At the foot of the mountain they found a great crowd surrounding the other disciples, as some teachers of religious law were arguing with them.
The crowd watched Jesus in awe as he came toward them, and then they ran to greet him.
"What is all this arguing about?" he asked.
One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, "Teacher, I brought my son for you to heal him. He can't speak because he is possessed by an evil spirit that won't let him talk.
And whenever this evil spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground and makes him foam at the mouth and grind his teeth and become rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn't do it."
Jesus said to them, "You faithless people! How long must I be with you until you believe? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."
So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.
"How long has this been happening?" Jesus asked the boy's father. He replied, "Since he was very small.
The evil spirit often makes him fall into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us. Do something if you can."
"What do you mean, 'If I can'?" Jesus asked. "Anything is possible if a person believes."
The father instantly replied, "I do believe, but help me not to doubt!"
When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. "Spirit of deafness and muteness," he said, "I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!"
Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy lay there motionless, and he appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd, "He's dead."
But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up.
Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, "Why couldn't we cast out that evil spirit?"
Jesus replied, "This kind can be cast out only by prayer. "