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And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.”
And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”
Mark 9:19–23 Read More
The disciples and the scribes have been arguing while Jesus was up on the mountainside being transfigured into His full glory. Now there is so much doubt at the bottom of the mountain that it’s hard for Jesus to have a good conversation with the people in need. Doubt and cynicism block the way for good dialogue, whereas their more humble cousins wonder and awe open the door for dialogue and growth.
You can also tell that Jesus is thinking about how much more He is going to be able to do among them. On the mountainside, He was talking to Moses and Elijah about the suffering He was about to go through. He has His mind on Calvary while the Scribes and Disciples argue about power. As if to put up one last dig, the demon in the boy convulses him one last time as they bring the boy to Jesus. If ever the parents were discouraged, it would be after their hope had turned into a debate and the boy was getting worse as they were working for a remedy.
When Jesus asked ‘How long has this been happening?’ it wasn’t so that He could make a good diagnosis of the boy. Whenever God asks a question, it is for the people answering. Jesus is giving everyone a chance to see just how powerful He is. This isn’t a 24 hour cold that Jesus is going to heal. This is a life-long disability.
It’s easy to read Jesus’ statement ‘If you can!’ as exasperated, but don’t. Read it with a happy laugh of someone about to release a surprise. Read it like someone that has been waiting their whole life to do this. Jesus isn’t sure how much longer people are going to be trusting Him and coming to Him. He’s not sure how long He’s going to be around people that want to listen.
Jesus doesn’t waste time with the arguments. He spends time with the people that came to Him for a miracle. He doesn’t ask for anything in return, but He invites them on a journey of faith in Him that is limitless.
“All things are possible,”
He works the same way