After the nine disciples cast out the demon it did not leave the boy. Perhaps at that point doubt entered their minds. Had they done something wrong? Failed to use the right words?
Some time earlier we find a group of demons negotiating with Jesus. Did the Nine use that event to justify their unbelief?
A man filled with a demon ran and fell on his knees in front of Jesus. Jesus had said to the demon, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
The demon shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion, for we are many.”
Let’s pause to consider the pronouns used by unclean spirits. First they lied to Jesus by claiming to be a singular spirit. But when Jesus demanded to know the spirit’s name, they confessed to be a group of spirits.
Second, the demon asked Jesus not to torture it. In fact over and over the demons begged Jesus to spare them.
The demon begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs.
The Nine would have recalled how Legion negotiated with Jesus, so when they attempted to cast it out, the demon may have sensed their weak faith and rejected their authority.
When Jesus arrives his first response is not to rebuke the evil spirits, but his disciples. He scolds them for their perverted skepticism.
“You unbelieving and perverse generation. How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Luke 9:41)
Anytime our actions and beliefs are contrary to what is right and good in God’s eyes we are in a state of depravity and perversion. Perversion brings about the opposite of what God intends. The Nine claimed to act on behalf of Jesus, but the fruit of their actions led to taunting by the religious leaders. Their perverse unbelief brought not honor, but dishonor to Jesus.
Doubt and indecision have no place in God’s healing and help. When we doubt, we are in agreement with the devil. When we are unsure if God wants us healed and helped, we deny Christ, for he said, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “You have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20) “This kind can come out only by prayer.” (Mark 9:28-29)
Pure faith and prayer are the keys to mighty works in the name of Jesus.
Jesus’ final action is to rebuke the unclean spirit and give the boy to his father whole, healed, and in his right mind.
If you seek healing from God, do not doubt. Do not say, “If it is your will . . .” Jesus is always willing to heal. (Matthew 8:3) Healing is purpose. By his wounds, lashes, bruises we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5) To question if he wants us to remain sick and feeble is to question if he wants us to be saved from sin. Jesus said:
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”Luke 5:31
Jesus is in the business of healing and saving. May we also be about his business.