A man brought his son to Jesus because his son suffered from epilepsy. He kneeled before Jesus asking for mercy, He said He brought his son to the disciples but they were unable to cure him.
Look with me how Jesus responded.
Matthew 17:17 And Jesus answered, O you unbelieving (warped, wayward, rebellious) and thoroughly perverse generation! How long am I to remain with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to Me. 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. AMPC
Jesus sounded pretty frustrated, as if He had already been there, done that.
Well at least they didn’t get offended and walk away after that expression of exasperation! Instead they asked Jesus why they couldn’t drive out the demon. Look what Jesus said.
Matthew 17:19 Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked privately, Why could we not drive it out? 20 He said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. 21 But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. AMPC
Not enough faith, and this kind goes out by fasting and prayer was their answer. Not only did they lack faith, that they could—Jesus said they needed to fast and pray. Jesus said even if they had mustard seed faith, just a small amount of faith they could move a mountain.
A quick turn of subject; have you noticed that most people don’t bother talking to mountains to begin with? When I am around most Christians I don’t see Christians that talk to or even expect mountains to move. They know Jesus can and expect Jesus to move mountains, sing about Him moving mountains, but they don’t acknowledge that Jesus told us to move mountains. He said we were to talk to our circumstances and change them (Mark 11:20-26) but they don’t do it.
Yes He moved them while He was here, taught the disciples the principles of moving them and then He left and commissioned us to move them in His Name. He gave us His authority to do His work (Mark 16:17-18).
That is what the disciples were doing, talking to mountains, casting out demons, healing the sick—all that Jesus was teaching them to do. So at least they were that far and when they got stuck like with this demon that wouldn’t move, they asked Jesus where they were missing it.
Nest we have to mention faith. Jesus said they didn’t have enough faith. That is another thing I don’t see acknowledged is Christians laboring to get faith. I hear them ask God for faith, but they don’t know they need to labor to get faith.
The Bible doesn’t teach us to ask for faith but to labor to get faith.
Romans 10:17 So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself). AMPC
Jesus said be careful what you hear, pay attention to the Word and what you have will grow.
Mark 4:24 And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear. 25 For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away [by force] Having understanding of what we are doing and why we’re doing it is faith because faith is the revelation knowledge we need to believe. Therefore we have to work to get faith which brings understanding so we can do the work we’re called to do. AMPC
That means we have to take time to hear the Word and not only hear the Word but meditate it, know it and purposefully be careful about hearing it and even sorting out what you won’t hear, what lies you won’t meditate. Hearing the Word will develop your faith in the Word and not hearing the Word is hearing the lies of the enemy who will steal what little faith you had if you paid any attention to the Word.
Fasting and prayer, not eating and talking to God— just being with God was their answer also their answer. I know fasting isn’t something we like to hear, going without food isn’t what we want to hear because our flesh cries when we don’t feed it. When our flesh doesn’t get its way it gets offended, Satan’s number two ploy, food being his first ploy If he can’t get you to make food your god, then he will try and get offended at God, if that doesn’t work then pleasure or things. Just like Jesus taught us in Mark 4.
So what is the deal with fasting anyway why would that have anything to do with casting out a demon?
Do you recall in the garden when God gave direction to Adam not to eat off of just one tree (Genesis 2:16-17)? Adam did it anyway, he ate off the tree God told him not to eat off of. Who manipulated him? Satan, and why? Because Satan knew if he could convince Adam and Eve to eat off the tree, that he would be their god, he would take ownership of them.
When Jesus came He was led by the Spirit to the same test, but even harder than one tree. He wasn’t to eat food for forty days and forty nights. When Satan came to tempt and test Jesus, Jesus resisted (Matthew 4:1-11).
In resisting Satan Jesus refused Satan to be His god.
In the garden Adam and Eve were given power and authority over everything on the earth (Genesis 1:28) but when they obeyed Satan they gave up that power.
God told them if they ate off the tree they would surely die. They ate off the tree anyway— and in doing so made Satan their god. Rejecting God and His protection/provision.
Jesus on the other hand took that authority back from Satan when He resisted him (Mark 5:1-15)! Jesus honored His Father and resisted the enemy keeping Him in the Fathers protection.
There was a man with an unclean spirit who lived among the tombs, no one could control. He was chained but he broke out of the chains, the Bible tells us no one had strength to restrain him. When the unclean spirit saw Jesus coming he cried in a loud voice begging Jesus not to torment him (Mark 5:1-15). The demon was afraid of Jesus because he knew Jesus knew who He was, and that Jesus was indeed in authority over him.
The man with the unclean spirit obeyed the demons because he didn’t know any better. The demons were telling him lies, harassing him to the place where he was cutting himself, shrieking, screaming and beating himself. No one knew any better, than to let the demon live in the man. That is why Jesus came to teach us the truth. That is why He was training the disciples to do good works and that they had His power to be in authority over the enemy.
Jesus told the demon to come out of the little boy with epilepsy and the demon obeyed Jesus. The demon knew who Jesus was and that Jesus knew who He was. They already met, were in knowledge of each other in the wilderness when the devil showed up to try to get Jesus to worship him.
What Jesus was saying then to the disciples when He said this kind goes out by fasting and praying, is that they had to let Satan know that he wasn’t their god. They had to fast and pray if they were going to manage their authority over him. They had to go through being tested by the enemy and resist him to be in a place of faith, knowing through their own personal experience that they had authority over him.
It seems we can live on someone else’s faith for a while which is maybe what had been happening with the disciples and Jesus, but then after a while we have to grow up and have our own faith. We have to have our own spiritual warfare to take our faith to another level.
What Jesus was teaching the disciples He is anxious to teach us today. He tells me He needs workers, those to go for Him to do His work. Will He find faith on the earth when He comes? Are we willing to fast and pray, taking authority over the enemy—subdue our flesh?