Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Lunatic Child


14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16 And I brought him to thy 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 hither to me.
18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. (Matt. 17:14-18)

It struck me as I was reading this how odd it was that the child often fell into the fire or the water. A footnote on the “falling” says the Greek means “throws himself” instead of falling. So this child is actually trying to destroy himself, not falling accidentally. The child was vexed and suffering mentally-emotionally to such an extent that the only way he could think of to end it was to try to kill himself.

And actually, Jesus seems to have understood this. His statement, “how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?” shows that Jesus knew what it felt like to suffer at length and wonder how long it would go on and when it would all be over.  His description of “faithless and perverse” shows that He knew a lack of faith and perverse tendencies contributed to the suffering the child was going through.  The fact that He rebuked shows that the child needed to learn some principles and the fact that He cast out a devil shows that there was a devil that was involved in the child’s suffering, making it worse.

If we ever feel like we can’t go on through our suffering, we need to fast and pray and exert our faith. We can get through it. Christ can help us get through it. Take it moment by moment, day by day.