Mark 9:14-29 (New International Version)
The Healing of a Boy with an Evil Spirit14When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
16"What are you arguing with them about?" he asked.
17A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not."
19"O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."
20So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered. 22"It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
23" 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
24Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
25When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil[a] spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again."
26The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
28After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"29He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer.
- Who was the person in need? The epileptic boy.
- What was the immediate, obvious need? Seizures in the boy.
- Who took the initiative in effecting the healing? The boy's father.
- How and by whom was faith involved in this healing? Jesus rebukes the faithlessness of his own disciples. Apparently the father had faith in the disciples to heal his son, but they failed.
- What were the reactions to the healing? The disciples ask why they could not cast out the demon.
- What led Jesus to minister healing to the person in need? The failure of his disciples to do so.
Is "faith" akin to self-confidence? Think about it. Jesus empowered his disciples to cast out demons and heal the sick but when they encountered one with epilepsy they failed to heal him. He rebukes their faithlessness. Or, does he rebuke the faithlessness of the boy's father, who exclaimed: "...help me overcome my unbelief"?
So, is it the faith of those seeking healing that empowers the healer, or the faith of the healer that brings the healing....or both? Or, is it just that with some situations, it requires prayer (and fasting, according to many manuscripts)?