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Matthew 17:14-21: Jesus Casts Out a Demon

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 27, 2012


Matthew 17:14-21 MKJV And when they came to the crowd, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, (15) Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and grievously vexed; for oftentimes he falls into the fire, and often into the water. (16) And I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him. (17) Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him here to Me. (18) And Jesus rebuked the demon, and he departed out of him. And the child was cured from that very hour. (19) Then the disciples came to Jesus apart, and said, Why could we not cast him out? (20) And Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief. For truly I say to you, If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Move from here to there. And it shall move. And nothing shall be impossible to you. (21) However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
Jonathan nervously paced back and forth wondering how long he had been waiting. Time had passed well into the night. His father in law offered comfort, “the first one always seems to take the longest. I guess that is the way it is.” Jonathan felt tempted to look inside one more time, then decided to go back to his pacing. At last the signal he had been waiting for, the first cry from his new born son.
Jonathan raced to his wife’s side. The image of his wife holding their new born son was an image he would carry with him all his life. He gazed at the two of them. At that moment the world seemed so perfect as images of the time and events he was planning to share with his son raced through his head. When asked what their son would be named, they both answered, “Samuel.” Jonathan and his wife, Hannah loved the stories about Samuel the priest. The name was an easy choice.
When Samuel was only a few days old, Jonathan held him up to the doorway, showing him the law written on the door posts, explaining each one.
There was never a lack of work on the small farm. Cattle to feed, cows to milk, sheep to take out to graze, eggs to collect, crops to tend to, and fences to mend. Jonathan never seemed too busy to spend time with Hannah and Samuel. He loved to recite stories about Samuel. He explained in detail Samuel’s birth, the care his mother Hannah gave him. How much she loved him and how difficult it was to give him over to Eli. Jonathan explained how important it was to fulfill your word to God. He also told stories of how Samuel met God, assisted Eli, became a prophet, anointed Saul, and David. Each time he told these stories, he saw a new lesson to teach Samuel. He also related the lessons to experiences in his own life.
When Samuel was five, it was time to venture out of the secure confines of the home and tender, watchful care of his mother, out onto the farm to help his father. This was a big day for Samuel, a sign he was growing up and learning responsibility. It was a proud moment for father and son. Jonathan was so excited about having a son help him with the daily chores. There was so much he wanted to teach him, and so many spiritual lessons learned from work, and God’s gift of creation.

After helping his father for a number of months, Samuel began to gain a bit of independence, and responsibility. One day as he was carrying a bucket of feed to the chickens when something came over him. He fell straight down into the mud, thrashing about uncontrollably. He lost all control of his muscles. It lasted only a few minutes. When it was over he was covered in mud, felt light headed and weak. He completed his task, looked at himself, and feeling ashamed, headed back to the house. He did not know how to explain what had happened to him.

His mother and father were quite disappointed when he came through the door. His mother asked, “how did you get so dirty?” Samuel replied, “I don’t know. I fell down.” Jonathan said, “it appears more like you were rolling around in the mud. Get yourself cleaned up. Today we are shearing the sheep.” They didn’t give his appearance much thought because this was the first experience. Jonathan was also too excited about the lessons he was going to teach that day to let a little mud spoil the moment.

About a month later, Samuel was helping his mother with the wash. He handed her one item at a time, saving her the trouble of bending over. She enjoyed his company. Suddenly Samuel lost control of his muscles once again. It was a very frightful and embarrassing moment for him as he watched the concern in his mother’s face turn to anguish. “Samuel what is happening to you?” Dropping a cloak, she tried to steady him with her hands while she shouted, “Jonathan come quick!” Her shrill voice signaled trouble. Jonathan dropped his hoe and ran towards her voice. He could see Samuel on the ground and raced towards them. “What, what happened?” He questioned. Hannah did not answer but called out, “Samuel, Samuel, what is wrong with you?” After a few minutes Samuel’s body went limp, his eyes rolled back in his head, then closed. Jonathan scooped him up in his arms and carried him to the house, laying him on the bed. Hannah knelt down on the side of the bed, crying and praying. Jonathan ran out the door and down the road for help. An hour later he returned with the local doctor. After an examination and hearing the story, the doctor had nothing to say but, “keep an eye on him, and let me know if it happens again.”

