In our daily devotionals, we are looking at each of the supernatural acts of the Lord Jesus while He walked on earth. Today, we talk about His supernatural power to deliver a boy from a demon. Matthew, Mark, and Luke each describe parts of the scene:
37The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39A 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. 40I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.” (Luke 9:37-40).
When Jesus came down from the Mount of Transfiguration, He found a father in desperation. An unseen evil spirit was torturing his only son. When the spirit came upon him, it tried to kill him by throwing the boy into fire or drown him in water: “He has seizures and is suffering terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water” (Matthew 17:15). The evil spirit waited until he was near a campfire or the home cooking fire before throwing the boy into the flames. Burns, scratches, and cuts were likely seen all over his body as a result. Likewise, whenever there was a river or a well, the spirit would throw the boy into the water with a view to destroying him. The boy could never be left alone, not for a second. It must have been an incredibly exhausting, draining, and horrible existence for the entire family, coming face to face with demonic activity regularly.
As Jesus came close, the boy screamed at the top of his voice (Luke 9:39). After the scream, the demon threw him to the ground in convulsions (Luke 9:39). It then took control of the boy's vocal cords and sense of hearing so that the child became mute (Mark 9:17) and deaf as well (Mark 9:25). Aside from the terrible screams, the demon would not allow the boy to communicate his condition. Think of what this must have been like for him; he was totally isolated. He could not express what was going on inside him to his father or hear any words of comfort from his family.
Mark tells us more: “It slams him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out” (Mark 9:18). The Greek word translated into English as slams him is a very violent word. This supernatural manifestation was frightening to those watching. When the boy was brought to Jesus, he was thrown to the ground having convulsions. He“rolled around, foaming at the mouth” (Mark 9:20), grinding his teeth while becoming stiff as a board. The father’s testimony about his son went further: “Only with difficulty does it leave him, mauling him as it leaves” (Luke 9:39). When the father described the mauling, what was he seeing? More than likely, he saw bruises appearing all over the boy’s body as the evil spirit tore him, before leaving him until the time of the next attack.
We should not think that this was an epileptic fit, for the writer, Luke, was a doctor, and I’m sure he knew about such things. We are to take Jesus at His word when He said it was caused by an evil spirit. Let us not be naive to what is evil. What they saw was more than a physical phenomenon. The mauling of the boy before their eyes, the foaming of the mouth, the inability to hear, the suicidal tendencies, and the way the spirit reacted to being confronted with the presence of Jesus, should be evidence enough that this was not epilepsy. Neither should we make the mistake of thinking that all epileptic fits are demonic in origin. Demons cannot stay hidden before the presence of Christ. Jesus said:
41“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” 42Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43And they were all amazed at the greatness of God (Luke 9:41-43).
There was a visible manifestation as soon as the demonized boy came into the presence of Jesus. Mark tells us, “When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth” (Mark 9:20).
While the boy was thrown onto the ground by the demon, even though he was deaf and dumb, the Lord spoke to the demon. “But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father” (Luke 9:42). The boy was completely healed as the evil spirit left. What then took place in front of their eyes? The boy's scars, burns, and cuts were healed instantly while they all looked on. No wonder Luke records that, “They were all amazed at the greatness of God” (v. 43). I would have loved to have seen their faces and the amazement they had. I hope there are re-runs in heaven! I would like to have witnessed this deliverance and healing! The Lord is so kind. Keith Thomas