The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. Just then a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, because he’s my only child. A spirit seizes him; suddenly he shrieks, and it throws him into convulsions until he foams at the mouth; severely bruising him, it scarcely ever leaves him” (9:37-39 CSB).
In this passage we see the concern of any normal father for the well-being of his child. Every kind father wants his children to be healthy, properly clothed, fed, housed, and educated. He wants them to live in safety, peace and happiness.
Such a father we read about in our Scripture text of this morning. He is not an “absentee father”. He is concerned and involved. He is on the job. However, his son is in desperate need. What can this man do to help his son? How can we best help our children? Let us carefully consider the word of God together to see what this man learned and experienced.
However, as we consider this event, let us see Jesus. This event directly followed the Transfiguration. In the last section, we saw Jesus in a revelation of his divine majesty, receiving glory and honor from God the Father. But now, Jesus leaves the mountaintop and returns to the other disciples in the valley below. In both places we see that Jesus is Lord over all. This is important. Jesus was Lord in whatever earthly condition he experienced. He was Lord teaching the crowds, healing the sick, walking dusty roads, going out for dinner, and he was Lord as he hung on the cross. Jesus is Lord, regardless of our condition, whether we are full of faith or filled with fear, whether we are rich or poor, strong or weak, full of joy or full of sorrow, or whatever condition we might be in. Jesus is Lord.
In our text, we encounter a son in trouble (9:37-39). This boy had a serious affliction. A demon had taken possession of him. We could waste a lot of time in useless guessing about how this happened. The Spirit has not revealed how this occurred. Restrain yourself from empty speculation when the Bible is silent. I know that some believers cannot resist this temptation, but turn from it immediately! What we should see is that the dark powers of evil were certainly at work then; they still are today.
Observe the demon’s influence over the boy. See how they work to destroy human beings. The demon sought to destroy the child emotionally, socially, and physically. Why do I say socially? Would you want a child like that near you? (Be honest.) Think about how the boy’s emotions were being ripped apart. And what about the physical pain he endured? This was a war of dark horror to destroy a human.
Perhaps someone is wondering how we should meet such adversaries in our day. The Lord has not given us instruction about exorcism, but on spiritual resistance and evangelism (Ephesians 6:10-18; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Acts 26:18). To say this another way, a follower of Christ should always be wearing his or her spiritual armor and should always be ready to give an answer for our hope in Christ (1 Peter 3:15).
Look at the boy’s resultant physical injury. Some have said that his symptoms resemble epilepsy. But without adequate medical facts, there is no reason to give any opinion. We know that the evil powers are able to cause disease (Job 2:7), so epilepsy would be included. Besides what Luke records here, Mark tells us that the boy was also deaf and mute (Mark 9:25). Here was a tragic case.
Think on his father’s efforts to help him. Oh, the heartache of parents when their child or children are ill or seriously injured! Every loving parent will shudder when they read what this father tried to do for his son. He had made previous attempts. After whatever else he had tried, he had heard of the ability of Jesus and the disciples to cast out demons, and so he took his boy there (Mark 6:12-13). He had come to his last hope: the return of Jesus from the Mount of Transfiguration. “Perhaps Jesus can rescue my boy!”
Have you come to the place in your life where you realize that all depends on Jesus? Children across our land are having an increasing problem coping with what is happening now. They cannot grasp why their world has changed. As the corona virus currently ravages our world, few are calling on the name of the Lord for deliverance. Fewer still want to turn from their sins. People need to repent of greed, violence, racism, and sexual immorality. Repent and then pray for deliverance. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened (Psalm 66:18 NIV). Let’s humble ourselves before Almighty God today.
Grace and peace,