Summary: This man had to say to Jesus, “I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” The man knelt before Jesus and begged Him to help his son. A sense of need will bring people to their knees. The devil by divine permission had caused the....
Lesson: Epileptic Healed
And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him” (Matt. 17:14-16).
Peter, James and John had witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus, and following that great event Jesus and His disciples descended the mountain and joined the other disciples who had been waiting for them to return. What happens next is a sad situation because the disciples were impotent. And this is probably the worse case that had been brought to the attention of Jesus. This is a picture of the church today in a world that is demon possessed and has gone crazy. Why is the church impotent in this crazy world? Is it because it doesn’t have enough psychology or enough methods or enough money? It has all these things, but they are not what the church really needs. The church needs to preach all the Word of God and build all their programs on the one foundation of Jesus Christ. It is His church, because God has made Him the head of the church.
There was a multitude of people waiting for Jesus to return, as there always was. Mark will add a little more detail about what had been happening while they were away. He said that there was a dispute going on between the crowd and disciples because of their inability to heal a young boy. The boy’s father brought him to Jesus. This man had to say to Jesus, “I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” The man knelt before Jesus and begged Him to help his son. A sense of need will bring people to their knees. The devil by divine permission had caused the condition in the boy, and he tormented the boy constantly. The father told Jesus that the boy was an epileptic, but when Jesus cured the boy, it was by casting out a troublesome demon.
Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me” (Matt. 17:17).
Jesus scolded those about Him; “O faithless and perverse generation!” He was not speaking to the disciples only, but to the people, and especially to the scribes, who insulted the disciples because they had finally encountered a case which they couldn’t cure. He scolds them for two things: first, because they lack maturity, “How long shall I be with you?; second, because of their faithlessness and unreasonableness, “How long shall I bear with you? “O faithless and perverse generation.” This would be His word to the church in our day and probably individually to you and me. But even though Christ is angry, He is never unkind or lacking in compassion for the afflicted. He said, “Bring him here to Me.” Jesus is the Great Physician. Take your case to Him.
And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour (Matt.17:18).
Jesus rebuked the people and then He rebuked the demon. Christ’s victories over Satan are by the power of His word. Satan cannot stand before the rebukes of Christ. The child was cured the moment that the demon left. Christ’s cure was immediate and complete. This should encourage parents to bring their children to Christ, because He is able to heal them of Satan’s power, and He is as willing as he is able. Bring them to Christ by prayer and by bringing them to the Word of Christ.
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:19-21).
They asked why they couldn’t cast out the demon. Jesus gave them two reasons why they failed.
1. It was because of their unbelief. When he spoke to the father of the child and to the people He said that it was because of their unbelief. And now He tells the disciples that it was because of their unbelief. The truth is that they were all at fault. They had faith, but it was weak and impotent.
2. There was something in the boy’s condition that made the cure especially difficult. Jesus said, “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Even though we wrestle against powers and principalities, some are stronger than others.