A Demon Possessed Boy Healed
Matthew 17:14-21 - And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, 15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. 16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. 17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. 18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. 19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Mark 9:14-29 - And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. 15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. 16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? 17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; 18 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. 19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. 20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. 22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. 26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. 28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
Luke 9:37-42 - And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him. 38 And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child. 39 And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him. 40 And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not. 41 And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither. 42 And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.
I. When Christ came down from the Mount of Transfiguration (verses 2-13), He found a great multitude around the nine disciples who did not go to the mount with Him surrounded with a great multitude.
A. The people believed in Christ, but no doubt they found the inability of the disciples to cast the demon out of the child perplexing.
B. The scribes, on the other hand, didn’t believe in Christ, and, according to verse 16, was questioning the nine disciples about Christ and their inability to cast out the demon.
C. When the people saw Christ coming, they knew He would be able to answer their question, and ran to him, expressing great joy.
D. Christ asked, “Why question ye with them?”
1. Christ will always protect his disciples, just as he always protects us, never allowing us to suffer more than we are able to bear.
2. The scribes didn’t answer.
3. The disciples didn’t answer.
4. When silence prevailed, the father of the child answered.
a. I am thankful the dad was present, as his presence shows he did not turn parental responsibilities over to his wife.
b. This dad had watched his son over time and realized the cyclical occurrences and had rightly concluded his son was demon possessed.
c. Parents should realize the truth about their own children, never concealing the truth from themselves.
II. Satanic influence.
A. The Lord Jesus believed in Satan and demon possession, and we should to.
1. Many sicknesses are nothing more than demon possession - that is not saying all sicknesses is demon possession.
2. Many people in mental institutions are demon possessed, while many people walking the streets are demon possessed.
3. Many people in mental institutions have undiscovered physical problems which cause them to seem to be mentally unbalanced.
4. Matthew 17:14 records this boy is a lunatick, which means he is a distemper in the brain, which occurs in cycles.
B. We often don’t think much about demon possession, but the people in Bible days did, and Jesus did.
1. It is likely we should pay more attention to demon possession than we do, as their probably is more demon possession than we would like to think.
2. In our “highly educated” society today, many think demon possession is archaic or medieval.
C. What Satan did to this child.
1. Verse 21 - It began early - …of a child… Satan delights in getting his victims early, and will use any means possible to get them. Psalms 58:3 - The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
a. Satan wants to get people before they get the experience to know how to defeat him.
b. When Satan gets children, he knows they have a life time full of sin ahead of them, instead of a life time of service to God.
c. Satan knows when he gets a child, he gets the family as well.
2. Satan completely overpowered the child - Verse 18, 20, 22.
a. He taketh him - The spirit, or devil, takes the child near fire, or water, or to any place where there is danger, or any dangerous place.
b. He teareth him - throws him into it, or dashes him against it; or inwardly racks, tortures, and convulses him.
c. he foameth - at the mouth, like one that is mad
d. He gnasheth with his teeth - through the excessive pain he is in
e. He pineth away - his flesh is withered, dried up, and consumed away.
f. He fell to the ground - at the feet of Jesus, not being able to stand, through the violent motions and convulsions he threw him into.
g. He wallowed, foaming - rolled about from side to side, foaming at the mouth, and in the most exquisite rack and torture.
h. He is cast into the fire - The demon cast the child into the fire in an attempt to burn his host with fire.
i. He is cast into the waters - The demon cast the child into the water in an attempt to drown his host.
j. He tries to commit suicide - Every person who attempts to commit suicide isn’t demon possessed, but that person is not under the influence of God because God doesn’t lead people to commit suicide.
D. The child is dumb. (This spirit is both dumb and deaf.)
1. This does not mean that every person that can’t hear is demon possessed.
2. Every person that is dumb or/and blind is not demon possessed.
3. Isaac lost his sight and he certainly wasn’t demon possessed.
4. This dumbness came as a result of demon possession because the demon took over the body of the child and would not allow the hearing process to work. There was nothing wrong with the child’s hearing.
III. The victory of Christ.
A. Verse 22 - Our failures make it more difficult for “seekers” to follow Christ.
1. …If thou canst do anything…
2. The disciples could do nothing, therefore the faith of the father is restricted.
3. Men will fail you - when they do, seek unto Christ.
4. We would do well to always seek Christ, and not seek men.
B. Christ gave this invitation.
1. Verse 19 - …bring him unto me.
2. Matt. 11:28-30 - Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
C. Verse 22 - …have compassion on us and help us.
1. The father, and the disciples, were powerless to help the son.
2. Verse 23 - Christ said, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
3. Verse 24 - And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
a. The man put an “if” on the power of Christ, and Christ put an “if” on the faith of the man.
b. It is not that Christ cannot heal the child, but why does the father bring the child to Christ if he doesn’t believe He can heal him?
c. The father got the point immediately and cried out.
1.) He was sorry for his own unbelief.
2.) He was afraid the cure would depend upon himself and not upon Christ.
3.) He repented of his own sinfulness, and immediately asked Christ to help him in his continued unbelief.
4.) His tears prove his sincerity.
d. With belief in Christ, there is always a mixture of unbelief.
e. This is because of sin which permeates every part of our being.
f. It is good to admit that we have this mixture within us.