Everything was fine over the next few months, and then another attack. It seemed shorter than the first one they witnessed. Now they were becoming concerned. Samuel became the center of prayer. A month later, another attack. The following month, two more. One of them was while he was sleeping. He suddenly began thrashing around in his bed. As the weeks passed, the attacks would come and go. Finally they called for the doctor again. After looking at the boy, and listening to the stories, he announced, “your son has a demon.” Jonathan inquired, “a demon? What are we supposed to do?” The doctor replied, “I don’t know. I am a doctor of science and medicine. This is a spiritual matter. Take him to the priest to be examined.”

Jonathan and Hannah had heard stories of what happened to people who were possessed and talked to the priests. They never heard of a single healing. They did hear of familles rejected and separated from their land, families and friends. Cast out for fear of the demon and the curses it may bring.

For years they stayed to themselves and kept Samuel away from contact with anyone. Finally, one day on a trip to town, Jonathan heard the most fantastic stories. He could not wait to get home to share them with his wife and child. Arriving home he announced, “I heard the most fantastic story about a healer named Jesus. Reports say He has cast hundreds of demons out of people. We have to find this Jesus and take Samuel to Him.” Hannah asked, “where will we find this Jesus?” Jonathan thought for a moment, then replied, “we will pray we can find Him.”

In less than a week their prayers were answered. A passing neighbor told them Jesus was seen in the area, at the base of the mountain. After receiving directions, Jonathan quickly headed out with Samuel to find Jesus.

As Jesus, Peter, James, and John emerged from the forest line, they saw a crowd gathered about the waiting disciples. When they came to the crowd, a man came to Him, kneeling down and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and grievously vexed; for oftentimes he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.” Jonathan held Samuel in his arms as he bowed himself to the ground in front of Jesus. He held out his son, and laid him at Jesus’ feet. Jesus looked down at the motionless boy. Samuel didn’t know what was happening, but something inside told him Jesus was there to help. Something told him, Jesus was his only hope of being cured. Samuel did not understand the disease that cripple him, and was not certain if the cause was physical, or spiritual. All he knew was, this is the first time in his life he felt a glimmer of hope. Not an explanation, but a cure.

Jesus looked down at the small boy. There was no sign of any infliction, pain, or suffering in his eyes, but Jesus was familiar with the cause. Jesus knew the cure. First He must make certain His disciples learn the lesson His Father had arranged. He walked past Samuel and Jonathan to His disciples and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him here to Me.” Andrew walked over, picked up Samuel in his arms, and carried him over to Jesus.

At that moment, a convulsion came over Samuel. When the disciples tried curing him there were no obvious sign of any disease. The disciples were unsure of what they were up against, or how to cure him. They imitated the simple jesters they had seen Jesus perform a hundred times. Looking at the boy they had no way of knowing if their efforts were achieving anything or not.
This was unusual. The disciples were used to seeing people filled with peace and joy when they were in Jesus’ presence. They did not know what to think or expect when they saw the boy thrashing about in Andrew’s arms has they neared Jesus. Andrew became frightened, and placed the boy at Jesus’ feel. Jesus could not bear to see the boy suffer, so He immediately rebuked the demon, and he departed out of him. And the child was cured from that very hour.

Jesus casting out demonsJonathan praised Jesus for His act of kindness. Jonathan had never expected to see such a thing in his life. As he hugged his son, a little part of him was thankful for the trials and anguish he endured over the years. Without them, he never would have met Jesus. He never would have witnessed this miracle.

After the crowd departed, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why could we not cast him out?” Jesus took His time answering. It was not a time to teach them with a question, but to test their memory. Did they remember the lesson He had taught them on faith? Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief. For truly I say to you, If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Move from here to there. And it shall move. And nothing shall be impossible to you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

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