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


14When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15"Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him." Matthew 17:14-1617"O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." 18Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. Matthew 17:17-1819Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" Matthew 17:1920He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." 21 Matthew 17:20-21
(Matthew 17:14-21 NIV)


14When 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. Mark 9:14-1516"What are you arguing with them about?" he asked. Mark 9:1617A 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." Mark 9:17-1819"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." Mark 9:1920So 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. Mark 9:2021Jesus 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." Mark 9:21-2223"`If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." Mark 9:2324Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:2425When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." Mark 9:2526The 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. Mark 9:26-2728After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" Mark 9:2829He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer." Mark 9:29
(Mark 9:14-29 NIV)


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. An earlier article showed this event was about 2000 years after the flood, our about 8020 AA. It 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. God 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 God 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. God 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 God 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 anyone 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 Resurrection


22When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. 23They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life." And the disciples were filled with grief. Matthew 17:22-23
(Matthew 17:22-23 NIV)


30They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise." 32But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it. Mark 9:30-32
(Mark 9:30-32 NIV)

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.(2 Pet 3:8)

The Tower of Babel, the story just completed, happened at about 8020 AA. Adding 3 days * 1000 days/year = 3000 years yields 8020 AA + 3000 years = 11020 AA.

We previously worked out that his resurrection was on 11019-10-11 AA so off across 3000 years by about 4 months.