The Nine Became Ineffectual : Mark 9:14-18
“14) When they came back to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. 15) Immediately, when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed and began running up to greet Him. 16) And He asked them, “What are you discussing with them?” 17) And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; 18) and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.”” Mark‬ ‭9‬:‭14‬-‭18‬ ‭
This is the beginning of a very interesting story. When Jesus and His three companions came down from the mountain, they were met with a chaotic situation.
First, the remaining nine disciples were embroiled in a dispute with some scribes. You will always face critics. It appears that the argument may have undermined their faith for they were not able to cast the spirit out of the boy. Beware who you associate with, it might impair your spiritual growth and effectiveness!
In verse 15, Jesus asked them; “What are you discussing with them?” It is unclear if He addressed this question to His disciples or to the Scribes. Unfortunately, the father of the demon tormented boy spoke up before the question was answered. I am really curious about what the dispute entailed.
Second, the disciples were attempting to cast a demon out of a boy and failed. That was perplexing because in Mark 6:7-13 Jesus had given them authority over unclean spirits and they had previously cast out many spirits and healed many people.
It is comforting to know that even the disciples had a learning curve. The good news is that they did not give up. By the time we reach the book of Acts their track record improved dramatically.
We are now left with a description of the demonic manifestation on the boy. Every demon has a different personality and effect on people. This demon had five descriptive manifestations.
First, it made him mute. The boy was unable to speak. Second, it often “seized him.” The meaning of this word is that it took control or overpowered him. Third, it would dash or throw him to the ground. Fourth, it caused him to grind his teeth forcefully. Finally, the attack would end by him stiffening out and becoming unconscious.
Unclean spirits abuse people. The torment can be horrendous. These people need help and Jesus Christ is their only hope!
Unfortunately, many times these people are confined to mental institutions, strong medications or succumb to tragic and often premature death. They don’t need counseling, they need deliverance! (John 10:10)
Jesus equips His church to help these people and set them free in His Name. According to Matthew 10:7-8, casting out demons was part of ministering the gospel. According to texts like Acts 5:15-16; 13:37-39; 14:3, Hebrews 2:4 and James 5:13-16, God continued to work in these ways in the early church. Many other verses from Acts and the New Testament can be added to this list.
The church can no longer ignore the needs of people. Either Jesus Christ and the gospel has an answer for people or it does not! For some reason, His nine disciples had lost their faith. They had become ineffectual. This scenario forces me to dig deeper into their problem.
But this story screams that the problem was not with Jesus. He quickly resolved the situation and set the boy free from demonic oppression. As noted above, the problem was resolved in the early church.
Don’t make excuses for failure. Seek Jesus and address the problem. The Bible is packed with answers for our learning curve. Don’t ignore, run from or explain away the power of God. Don’t let failure paralyze you into thinking God does not do miracles today.
Many segments of the church today are operating in the same authority and power as recorded in the book of Acts. I seek to learn from them!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

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