Lesson 68: Jesus Healed a Demoniac Boy and Returned Through Galilee
Matt. 17:14-23, Mark 9: 14-32, Luke 9: 37-45
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Welcome again! This is lesson # 68, which is a continuation of our last lesson. As Jesus and the three disciples, Peter, James and John came down from some part of Mt. Hermon; you will remember Jesus charged the three disciples they should not tell about the transfiguration on the mountain until after that Jesus had arisen form the dead. It was not the appropriate time. It would cause confusion- and would NOT help the cause at that time. Also, as they descended that mountain; Jesus explained to them that John the Baptist was the figurative Elijah that had been predicted in the O.T. However, as they approached the place at the foot of the mountain where Jesus had left the other nine apostles; they saw a large crowd gathered. Some in that crowd began to run toward Jesus and the three apostles when they saw them at a distance. Let's read Luke first and then we'll get Mark, and then Matthew. Luke 9:37 is where we begin. V.37-43 is what we shall read. Are you ready? Luke 9:37-43, let's read. "And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met them. And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son; for he is mine only child. And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him, hardly departeth from him. And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not. And Jesus answering said, 0 faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither. And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father. And they were all amazed at the might power of God."
O.K. our second reading will come from Mark 9:14-29 which is the longest reading. So, find Mark 9:14, let's read. "And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway all of the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him; and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, 0 faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."
That leaves Matthew's account, Matt. 17:14 beginning. We'll read v.14-21. Have you found Matthew? Let's read, beginning in Matt. 17:14. "And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son; for he is lunatic, an sore vexed: for oftentimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, 0 faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief; for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove: and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
It would be hard to estimate the number of people that Jesus healed of diseases and how many devils Jesus cast out among the people during his ministry. The case at hand is one more example. This case stands out; because, the apostles failed in casting out the demon. You will remember that Jesus gave the twelve powers against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness; in Matt. ch. 10 at the time they were sent on the limited commission. But, they seemed to falter on this occasion.
Try to get the occasion clearly in mind. Can you mentally see four figures appear in the distance? Jesus, Peter, James and John returning to camp. As Jesus and the three disciples approached the crowd, the crowd began to move toward Jeaus. Mark said, "all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him." Mark said, "when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them." These scribes had caught the apostles in the only case they had failed to cure. I get the impression the scribes were taking full advantage of this occasion to discredit Christ as well as the apostles. Probably there were a few sarcastic questions and remarks being bounced around. But, when Jesus came to the scribes (Mark 9:16), Jesus asked the scribes, "What question ye with them?" But, as soon as Jesus spoke to the scribes; they apparently buttoned up their lip. You will remember, of course, that Jesus knew what was in man. So, when Jesus approached them, head-on so-to-speak; they quieted down to see what Jesus would do.
The man with the little son apparently left the little boy; possibly, with other members of the family and moved in the direction from which Jesus and the three disciples approached. When the two groups met, the man immediately kneeled down to Jesus and said, "Lord, have mercy on my son..." and he proceeded to describe to Jesus the condition of his son. What does it mean to be lunatic? The boy was mentally unstable. What about sore vexed? Some kind of tender lesions that occurred profusely over the body. The boy had a lack of body control, to the point of falling and reeling that sometimes cause him to get burned and to fall into the water. Do you get the picture? Then the man came to the part that the scribes wanted to hear. The man said, "I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him." (Matt. 17:16). Then Mark 9:20 said "they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming." When the little boy was brought to the location within that multitude where Jesus was, the demon tare him. We've discussed demons before and it seems that was the root cause of the boy's condition. It would appear that demons were as divers as people in disposition. Like the demons in the Gadarene man; this demon too was very aware of Jesus' presence. Except, this one seemed to have no plea bargaining boldness. However, from the things said about this spirit; IT [Can I call it an IT?], IT must have been a very foul spirit. That's what Mark called it in Mark 9:25.
When the man said that the disciples couldn't cast it out; Jesus said: "0 faithless generation, how long shall I be with you?" Was this a rebuke to the nine apostles who could not cast out the foul spirit? I'm not sure just how this remark was directed. It may have been a sort of general statement, applied to the crowd in general. Because, I sense from the situation that day; there was a general lack of faith in that crowd. The scribes had bantered the nine apostles and the disbelief had spread through the crowd. We have talked about faith before. Faith is not something you can turn-off or turn-on. But, we all have our moments of strength and our moments of weakness. Remember our faith can grow. It can grow stronger or it can grow weaker. And most of us would probably be surprised how fast the curve changes on our graph of faith, so-to-speak.
