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The Healing of a Boy with a Demon June 9, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 17:14-23.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus and His disciples encounter a man in a posture of reverence. He asks Jesus to have compassion on his son, as his son has life-threatening grand mal seizures. Moreover, His disciples have not healed his son – indicating that they have failed to appropriate the power that He has given them.

Jesus responds by:

  • bemoaning the failure of all of His contemporaries
  • casting out the source of the boy’s grand mal seizures – a demon
  • asserting that the faith of His disciples needs to grow.

He also predicts that:

  • He will be betrayed to the Jewish leaders – who will kill Him
  • God the Father will raise Him from the dead after three days.

His disciples are despondent, as they fail to comprehend these predictions.

Thoughts: Here, we see that the nine disciples who did not witness the Transfiguration failed to cast out a seizure-inducing demon. Ryle offers some thoughts on this point:

Second, we see in these verses a striking example of the weakening effect of unbelief. The disciples anxiously inquired of our Lord, when they saw the devil yielding to his power, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” (verse 19) They received an answer full of the deepest instruction: “Because you have so little faith” (verse 20). Did they want to know the secret of their own sad failure in the hour of need? It was lack of faith.

When I first read through this passage, I found fault with these nine disciples. Shouldn’t they have been empowered by Jesus’ repeated demonstrations of His divine power? Why did they fail to grasp the power that He had given them? After pondering this point, I realized that even Peter, who had witnessed the Transfiguration, would later deny Him three times. Clearly, the timing was not right for God to display His power through these nine disciples. One potential modern-day application of this point is that patience is a salient feature of the Christian life. We often bewail our weaknesses and lament our inability to serve as flawless vessels of God’s grace. Yet this passage reminds us that in this life, we will not be completely sanctified; we will fall short of perfection. Can we trust in God to perfect us in His timing? Can we hew to a long-term view of our walk with Him?

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