Jesus Heals a Mute Boy

Mark provides a series of parables in chronological order matched to the overall story of the Bible. This one is about Babel.

The Story

14And when he came to his disciples, he saw a large crowd with them and the scribes debating with them. 15And immediately, all the people saw him and were greatly surprised, and they ran to greet him. 16And he asked the scribes, What do you debate with them? 171 of the multitude answered saying, Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit of dumbness. 18And whenever it seizes him, it troubles him; and he foams and gnashes his teeth and faints. And I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not. 19Joshua answered and said to him, Faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I preach to you? Bring him to me. 20And they brought the boy to Joshua; and when the spirit seized him, it immediately troubled him; and he fell on the ground, gasping and foaming. 21So Joshua asked his father, How long has he been like this? He said to him, From his childhood. 22And many times, it has thrown him into the fire and into the water to destroy him; but whatever you can do, help me and have mercy on me. 23Joshua said to him, If you can believe, everything is possible to him who believes. 24And immediately, the father of the boy cried out weeping and said, I do believe, help my little faith. 25When Joshua saw that people were running and gathering about him, he rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, Deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again. 26And the epileptic cried out violently and was tortured, and the spirit went out; then the boy became as if dead, so that many said, He is dead. 27Then Joshua took him by the hand and lifted him up. 28When Joshua entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could we not cast it out? 29He said to them, This kind cannot be cast out with anything except by fasting and prayer. Mark 9:14-29

Background

In this parable Jesus encounters a man who has a boy with a mute spirit. Jesus’ disciples are unable to cast out the demon so they bring the boy to Jesus. The mute spirit, in world history, showed up at the Tower of Babel. This event was about 2000 years after the flood and is the first important story after Noah’s flood.

In the tower of Babel the people were ordered to separate and spread across the world, but they refused. The Lord himself stepped in and cast out the demon and cast the people across the world. In this parable of that historical story the people surrounding the boy are unable or unwilling to cast out the demon. This is like it was at the tower of Babel. Jesus has to step in in order to set the boy free. This too is like it was at the tower where the Lord descended and intervened in the history of mankind in order to effect a Godly change.

The gathered crowds in this parable are the crowds who refused to leave the region of Babel.

Jesus exclaims that this generation is faithless. This is a typical word Jesus uses for the people alive at the time in history when the parable applies. In this case the faithless generation was the generation at the Tower of Babel. The Lord did not remain with that generation long, only long enough to confuse their language.

Faith, properly defined, is to believe a plan Jesus has laid out for someone’s life, even tough nothing like it has been seen before. The people at Tower of Babel could not envision the world filled with people. The world was mostly wilderness. They could not see millions of people. They had no confidence that what the Lord had asked of them could happen.

The boy’s father plays to this theme when he asks for Jesus to help is unbelief. The boy’s father was preventing the boy’s healing because he, too, could not envision what it would be like if the boy was healed.

The spirit itself was a mute spirit, it did not allow the boy to speak. This is of course a key problem at the time of the Tower of Babel. The world only had one language. Language is important because it has the greatest impact on how human beings think. Different languages cause different thought processes. The mental processes that go with language also impact the ability of people to reflect the divine nature. Today’s world has roughly 6000 natural languages. When the spirit was cast out the boy was no longer deaf, mute or dumb.

After this unclean spirit is cast out of the boy, he appears like a dead man. This is the parable’s match to the end of the construction on the city and tower of Babel. Mankind appeared dead. There was no longer anywone working on the tower or the city near by. With Jesus’ personal help, the boy was revived and went on to live a normal life.

Finally, at the end of the parable, the disciples ask Jesus why they could not cast out the spirit. Jesus’ answer is that this spirit can only come out by fasting and prayer.

When someone is commanded by Jesus to do something that is unseen, even unheard of, there is a tendency to keep on with the old life. To build our own towers to heaven, our own idols. Breaking that spirit can only happen when we humble ourselves, ask Jesus to increase our belief, and finally through fasting and prayer get rid of the mute spirit.

Jesus Predicts Death and Ressurrection

30And when they went out from there, they passed through Galilee; and he did not want any man to know about him. 31For he taught his disciples, and said to them, The son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and after he is killed, he will rise on the 3rd day. 32But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask him. Mark 9:30-32

As the disciples were passing through Galilee, Jesus predicted that he would be betrayed and then rise from the dead on the third day. This 3 day reference follows the standard model. Every time Jesus references a day, he is prophetically indicating an interval 1000 years long for each day referenced.

The Tower of Babel, the story just completed, happened at about 8000 years from Adam, 3000 years before Jesus.

Jesus is teaching about his resurrection in chronological relationship to the tower of Babel and driving out the mute spirit.

The fact that the disciples don’t understand the resurrection is a remarkable editorial on most of the modern Christian world. Rarely do modern doctrinal statements reference the promise of the general resurrection from the dead. The disciples didn’t understand this, neither do Christians today.

Question: What happens when you die? Your answer better include the general resurrection of all dead believers in Jesus that happens after Jesus returns. There is no departure from earth until after this happens. If this makes no sense to you then you, too, don’t understand the resurrection.

Phil Stone, Updated 2016-11-06