The crowd had gathered to watch the spectacle. Jesus, James, John and Peter had come back to the town where the other disciples were staying. The scribes were engaged in a heated conversation with the disciples as Jesus approached the crowd.
“What do you want with my disciples?” Jesus asked.
The One who could hear the thoughts of men’s hearts was not asking for His own benefit, but for to lead them into the truth. The first step to getting help from Jesus is to admit the problem.
“Jesus, this boy has a devastating spirit in him. And your disciples couldn’t cast it out.” The response was one part explanation, and another part under-handed accusation.
Looking to the boy’s father, Jesus asked, “How long has this been happening?”
“Since he was a small child, the spirit has tried to kill my son. Often he leaps into fires to die, or into any water he can find so that he will drown. Jesus, please have compassion on us.” The father’s plea was not just for the boy, but for himself.
Jesus’ answer was simple, “Believe.”
In a moment that would have ripped your heart out, the beleaguered and overwhelmed father cried out, “LORD, I believe!!! Help thou mine unbelief!!” In essence, he was saying,” Jesus I have a faith in you, please give me more faith, that I can trust more fully in you.”
Jesus rebuked the spirit. As it left the young man’s body, Mark said it “rent him sore,” which basically means that it contorted and convulsed him to such a degree that everyone thought it had killed him. Jesus lovingly reached down and helped the young man up off the ground.
What had happened? In order for the saving work to be accomplished, the man had to believe. Beyond that, we see that there was a level of faith that even admitted it didn’t feel like it believed enough, pointing to the idea that Jesus could help him believe even more.
Looking to Jesus as our Savior from our sin, we must believe what He has done, and then place our faith in His accomplishment for us. Where our faith falls short, we, like this father, must cry out to Jesus, “Jesus, I believe! Help my unbelief!” He doesn’t shame those who come in faith. He accepts and loves them. He saves them from the wrath of God.
Food For Thought: Read Ephesians 2:8-9. According to these verses, what is “the gift of God” that brings men to salvation?