The whole crowd was very surprised to see Jesus and ran to welcome him. He asked the scribes, “What are you arguing about with them?” A man in the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you. He has a spirit that won’t let him talk. Whenever it brings on a seizure, it throws him to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes stiff. So I asked your disciples to drive the spirit out, but they didn’t have the power.” Jesus said to them, “You unbelieving generation! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to me!” So they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into convulsions. He fell on the ground and kept rolling around and foaming at the mouth. Then Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” He said, “Since he was a child.
I have read this many times and never really picked up on this verse:
The spirit has often thrown him into fire and into water to destroy him. But if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us!” Jesus said to him, “‘If you are able?’ Everything is possible for the person who believes!”
I have thought the chastising by Jesus towards the unbelieving generation before. I have heard several people say he was talking to the disciples, but I have and had believed it was directed toward the crowd instead. This passage helps to back up that belief.
With tears flowing, the child’s father at once cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that won’t let him talk or hear-I command you to come out of him and never enter him again!” The spirit screamed, shook the child violently, and came out. The boy was like a corpse, and many said that he was dead. But Jesus took his hand and helped him up, and he stood up. When Jesus came home, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He told them, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.” Then they left that place and were passing through Galilee. Jesus didn’t want anyone to know it,
So where is the praying and fasting that Jesus says is required? The prior passages don’t mention Jesus praying and fasting before this time, so do we have to assume that is what occurred?
This is the verse in the ESV:
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
Where is the prayer? Nothing coming from Jesus but we do have the father crying out for faith. Is the prayer that is required the prayer from the one asking for the miracle? Are we hindered in performing miracles because people hope for the miracle instead of expecting the miracle?