Jesus acted, there was a struggle, and then the boy was completely cured. The disciples-well the nine-asked Him why they too couldn't cure the boy as they had great success on the road when He had sent them out to the villages and towns- Mark 3 v 14, 15. Jesus' answer implied that they had been equipped with power but had not prayed enough to maintain that power. Similarly to all God-given gifts, if there is not continued contact and communion with God, that gift withers. We can lose vitality-that something extra which makes for greatness; we lose humility as we begin to use the gift for ourselves rather than for the glory of God. We can only keep and enrich the gifts God has given us by continual contact with the God who gave them. What gifts might you be in danger of losing?
Again, in the couple of seemingly innocuous verses we have in 30 and 31, there is a large milestone stated: Jesus has now left the north country where He was safe and has taken the first step towards Jerusalem and the cross. Jesus knew that His time on earth was brief and one of His main intentions had been to disciple some believers so that the message of Good News He had brought would survive and flourish. We have an example here of the way Jesus step by step revealed the details of His betrayal and death to the Twelve. In Mark 8 v 31 He had foretold His death, but here He describes the way He would be captured and was appealing for the last time to His betrayer, not for His sake, but for the preservation of Judas Iscariot, whom He loved.
It appears that the disciples were beginning to comprehend that Jesus' life would end brutally, but they had no conception that He would rise again. In all the accounts of Christ's resurrection we read that the disciples are totally shocked by this! Just like many of us today, they accepted the parts of the message which they liked and suited them, but refused to understand the rest. Some people say to me that there are parts of the Bible which speak of things about God which they don't like and they reject them because they are not 'the Jesus I know'! One of the purposes in studying Scripture is to know God through His Word.