Life-Study of Markby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we saw that in 8:27—9:13 we have a revelation of Christ with His death and resurrection as the universal replacement for everything that is not God Himself. In this message we shall go on to consider 9:14-50.
It is not easy to understand what is revealed in 9:14-50. What is the main subject of this portion of the Gospel of Mark? If we divide this section into small pieces, we may have some understanding of particular points. But what do we see when all of the verses are put together?
This portion of thirty-seven verses begins with the case of casting a dumb spirit out of a man’s son (9:14-29). This took place immediately after the Lord and three of His disciples came down from the mount of transfiguration. “And coming to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes disputing with them. And immediately all the crowd seeing Him were amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him” (vv. 14-15). When the Lord Jesus questioned them about the dispute, “one of the crowd answered Him, Teacher, I brought my son to You, having a dumb spirit; and wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth, and he is wasting away; and I told Your disciples that they might cast it out, and they were not able” (vv. 17-18).
Here we see that the case involved a dumb spirit; it was not a matter of the entire person needing to be healed. In verse 25 we see that it was a dumb and deaf spirit that was cast out of the child. Therefore, once again there was the need for a particular dealing with the hearing and speaking organs.
The father of the child had asked the Lord’s disciples to cast out the demon, but they were not able to do so. As learners, they should have been able to cast out this demon. But because they were not able to do it, there was a serious dispute. When the Lord came down from the mountain of transfiguration, He came into that situation. He then proceeded to cast out the dumb and deaf spirit.
Mark 9:28 says, “And when He entered into a house, His disciples questioned Him privately, Why were we not able to cast it out?” The disciples seemed to be saying to the Lord, “We have been following You and learning of You for a long period of time. It was easy for You to cast out the demon. But why were we not able to do it?”
In verse 29 we have the Lord’s answer to the disciples’ question: “This kind cannot come out by anything, except by prayer.” The Lord’s word here indicates that the disciples failed to pray, and that was the reason they could not cast out the demon.
Do you know what it means to pray? To pray means that we realize that we are nothing and that we can do nothing. This implies that prayer is the real denial of the self. To pray, therefore, is to deny ourselves, knowing that we are nothing and are not able to do anything. Furthermore, to pray is actually to declare, “Not I, but Christ.”
Instead of praying, the disciples tried to cast out the demon. Perhaps they said to themselves, “We have been watching the Lord cast out demons for more than two years, and we have learned of Him. We should be able to cast the demon out of this child.” But although they attempted to cast out the demon, they were not successful. We may say that they tried to cast out the demon without the necessary power, energy, divine electricity.
I wish to emphasize the fact that the word “prayer” in 9:29 actually indicates “no longer I, but Christ.” Concerning this matter, we need to understand why this case immediately follows the revelation of Christ as our replacement and the Lord’s word about denying ourselves. We need to deny ourselves so that Christ may be our replacement and become everything to us. Although the disciples saw this revelation, they did not practice it or live according to it. To see the revelation is one thing; but to live it is another.
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