Jesus started a conversation with the man, "How long is it ago since this came unto him?" The man said, "Of a child." You must realize that all of this took place in a momentary short time. Apparently the crowd has been scattered somewhat. About that time another segment of the crowd came running in their direction. Mark said in v. 25, "When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit." You might also notice that Jesus forbade the spirit to re-enter the boy any more. When the spirit came out, v.26 says "the spirit cried, and rent him sore." When the spirit came out, the boy seem to relax and become limp. Some said, "He is dead." But, Jesus reached down and took the boy by the hand and lifted him up. Luke said he delivered him to his father. You'll have to use your imagination of that father and that little boy departing, the text does not describe the scene. Luke said, "they were all amazed at the mighty power of God." And I would assume that included the scribes. But, before we leave that thought; I might call your attention to v.18 in Matthew's account. Matthew said, "the child was cured from that very hour." So, in that sense this healing was like every healing that Jesus did, instantly, completely, and permanently. Something you can't say for the so-called faith healers of day.
Then after it was over and Jesus with his apostles had entered into the house; it says they asked Jesus Privately, "Why could not we cast him out?" To their question Jesus emphasized the value of prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting are thus activities that increase our faith. Also, you might notice at Caesarea Philippi and thereabouts; the apostles are often called disciples. The apostles were disciples. They were special disciples in the sense that Jesus had appointed them for a special work; but, it's also possible that some other highly dedicated disciples went along on this tour like the situation at the beginning of Luke ch. 8. In the book of Acts where they cast their lot and the Lord selected another disciple to replace Judas; it is indicated that some disciples had been with Jesus, "all the time that the Lord went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, until that day that he was taken up..."
Apparently, it was immediately after or shortly after the healing of the demoniac boy; that Jesus and the apostles left the area of Caesarea Philippi. They travel through Galilee and came to Capernaum, which was more or less the headquarters of Jesus and his party of disciples. The fact that they traveled through Galilee, tells us they came down from Caesarea Philippi on the west side of the Jordan; instead of the east side like they returned from Tyre and Sidon. As they traveled through Galilee; they traveled in a quiet and private manner. Obviously, this had to do with the treats on Jesus' life. That apparently was the reason for the retirement trip through Tyre and Sidon as well as the retirement tour they took to Caesarea Philippi. I believe we have time to cover a few more verses. Let's read three verse in Luke, three verses in Mark and two verses in Matthew. These verses all follow what we read at the beginning. We'll read all three accounts before we comment. Starting with Luke 9:43. Let's read v.43-44-45. Are you ready? Beginning in Luke 9:43. "And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every man at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples, Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not his saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying."
Now, Mark! Mark 9:30-31-32. Three verses, beginning in Mark 9:30. Let's read. "And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it. For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him."
Then back to Matthew for two verses. Matt. 17:22-23. Have you found it? Beginning in Matt. 17:22, let's read. "And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hand of men: and they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry."
Mark said, "He taught his disciples." (v.31). Of course, that was the purpose of the entire trip to Caesarea Philippi as well as the trip through Tyre and Sidon. But, on this occasion, as they were someplace in Galilee; Jesus told them plainly, "The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day." As you look back and study this; we can see that was about as straight forward as it could be said. But, one of the interesting things here is that Jesus apparently NEVER, NEVER gave them a time table of the future. In that verse (Mark v.31), Jesus said "The Son of man IS delivered...", as if it were eminently present. That's the way he talked about the kingdom, "the kingdom of heaven is at hand." But, time, (that is) exact timing, seems to be the only thing that Jesus withheld from his disciples. On this occasion as well as two or three occasions in the very recent past; Jesus foretold his death to the apostles very plainly, including the part about "he shall rise the third day." Then notice that in v.32 Mark said, "they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him." Now, why was that? Well first of all, it was a pretty delicate issue talking about Jesus' death. Try talking to anyone about their death. Secondly, this was hard for them to fathom in that they did not have a correct view of the messiah and the kingdom; as is demonstrated over and over. They couldn't see how the messiah, such a great king and prophet would be subjected to such suffering and death. And, in the third place, if I had been Peter, I would have been pretty careful about speaking after his experience up on Mt. Hermon following the transfiguration. They wanted to know more but they dared not ask. That's the idea, there in v.32. The clock says adjourn! I see you in our next lesson. Have a good day!