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Commentary » Matthew 17:14-Matthew 17:23 » Family-Times.net
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Healing of the Epileptic Son

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Faith in God makes great optimists. Over in Burma, Judson was lying in a foul jail floor with 32 lbs. of chains on his ankles, his feet bound to a bamboo pole. A fellow prisoner said, “Dr. Judson, what about the prospect of the conversion of the heathen?” With a sneer on his … More


As Jesus came down from the mountain He finds some arguing scribes, embarrassed disciples and a needy father and son. The father had brought his epileptic son who had a demon in him to the disciples begging them to deliver him but they couldn’t (vv. 14-16). Jesus rebuked the disciples and then delivered the boy and commanded the spirit never to return to him (vv. 17-18). The crowds marveled and gave glory to God.

When the disciples inquired why they had not been able to heal the boy, Jesus said it was because of their little faith (vv. 19-20). They should have been able to cast out the demon because Jesus had given them this power and authority. He told them they had lost their power because of their lack of faith (v: 20), their lack of prayer, and their lack of discipline (v. 21).

Perhaps during the Lord’s absence, they began to neglect prayer and their faith had weakened. Then when the crisis came they were unprepared. Like Sampson they had gone out to battle, not realizing that their power was gone.

Again we find the Lord reminding his disciples that He would be betrayed and that He would be killed (vv. 22-23). He goes on to explain to them how the grave will not hold Him but He will rise on the third day (v. 23). One wonders if they heard the whole message or just the part about His death because it says they were filled with grief.


Just as the disciples had neglected to spend time in prayer and had become powerless the same can happen in my life. It is so easy to try to do things in my own strength and fall flat on my face because I didn’t depend on the Lord to do it.

Matthew 17:14-23 (English Standard Version)

And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him." And Jesus answered, "O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me." And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you." As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day." And they were greatly distressed.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »

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