Q. In Mark 9: 14-27 a man brought a boy with a dumb spirit to JESUS. In vs. 19 he asked the father how long ago did this happen? Why did JESUS ask him that? Wouldn’t JESUS have known that? Then in vs: 22 the father said if you can do anything help us, and in vs 23 JESUS said if you can believe all things are possible to him that believes. In vs: 24 the father said i believe.. help my unbelief. What does all that mean? Did he believe or not?
A. We’re not told why Jesus asked this question. It could have simply been a way for him to begin a conversation with the man.
When the man said, “I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24) I think he was revealing his uncertainty based on the disciples inability to heal his son. He was obviously very distraught over the boy’s condition. From Mark 9:17 it appears he had brought his son to Jesus specifically to be healed, perhaps as a last resort. If so, seeing the disciples fail could have dealt a crushing blow to his faith.
By the way, I think the disciples’ inability came from the argument they were having with the teachers of the law who were there (Mark 9:14). I think the disciples had been intimidated by these “experts” which caused them to have doubts in their own minds, even though Jesus had previously given them authority over evil spirits (Mark 6:7). This could have been what caused the Lord to express His own frustration with them (Mark 9:19).
One thing we can see here is how easy it is for unbelievers to cause doubts to arise in our minds about the Lord’s ability to keep His promises to us.