by Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv 



And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.


Throughout this article, I have questions that I want you to consider. The first is; “What does it take for a person to serve faithfully?”


In our text, we find a crowd of people and scribes arguing with Jesus’s disciples. Jesus had been with Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration and has revealed Himself in such glory that Peter wants to stay on the mountain. As Jesus approaches their location, the crowd immediately recognizes Him. The New English Translation says that “the whole crowd saw him, and were amazed and ran at once and greeted him.” Jesus asks the crowd, “What are you arguing about with my disciples?” One man, clearly frustrated and disappointed, responds respectfully (he calls him Master!) and tells Jesus that he bought his son to his disciples to rid him of an evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it. He tells Him a very descriptive story of how this spirit grips his son, throws him down, makes him foam at the mouth, grind his teeth, then he becomes rigid like a dead man. When he saw Jesus’ disciples, I’m sure he thought, “Finally, after all these years, these are the men who were  with Jesus, these men are the ones I’ve heard could heal my son. These men walked with and learned from the miracle worker himself. They would surely be able to heal my son.” But it was not to be! They couldn’t do it. There was no change! Nothing!


Now Jesus shows up. In a last ditch effort to free his son from the torturous grip of this evil spirit, he breaks through the crowd and makes his plea directly to the Master. He begins telling Him his frustration and disappointment at the disciples’ inability to heal his son.


Jesus sees the sincerity in the man’s heart. But before He addresses the man’s dilemma, He reprimands His disciples! I paraphrase, “How long do I need to be with you before you realize that I’ve given you the authority over every evil spirit and over every unclean thing? Not some, but every evil spirit and every unclean thing.” Jesus doesn’t challenge their action; He challenges their faithfulness. You see, they got a result’ it just wasn’t the desired result. Why couldn’t they heal this young man? “And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting” (v.27). You see, they were doing what they were instructed to do, but without the life-changing power of prayer and fasting. When you try to do the miraculous without Christ, it’s a faithless service!


Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is President/CEO of The JLR Company, and an associate minister at both Goodwill and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio (internet), Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM., or by phone at 626-226-1448. Note: You don’t have to talk, but you can access the show by calling in.   


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