Mark 9:28

When Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

we did everything by the book
textus receptus to the letter
it has always worked before

now that we won’t be embarrassed
we sweetly ask
what the hell went wrong

our notes are in order
our intentions unhurried
ivory-soap pure

check our equations
they rebalance dystopia
toward Paradise Extended

so this won’t happen again
what’s this secret ingredient
you forgot to mention

In typical Markan fashion, there is a public event and a private extrapolation of it for the disciples and readers. This is still a common process where our public failure is examined in private with those we trust.

A review is helpful to check off where things went awry.

The disciples were authorized to go out two-by-two to cast out demons. Here we had nine disciples. Check plus.

The disciples have practiced casting out demons and Jesus marveled at their ability. Check. Confidence, present.

The disciples ran through their exorcism check-list and did their work from the least intrusive method to their most energetic. Check. No technique was left untried.

Was there some environmental aspect that heretofore has gone unnoticed. Was it the doubt of the Scribes? Was it the unbelief of the parent? Was it something about the crowd? Was this a new demon that didn’t understand it was weaker than it pretended to be?

As readers we are also curious about this failure. We wonder, “Might it have something to do with hospitality or humility? After all, the practicum of the disciples took place with them receiving hospitality and the humility to not look to better themselves through gifts of healing. Was it their being if not their doing that was getting in the way? Had they started to argue amongst themselves when it became obvious that their work wasn’t working?

It would be expected that the disciples had tried to wrestle this one out on the way to their way-house. Like the joke about male drivers who are lost, asking was a last resort.

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