7651 - Demonized Son

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The peak of every mountain top experience is followed by a descent back down towards the valley.

Consider what happened to Peter, John and James along with Jesus after the transfiguration.

In Luke 9:37-43 we read:

The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. A man in the crowd called out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 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. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not."

"O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here."

Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil[a] spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.


As they descended, a distressed man cried out to Jesus. His only child, a son, was inhabited by a demon spirit. From the parallel accounts we learn that this demon spirit cast this boy into seizures. Sometimes the boy fell into the fire or into the water. It made him foam at the mouth and grind his teeth.

We can imagine the consternation within the father. Often he had to rescue his son from possible deadly perils like being burned or drown.

He had sought out Jesus, but when Jesus was absent this father had appealed to the disciples to heal the boy. From the account they had attempted to set the boy free but were not able to do so.

Keep in mind that some of the disciples of Jesus had previously cast out demons. At the beginning of Luke 9 we find the record of Jesus sending out the twelve to minister in Galilee. He had given them power and authority to cast out devils, heal sick people, and even to raise the dead. Why were they unable to rid this boy of this evil spirit?

The comment of Jesus was: “O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”

Some may ask who was unbelieving? A good question. Perhaps Jesus was chastening the father for his lack of faith in the ability of the apostles. In Mark’s account of this episode there is an exchange where Jesus tells the father, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” The father immediately responded, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”

Even as the boy was coming to Jesus, the demon threw the boy into convulsions. In mercy and grace Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, and healed the boy. This means that Jesus sent the spirit away so that he no longer tormented the boy. He was healed.

In Matthew’s record of this event the disciples later asked Jesus why they could not cast out the demon. At that time Jesus chided them because of their little faith.

God possesses emotions. On occasions He was agitated with the Israelites. Jesus — the God/Man — certainly experienced emotions. Don’t you suppose he shook his head in this situation? Here He is engaged in training the disciples and apostles for authority and leadership in the early church. My heart goes out to Jesus as He says: “O unbelieving and perverse generation; how long shall I stay with you?” The schedule was running down. It was now about six months before Calvary. Would they respond? Would they believe and trust?

True, those who looked on were amazed at the greatness of God. Surely, many times these disciples had likewise been awed by God’s love and power.

But how about us? Do we always act in faith? Do we trust and depend upon God? I’m sure that too many times we have kindred attitudes and doubts with this crowd at the foot the mountain.

Like the father of the afflicted boy, we pray, “O God, we believe! Help our unbelief!”