The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Essie Laugharne. Essie is a British born, Australian raised musician. She has been described by others as living "the broke bohemian dream." Laughing and sleeping are her two favourite pastimes outside of the arts.

Luke 9:37-45

Jesus heals a demon-possessed boy

37 The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 A man in the crowd called out, ‘Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.'

41 ‘You unbelieving and perverse generation,' Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.'

42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.

Jesus predicts his death a second time

While everyone was marvelling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, 44 ‘Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.' 45 But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

Reflection

Jesus uses some pretty intense language to describe the faith of the people and the disciples. It's interesting to note that another translation of verse 41 is of a "warped and crooked generation", which is the same phrase that was used by Moses to describe the Israelites in Deuteronomy 32:5. Moses was admonishing the Israelites for their lack of faith in the desert, and here we see Jesus speaking to the disciples about their lack of faith when trying to heal the possessed boy.

This same event is described in Mark 9:14, and here we read that after Jesus heals the boy, the disciples ask Him why they couldn't, and His response is that this demon can only be driven out by prayer, which leads me to think that perhaps the disciples forgot to pray and just went in with their own ego to try and drive it out, not in God's strength and power.

This passage seems quite harsh at first, with such a strong rebuke from Jesus, and yet when we look at the journey of the disciples throughout the new testament we see that time and again they lacked faith (Peter failing to walk on the water and later denying Jesus, the disciples falling asleep and having to be woken up three times in the Garden of Gethsemane, Thomas doubting the resurrection of Jesus), and yet each time they are given another chance, much like the Israelites throughout the old testament, much like we still are today. It's a reminder of the unchanging rhythms of grace through which we have been saved.

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