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27. Casting the Demon out of the Lunatic Boy


A. Passage Selected: Mark 9:14-29

Also in Matt 17:14-21 and Luke 9:37-42

B. Progression Stated: Ideological

The main idea revolves around the faith of all those involved.

C. Presentation Summarized:

Chiastic structure of miracle:



Son - Demon

Control - it’s history


Faith is the point

Son - Demon

Control - it’s end



1. Context

Confession of Peter and transfiguration have just occurred.

How many have heard about the mountain top experience followed by the valley of defeat? What is wrong with that? It is a different group of disciples. This is a “meanwhile, back at the ranch” account.

The transfiguration is a confirmation of the faith of the inner core of the disciples who have struggled with the concept that he has to die so he gives them a taste of the coming glory to bolster their faith. While he is bolstering these disciples’ faith, the other disciples down in the village are having their faith tested.

2. Confusion of faithlessness 9:14-18
a. The antagonistic scribes

The disciples and scribes are arguing, but when Jesus shows up, the crowd leaves and runs to see Jesus. Surely this didn’t settle well with the scribes.

Why was the crowd amazed and run to see Jesus? Mark 9:15 Some say it was because Jesus’ face was glowing like Moses’ was after He cam down off of Mt. Sinai.

b. The agonizing father

(1) The hopelessness of the son

Over the condition of his son. The demons were really damaging the son. Luke points out that it is life threatening. It could kill him.

(2) The helplessness of the disciples

3. Conviction of faithlessness 9:19
a. The response

He convicts the disciples and others for their lack of faith. He makes reference to the fact that He is going to have to leave, and what are they going to do when He is no longer with them? If they don’t have faith, they are going to be helpless.

b. The request

He asks the father to bring the son.

4. Confrontation of faith 9:20-27
a. Demonstration of demonic power

It demonstrates its control over the boy.

b. Demonstration of Divine power

The father says, “If you can.” I think somehow God is offended when someone says this. Jesus’ response is “If I can?” My ability is not the problem. Your faith is the problem, “All things are possible to him who believes.”

Do we really believe that? Do we pray with faith that God can change my situation? We have not because we ask not. We shy away from the name it and claim it televangelist crowd and condemn them, but we have thrown out the baby with the bath water. What is your impossible situation? Are most of your prayers over things you can handle even if God doesn’t do anything.

“I do believe...” What is happening with the father that should have happened with the disciples? The father ASKED. The disciples never asked for help.

5. Correction of faith 9:28-29

Why were they unable? Because they did not ask for help. No prayer.

Most manuscripts add “fasting” here, but the two oldest don’t have it. It was probably added later due to the popularity of fasting in the early church. I can’t imagine that if you run into a demon possessed person, that you would have to postpone the excorcism for several days so that you could fast, and then cast out the demon.


What is the connection between prayer and faith?

  • This miracle stresses the need of the disciples to maintain constant contact in faith through prayer with the one person who has the power that they need.
  • There is especial need for prayer when involved in spiritual warfare. Eph 6:


  • If I don’t pray, it reveals a lack of faith. Either I don’t think I need help, or I think He can’t or won’t help. What is really going on is — I doubt the Power and Goodness of God.
  • Unbelief is a sure road to spiritual failure.
  • I should not question God’s ability, but I should pray for help with my faith.
  • Sometimes God may need to correct my faith, before He will help.
  • I can’t do it. = Humility
  • He can do it. = Faith
  • I appropriate His power. = Prayer
  • Related Topics: Miracles, Demons

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