was very serious in His inquiry. That intense verb can also be understood as “interrogated.“ There is no indication of how old this boy was but the father’s response gives insight that this problem existed since he was a little boy.

Mark 9:22 (KJB)
And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

The father continues on by giving more details. He states that the devil casts the boy into the fire to burn him to death and into the waters to drown him. His father knew that these things were intentional happenings because of the devil inside his son since he states that the devil “casts him” into both. Then the man asks Jesus his request but leaves the door of doubt slightly open. He starts out with the words “if thou canst” and the reason he did that was he saw that the disciples could not help his son so now he is transferring that doubt to the ability of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Christians our walk must be taken seriously because it does not take much for people to see us faithless or hear about our unfaithfulness and then transfer those things to the person of Christ. The man then asks Jesus to have compassion on them and help them. Both the father of the boy and the boy needed the compassion and help of Jesus.

Mark 9:23 (KJB)
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Jesus then turns the statement around because it is not a question as to the ability of Jesus to help but He is focusing the question on the man’s inability to believe. If a person’s faith is in harmony with the will of God, then there is no limit as to what God can do for that person. This man must have heard about all the great miracles that Jesus did or else he would not be there with his son. His faith should have been soaring but the sight of his son coupled with the faithlessness of the nine disciples had cast a shadow on any faith he might have had.

Mark 9:24 (KJB)
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

Immediately the father of the boy had cried out which denotes a deep emotional response to Jesus. The father had the required faith in the ability of Jesus to heal the boy as he exclaimed that he believes. Remember Jesus said that the amount of faith needed was the size of a mustard seed and you could move mountains. Here the man had a seed of faith but he was also honest when he asked Jesus to help him with his unbelief. His unbelief would soon turn to belief. Many of us are like this father, we may have small faith balanced with a large amount of unbelief but as long as we have some faith, then the unbelief that we possess will soon be gone once we engage the faith we have. If you will notice the man called Jesus “Lord” which means he truly did recognize who Jesus really was but it seems the situation in his home had chopped away at his faith and that can happen to anyone, especially a caregiver, as this man was. Many times we truly believe in our spirits but when our flesh is weak, it can have a debilitating effect on us. (Mark 14:38 KJV) Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.

Mark 9:25 (KJB)
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.

Jesus had been speaking to the father privately about the son and maybe they had stepped away from the crowd or maybe the crowd voluntarily stepped back. Now the crowd had sensed that a miracle was going to take place so they had begun to come back to witness the healing. Jesus then saw that the crowd started to descend upon them desired to bring this situation to a close and give freedom and peace to the boy. Jesus then began the short process of exorcism. First, He rebuked the spirit which was to censure severely or charge sharply. He then addresses the specific indwelling devil as dumb and deaf spirit which was addressing the specific problem. Jesus then charges, which can also be understood as commands, the spirit to come out of him and never re-enter into him again. This double command seems to express the disgust the Lord had with this devil concerning the way that it had subjected the boy’s body to harsh cruelties. It also shows the compassion of Jesus for the boy in commanding the devil never to re-enter him. This compassion also goes to the father because once the devil is gone from his son, he will never return to harass him again.