Friday, January 12, 2018

76 - Don't Mess with Evil Spirits

 And when they came to the crowd, a man approached Him, kneeling to Him, and saying, 
 "Lord, have pity on my son, for he is moonstruck and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.  
So I brought him to Your disciples, but they were not able to heal him."
Mat. 17:14-16

Casting Out Evil Spirits

Christ and three of His disciples had been up on a mountain; that is where the transfiguration happened. Now they were back with the crowd again and immediately Christ was under pressure to do some more healing. 
The difference was that this time, assumably, the other nine disciples had tried to cast an evil spirit out of a father's loved son. They were not able to. Christ said it was due to lack of faith. 
There are still some people who exorcise spirits but most us, if we tried it, would probably suffer the same fate as "The sons of Sceva" when they tried to cast out an evil spirit. the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I am acquainted with; but who are you?" Then the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped upon them, and having subdued them, prevailed against them, so that they fled from that house naked and wounded. Acts 19:15-16

he is moonstruck.  In place of moonstruck, some translations use the word lunatic.  The CEV uses the word epilepsy.  We know enough about epilepsy to understand that it could cause the victim to fall into water, fire, or anywhere else.  Before modern medicine developed, many kinds of sicknesses were attributed to Satan's activities.

O unfaithful and perverted (one of the meanings of perverted is "twisted out of shape") generation (generation can refer to a group of people, eg. a nation).
how long shall I be with you?  How long shall I bear with you?  This He said to His disciples.  I can't help but wonder what put-down He would have for His present-day Church; if we did take the time to listen. 

And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out from him, and the boy was healed from that very hour.  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 like a mustard seed.  This is almost always said to have reference to the size of a mustard seed. Regardless of how small our faith is, if it is genuine, it is enough.

It seems that a better interpretation is this: if your faith grows like a mustard seed does and becomes a small tree that is enough faith. Christ was merely saying the same thing we can read on a hundred different blogs every day "If you don't give up you will succeed!" Of course, this isn't always true and it is only a "probably" statement.

Moving Mountains

you shall say to this mountain, 'Be moved from here to there,' and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible for you.  We have noticed before, Christ loved using "The Hyperbole".  He greatly exaggerated to make a point and this is totally acceptable in both, speaking and writing, and it has no relationship to telling a lie.

An example: Monday morning a woman complains about going back to work because she knows she has a "mountain" of emails to answer. We know exactly what she means.

I am glad that, in this case, Christ was not speaking literally.  Suppose anyone with enough faith would have moved Mt. Saint Helens, in Washington State, USA, before the 1980 eruption, say to about five miles south of Seattle, the number of deaths, because of the eruption, would have been many thousands rather than 57 as the record stands now. [from Wikipedia]  It is a good thing that people cannot move mountains.

However, this kind.  There are different kinds of evil spirits as we learn from Mat.12:45 Then he goes and takes along with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself.  Some cannot be exorcized except by prayer and fasting. 

However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. Mat 17:21 There are many ancient manuscripts which do not include this verse in the Gospel of Matthew at all.   One manuscript that does include it leaves out the word "fasting". [Clarke]

Christ, at His transfiguration, was informed that He needed to go to Jerusalem and there meet His death; but Christ and His disciples were staying in Galilee. Christ waited in the province of Galilee until the Passover would be observed in Jerusalem. 

Jesus said to them, The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and on the third day He shall be raised. And they were exceedingly sorrowful.  Isn't it strange how, when humans hear a compliment and a put-down all they remember is the put-down?  When they hear good news and bad news all they remember is the bad news. 

Christ says the Jews will kill Him; He also says that on the third day He shall be raised. He may as well not have bothered saying that last part. The only thing the disciples heard was that He will be killed and, of course, they were exceedingly sorrowful.  Their friend and teacher will be unjustly killed!