“And he [Jesus] said unto them,
“This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”
There’s no other way to describe the disciples’condition in Mark 9:14-29. The tragedy is this: A life was literally hanging in the balance. You’ll remember that there is a father that has brought his son to Jesus. They’ve come because the boy is in a desperate condition. Mark tells us that he is overcome with “a dumb spirit”.
In other words, there is a spiritual battle going on. This is not simply a physical condition. The kingdom of darkness desires to claim this boy as its own. And, sadly, the representatives of the Kingdom of Light are powerless against it. The father looked to them in Jesus’ absence (remember—He had taken Peter, James, and John up on the mount) to do for his son what needed to be done. But, they can’t. Left to them the kingdom of darkness would be victorious.
Don’t you want to jump to the disciples’ defense?
I know I do . . .
He’s Jesus . . .
. . . they’re just men . . .
. . . C’mon dad . . .
. . . Don’t put that on them . . .
That’s just not fair.
It’s natural to want to defend them.
But, I can’t.
I can’t because I know that whenever you approach the Word of God, you approach it as a whole. Meaning, you can’t divorce a section of the Word from the rest of the Book. In other words, you interpret the part by the whole, not the other way around. Scripture interprets Scripture.
Mark 6 (you should go back and refresh your memory by reading the first two sections) shows us that they had done it before. The disciples had gone out under the authority of the Kingdom. They operated under that authority and Kingdom power was displayed. They literally healed the sick. They touched people who were out of their minds, and God’s power put them in their right mind. (By the way, don’t you wish that would happen with a few people you know?!?)
So, it was natural that the father would ask.
And, they couldn’t.
Why? They had been rebelling against the Kingdom. For six days (see Mark 9:2) they had been arguing with Jesus about what the Messiah had come to do. Jesus was saying that He had come to die. Peter, as the mouthpiece of the twelve, said it doesn’t and it won’t happen that way.
They had rebelled against the Kingdom.
They had argued with the Authority of the Kingdom, Jesus.
You cannot rebel against Kingdom authority and expect to operate in Kingdom power.
In other words: We can’t do it our way. It has to be His.
Disobedience hinders the work of God.
Jesus drives the point home in His teaching at the end of the narrative. He says that Kingdom Power can only be displayed through dependency and desperation. He says it like this, “this kind can only come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”.
Do those words describe you?
Are you dependent upon Him more than you are your smart phone?
Are you desperate to see His power revealed in your family, church, world?
If not, is there any wonder why we’re powerless?
Kingdom Power flows through people that are dependent and desperate for Him.