(Mark 9:14-29 ESV)
Jesus, Peter, James and John come upon the rest of the disciples arguing with the scribes. Jesus immediately says "what's going on here?"
Then a man in the crowd said "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were not able."
So we know the dispute arose over the disciples lack of ability to cast out a demon.
Jesus' response seems a bit odd to me in light of his later response about why they couldn't cast it out (needing prayer to do so). Nevertheless his response was to ask "O faithless generation, How long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?"
Sometimes I think Jesus despaired of people really seeing what was needed... A simple faith in him. So often he responded quickly to the faith in people, for instance, the woman touching his cloak, the soldier with his child and such like. Simple faith got immediate results.
He then had them bring the boy to him. The spirit seeing him immediately convulsed the lad.
I have to admit, I have a ... I don't know what you call it. It's like I have this discontinuity... It's not something I have seen before though I have heard of it. The active work of demons in the lives of people. It must be so scary. To know that something is IN YOUR CHILD that wants to destroy it. The father must have been so desperate for help for his child.
He said to Jesus "If you can help him please do so."
Jesus seized on that expression "if you can" Teaching him and the crowd and his disciples that through God all things are possible if one believes. And the parent said "I believe, help my unbelief."
Such a tough thing you know. Wanting so desperately for your child to be helped. He'd probably tried everything and his faith in people was most likely in tatters (and yes, I am speculating here)... but imagine the desperation in that father, wanting, needing help for his boy and here in front of him is a possibility but he's been let down so often... and Jesus says BELIEVE and he desperately wants to, and does, and knows his own fears and disbelief...
And Jesus hears him,
And Jesus responds to his disbelieving faith....
Jesus commands the demon to come out of the boy and to NEVER return to him, as the crowd comes running toward them.
The boy lay as dead afterwards making people think he was indeed dead. Until Jesus took the lad's hand and lifted him up.
Can you imagine to the joy of the father?
Seeing his boy safe? Freed from one who would to have killed him?
The immeasurable joy?
Imagine then... God's joy when we are saved from what would kill us. Our sin. Oh how Satan would have us dead to Christ. How we need that faith in God, in Jesus to save us from what would indeed kill us.
What will save us?
Jesus tells us this to.
We can't cast sin out of ourselves.
We need to bring it to God in prayer.
He is the only one who can help us overcome it.
Jesus died that through faith, we might overcome sin, he BEAT it you know. He beat the devil at his own game. Sin has no long-term hold on us. Prayer will win us through, prayer and faith in God.