The response of Jesus to the father of the incurable son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:17, Luke, chapter 9:41, and here in Mark, almost word for word. However, Mark, chapter 9:19-27, has an extended detailed version of this story, while Luke, chapter 9:41-42, has a shorter version of this story. Mark said that Jesus responded to them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτοῖς λέγει). He called them out as a faithless generation (Ὦ γενεὰ ἄπιστος). Almost in desperation, he wondered how much longer he was going to be with them (ἕως πότε πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἔσομαι) and how much longer did he have to bear with or put up with them (ἕως πότε ἀνέξομαι ὑμῶν). He told them to bring the boy to him (φέρετέ αὐτὸν πρός με).
The story of the man with the incurable son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:16, Luke, chapter 9:40, and here in Mark. Then there was the kicker, Mark, like the other gospel writers, indicated that this man had asked Jesus’s disciples (καὶ εἶπα τοῖς μαθηταῖς σου) to cast out this spirit from his son (ἵνα αὐτὸ ἐκβάλωσιν), but they did not have the ability to do so (καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσαν). Why were the disciples of Jesus unable to cure his son?
The story of the man with the incurable son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:15, Luke, chapter 9:39, and here in Mark, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts. Apparently, this son was an epileptic, who was often considered to be possessed by the devil. Even today, we are still unsure of the exact cause of epilepsy seizures. This description of the young man’s suffering differed from Matthew who had the child suffer very badly, falling into fire and water. Luke had a description similar to Mark. However, this was a very descriptive narrative of what was happening to this young man. Mark said that whenever the spirit seized him (καὶ ὅπου ἐὰν αὐτὸν καταλάβῃ), it dashed or threw him down (ῥήσσει αὐτόν). This young boy would foam (καὶ ἀφρίζει) at the mouth. He would grind or gnash his teeth (αὶ τρίζει τοὺς ὀδόντας). He would become rigid as he was wasting or withering away (καὶ ξηραίνεται).
The story of the man with the incurable son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:15, Luke, chapter 9:38, and here in Mark, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts. Here it is someone from the crowd who answered Jesus (καὶ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ εἷς ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου), not a kneeling man as in Matthew. This man addressed Jesus as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε),” and not as “Lord (Κύριε)” as in Matthew. He had brought his son to Jesus (ἤνεγκα τὸν υἱόν μου πρὸς σέ). His son had a spirit that made him unable to speak (ἔχοντα πνεῦμα ἄλαλον). He was not immediately identified as an epileptic, but as a mute person.
This is also unique to Mark, who said that Jesus asked or questioned his disciples (καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτούς) about what they were arguing, disputing, or discussing with the Scribes (Τί συνζητεῖτε πρὸς αὑτούς). However, there was no indication of what they were discussing here. Perhaps it was about the story to come of why the disciples were not able to cast out the evil spirit.
As Jesus left his small group of disciples, a large crowd came towards him. This incident is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 17:14, and Luke, chapter 9:37, but yet unique to Mark, who said that suddenly a large crowd saw Jesus (καὶ εὐθὺς πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος ἰδόντες αὐτὸν). They were amazed or overcome with awe (ἐξεθαμβήθησαν) since he was like a celebrity. They all ran forward to greet him (καὶ προστρέχοντες ἠσπάζοντο αὐτόν).
This is another unique verse of Mark. He said Jesus came to his disciples (Καὶ ἐλθόντες πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς). He saw a great crowd around them (εἶδον ὄχλον πολὺν περὶ αὐτοὺς). Some Scribes were arguing, disputing, or discussing with them (καὶ γραμματεῖς συνζητοῦντας πρὸς αὐτούς). There was no indication what they were discussing or arguing about.
Much like Matthew, chapter 17:12, Mark said that Jesus spoke to his disciples with a solemn pronouncement (ἀλλὰ λέγω ὑμῖν). He said that Elijah had already come (ὅτι καὶ Ἡλείας ἐλήλυθεν), but they did to him whatever they pleased or wanted to do (καὶ ἐποίησαν αὐτῷ ὅσα ἤθελον). Thus, it is written about him (καθὼς γέγραπται ἐπ’ αὐτόν). There is no clear link here of Elijah to John the Baptist as there was in Matthew, but it might be implied.
This verse about the future sufferings of the Son of Man is unique to Mark. Jesus said that it was written (καὶ πῶς γέγραπται) that the Son of man (ἐπὶ τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) would go through many great sufferings (ἵνα πολλὰ πάθῃ). He would be despised or treated with contempt (καὶ ἐξουδενηθῇ). Obviously, the Son of Man seemed to be tied in some way with Elijah.
The role of Elijah can be found also in Matthew, chapter 17:11, as well as here in Mark.Mark said that Jesus did not disagree with the Scribes. He responded to his disciples (ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτοῖς) by reiterating that Elijah was indeed coming first to restore all things (Ἡλείας μὲν ἐλθὼν πρῶτον ἀποκαθιστάνει πάντα). There is no doubt that the role of Elijah, a 9th century BCE northern Israel prophet, dominated late first century Jewish thought.