D. The healing.
1. Verse 25 - When Jesus saw that the people came running together…
a. They no doubt expected to see something grand take place, and didn’t want to miss it.
b. Jesus didn’t wait until the people came running to Him, but he didn’t mind them seeing the miracle.
c. Them seeing the miracle was a testimony that He was from His Father, and this information would lead them to a fuller knowledge of God and His marvelous grace to save.
d. Many times, however, the multitude only wanted to see a miracle, not believe in Christ, or believe Christ is the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel.
e. Jesus often healed before the multitude was aware a miracle was going to happen, so they would not “gloat” over their seeing a miracle.
2. He rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
a. The rebuke was directed at the spirit, not at the son or the father.
b. The word “foul” means “not cleaned” from the ceremonial parts of the law, and also morally unclean in word and deed.
c. The spirit is called “dumb and deaf”. This doesn’t mean that deaf and dumb people are demon possessed. There was no physical reason why the son was dumb. The evil spirit caused such turmoil in the son that sounds would not register as sounds with him.
d. Christ ordered the evil spirit to leave the son and to never return.
e. There is no mention of where the evil spirit went as in Mark 5:12 when the legion of demons went into the swine.
f. Some people believe that when an evil spirit is cast out of something or someone that evil spirit will attach itself to innocent bystanders (those who aren’t “pure” or full of faith). There isn’t any evidence that this is always the case.
3. The result of being healed.
a. The evil spirit cried (the son didn’t cry).
b. It is likely that the evil spirit took one last stab at trying to kill the son by (renting) tearing him sore.
c. People thought the child was dead. Whether he was or not, I don’t know, but I know that Jesus reached forth his hand and restored him to life. Christ is the great physician and life giver. 
IV. Why couldn’t the disciples cast the demon out?
A. They asked privately.
1. I would too.
2. I wouldn’t want to be rebuked publicly for my mistakes.
B. Christ answered privately.
1. Christ told them kindly and with compassion that they didn’t have enough prayer and fasting.
2. There were some things the disciples could do as they had some prayer and fasting.
3. There are some things we can do because we have some prayer and fasting.
4. There are other things we cannot do because we don’t have enough prayer and fasting: personal dedication and commitment to Christ and his eternal will.
C. Verse 19-21 - they didn’t have enough faith.
1. The lack of prayer and fasting caused a lack of faith, which is same as unbelief.
a. Jesus immediately answered the disciples, Because of your unbelief: for…If you have faith…
1.) We do not equate unbelief with a lack of faith, but Jesus does.
2.) Romans 4:20 – Paul also equates unbelief with a lack of faith.
b. Jesus informs his disciples if they had the smallest of faith, they would not let impossible things stand in their way, but would continue in the will of God.
1.) Too much involvement in the world leads to a lack of faith: too much entertainment, too much work, not enough time for fasting and praying – building faith.
2.) Luke 16:13 states, No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
2. Luke 17:5 – And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
a. It may seem amazing that Christ did not say, “Okay – you now have more faith!”
b. Luke 17:6 – Christ explained that the tiniest amount of faith could move mountains.
c. Luke 17:7-10 – Christ continued to explain to the disciples that faith is not what they think it is.
d. Faith is obedience – continuing to serve in weariness, discouragement and seeming failure – knowing (not just saying) I am an unprofitable servant.
3. Their lack of faith brought dishonor to Christ, just like our lack of faith brings dishonor to Christ and His church.
4. Romans 4:20 - We should be strong in faith like faithful Abraham.
a. Hebrews 11 records the record of people that are faithful.
b. Mark 11:22 - When Christ dried up the unfruitful fig tree, Peter recalled it, and Christ told him, Have faith in God.
c. Luke 1:37 - Mary, who was a virgin, bore a child and Elizabeth, who was pass the age of bearing children, had a child. For with God nothing shall be impossible.
D. They had a failure of prayer.
1. Verse 29 - This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
a. There are some things are easily done, but there are some other things that are done with great difficulty.
b. There are some things a child can do, but there are other things only an adult can do.
c. There are some thing a “moderate Christian” can do, but there are other things only a fully dedicated saved, scripturally baptized, local church member can do.
2. Those that only have fixed times of prayer, Bible reading, and Godly service are often caught in times of weakness and inability.
a. The spirit of prayer is better than seasons of prayer.
b. Brother Wilbur Johnson once told me that he often didn’t pray at set times, but that he often prayed while working, walking, sitting, standing, whatever.
c. This type of total dedication to God’s voice is what separates the real Christian from the “moderate Christian”.
E. They had a failure in fasting.
1. Verse 29 - This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
2. If elegant church buildings, marvelous preaching and singing, and “get the people to come” attendance programs could cast out demons, there would be many demons cast out in this day, and sin wouldn’t have such a hold on the lost, the saved, and the nation.
3. It is not public service that gives power, it is private times with God.
a. There is a reward for public service - Matt. 6:1-2 - Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
b. Matthew 6:17,18 – When we fast, we should not appear to men to fast, but we should wash our faces, and comb our hair, so men will not know we are fasting.
c. Matt. 6:3, 4 - But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
d. Mark 6:5,6 - There is a reward for public praying, but there is a greater reward for private praying. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
e. Acts 13:2-3 reveals the spiritual progress accomplished when disciples fast and pray, Paul and Barnabas are separated to the gospel ministry to the Gentiles.
f. Acts 14:23 reveals the ordination of elders was accompanied with praying and fasting.