At the bottom of the mountain, a large crowd had gathered around the rest of Jesus’ chosen witnesses, and some teachers of the law were arguing with them (100).
The people were surprised when Jesus joined them, and everyone’s attention turned to him. Jesus asked, “What’s this argument about?”
A man in the crowd said, “Teacher, my son has an evil spirit and cannot talk! The spirit sometimes throws him to the ground, causing him to foam at the mouth, clench his teeth & become stiff as a board. I asked your students to expel the spirit, but they couldn’t.”
“How unbelieving you people are!” Jesus exclaimed. “How long will you refuse to have faith? Bring the boy to me.”
As soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a fit; he fell on the ground & rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
“How long has he been like this?” Jesus asked the father. “Ever since he was a child,” the man replied. “Many times the evil spirit has tried to kill him by throwing him into burning fires or into water. Have pity on us and help us, if you possibly can!”
Jesus said, “Anything is possible for the person who has faith.” The father at once cried out, “I do have faith, but I need more faith. Help me have more faith!”
Then Jesus commanded the evil spirit, “Come out of the boy and never go into him again!” The spirit screamed, threw the boy into another fit, but then came right out. The boy looked like a corpse, and many said, “He’s dead!” But Jesus took the boy by the hand and helped him stand up.
After Jesus had gone indoors, his students asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we expel this spirit?” Jesus answered, “Prayer is always necessary to expel evil spirits; sometimes fasting will help focus your prayer. Prayer brings the power of God; evil spirits cannot be expelled by any other power.”
(100) Matthew 17:14-21, Mark 9:14-29, Luke 9:37-43a