AMAZING LORD, INEPT MEN
Lord, You are master over all sickness and malady.
Read LUKE 9:37–45
Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy
37 The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”
41 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”
42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.
Jesus Predicts His Death a Second Time
While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, 44 “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
New International Version (NIV)
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“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
We are tempted to feel superior to the disciples as portrayed in this passage. For one thing, they lack skill and authority when it comes to healing a demon-possessed boy and are next to useless. They earn Jesus’ stinging and heartfelt rebuke (41). For another, they are obtuse in failing to grasp Jesus’ way to the cross, despite having been told before (9:22). In documents that some critics would dismiss as Christian propaganda, the disciples are consistently presented in non-heroic terms. But I ﬁnd it easy to see myself in them. The overall effect is to magnify the mighty authority and clarity of Jesus himself. This is not propaganda but testimony.
Jesus comes down from the mountain of transﬁguration fully armed with God’s power—power put to a compassionate use. Our hearts go out to this father (and surely to the mother as well) whose only son is dreadfully possessed by an evil power beyond his control, convulsing the boy with screaming and foaming at the mouth. It is a distressing and frightening scene, but Jesus is not intimidated. In the power of God, he overcomes the spirit, heals the boy and hands him back to a relieved father. God is gloriﬁed (43). Jesus once again proves he is God incarnate and compassion personiﬁed.
Today’s assumption is that such happenings are properly seen as mental illnesses for which the remedy is psychiatric. Of course, this is often the case, but perhaps sometimes we are dealing with realities that are more complicated: a little more intertwined than that. We do well to remember that evil is a power, not an illusion. To overcome it requires more than human resources. We need the power and presence of God working in us through Jesus.
Reflect on these words: “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (Mark 5:36).
Lord, heal us of whatever physical or spiritual malaise afflicts us, and keep us from the power of the devil, its originator.