Mark 9:14-27




Trouble often follows high points in our lives. I’ve learned that when there are high points in my experiences, the very lows are sure to follow!


Last time we saw Jesus and three of his apostles, Peter, James, and John on a mountain where Jesus was transfigured before them and they saw Jesus in his glorified state as God.  They also heard the voice of God saying out of a cloud saying, This is my beloved Son, hear him!


As they come down the mountain to meet the other nine disciples, they walk right into trouble!




Vs. 14 – Jesus shows up to find the scribes, copiers and interpreters of the Law, the Jewish Scriptures, arguing with the disciples.  There was also a great crowd of onlookers.


The disciples were busy defending themselves because they had failed.  As we’ll see in a minute, a man brought his demon possessed son to Jesus.  Because Jesus wasn’t there, the disciples, who had been commissioned to cast out demons, tried to and failed.


You and I can relate to these disciples.  We know all about failure.  We’ve failed often enough, even when we were trying to serve the Lord and do His business.


Vs. 15 – At this very crucial time, in the midst of their failure, Jesus shows up.  I believe the people were surprised to see Jesus because they weren’t expecting Him at that moment, and because the discussion had somewhat to do with Him. 


You see, when we disciples fail, it is a reflection on our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.  When we blow it, He very often gets the blame.


The moment Jesus showed up, the attention was no longer placed on the disciples, but on the Master!

In our day and age, because Jesus is always with us through His Holy Spirit, we don’t have to wait for Him to show up.


BOY IN TROUBLE – Vss. 16-18


Vs. 16 – Notice something here.  When Jesus is brought into a problem, He’ll take over if you let Him!


Right away Jesus is on the defense of His disciples.  This won’t let them off the hook as far being accountable for their mistakes, but it does mean that Jesus is there to help, fix, and defend.


Jesus asked the scribes what the problem was and evidently there was a deafening silence.


Vs. 17 – A man in the crowd tells Jesus what the problem is.  There’s a boy in trouble. It is His boy, in fact, it’s his only son.


The man was saying, “I brought Him to you Lord. He has a dumb spirit.”  That means he couldn’t talk.  Evidently he couldn’t hear either, because when Jesus healed the boy he removed a “deaf and dumb” spirit.


Vs. 18 – The boy’s problem becomes more detailed and more troubling.  The boy is having seizures. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes as stiff as a board.


This was evidently a form of epilepsy complicated by demon possession.


And to make the boy’s problem even greater, the disciples could not help him.




Jesus was talking to the disciples, and putting them in the same boat as the generation in which they lived.


The disciples had tried to cast the demon out of this boy and couldn’t.  But they had been commissioned to do this. Mark 3:14-15


They had some success. Mark 6:12-13

Now, they were powerless.

They, like the rest of the generation, were faithless.

They had tried to cast out the demons in their own power, without relying on the power of the Lord Jesus.


There faith was evidently not in God, but in their own abilities, and they failed.


Jesus was distraught with them. He was wondering out loud how long He had to put up with their obvious lack of faith.


The boy was still hurting because the disciples were faithless.


Jesus said about the boy, “Bring him to me.”


As we’ll see in a few moments, we must learn to bring the troubles of people to Jesus by faith.




Vs. 20 – The demon saw Jesus and seemed to tighten his grasp on the boy. A severe convulsion took place.  It seems that when the devil senses that he is trouble, he often intensifies his attack.


Vss. 21-22 – Jesus asked the Father how long this problem had been occurring.


The Father responded that it had happened since the boy had been a child,

He added that the demon had such a hold on the boy that he even cast him to fire and water trying to destroy the lad.

And notice the father’s impassioned plea, “If you can do anything have compassion on us, and help us.”


The father’s faith was in trouble.

It was wearing thin over the years of no relief.

It had worn thinner because the disciples couldn’t help.

And now his last hope is Jesus.


Vs. 23 – How often do we doubt God’s willingness to help us?

How often do we doubt God’s ability to help us?

How often have we in our minds rendered things impossible?


Next Jesus says, “All things are possible to him that believes.”


Jesus is not saying that whatever I want I can have if I just believe.

The man here was standing before the Son of God, and what the man wanted was the healing of his son.  Jesus is showing that the healing of the son is God’s will and indicating that Jesus had the power to do it.  What he needed was the faith of the Father.


Our faith should always be based on the clear teaching of the Word of God. If God promises something, we can believe He will do it if we ask by faith.


If the Spirit of God clearly impresses us that something is God’s will, we should then believe that God will provide it in answer to prayer. 1 John 5:14-15,


Vs. 24 – Immediately the father of the child cries out, “Lord I do believe”!  It was a like a lunge forward.  “Based on what you just said Lord, I believe that you are going to heal my son.”


But now notice how transparent the man is!

We should all be so honest!

“Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief.”

The man’s faith was imperfect and he admitted it.

Now instead of asking for help for his son, he’s asking for help for himself!     


Your faith won’t always be perfect. This man’s wasn’t.

And when your faith is not perfect, admit it and ask for help!




Now we see the power of Jesus at work.


Vs. 25 – Evidently the discussion with the man was of a more private nature.  Now the people were coming together again. Jesus commands the spirit to come out and not to return.  He uses his authority as God.


This is why we are pray and trust. It is God that has authority not me.  And when God takes action there is no doubt that there will be submission on the part of others. They have no choice.


Vs. 26 – The demon left kicking and screaming. He so worked on the boy that he appeared dead.


Vs. 27 – But Jesus lifted him up and he was healed. The demon was gone.


The boy’s trouble was a demon.

The father’s trouble was that his boy had a demon, and both he and son were helpless to do anything about it.

The father submitted his trouble by request and faith to the Lord Jesus.

He placed the trouble under Jesus’ authority.




Vs. 28 – The disciples asked the logical question, “Why did we fail?”

Jesus had given them authority over demons, and yet they couldn’t handle this one.


Vs. 29 – The problem was so great that the only solution was prayer!


Jesus stressed the need for persevering prayer. Matthew 7:7-8


Jesus stressed the importance of believing prayer. Mark 11:22-24


All through the Epistles there is a call to persistent, faithful, believing prayer. Ephesians 6:18, Colossians 4:2, 1 Timothy 2:8, James 5:16-18, 1 Peter 4:7


For personal problems – pray!

For family problems – pray!

For church problems – pray!

For church growth – pray!

For more effective preaching – pray!


And what about fasting?  There is some question as to whether the word belongs in the text or not.  But the Bible Knowledge Commentary explains it well when it says, “But the words, if original, refer to a practical means of focusing one’s attention more fully on God for a specific

purpose, for a limited period of time.” John F. Walvoord, Roy F. Zuck, Editors, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament Edition, (Wheaton, Illinois, Victor Books, 1983), p145 


If God moves you to fast to concentrate on seeking God’s face in prayer, do it!


As we close this message, what does this passage of Scripture teach us?