18 The Epileptic boy

18

 

THE EPILEPTIC BOY

 

Matthew 17:14-20 (NIV)
14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him." 17 "O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment, 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" 20 He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. "
     
Mark 9:14-28 (NIV)                                                                                      
14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16 '”What are you arguing with them about?" he asked, 17 A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid, I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not." 19 "O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me." 20 So they brought him. 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, 21 Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?" "From childhood," he answered. 22 "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." 23 " 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." 24 Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" 29 He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer."

Luke 9:37-43 (NIV)
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 "O 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 evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.

 

BASIC QUESTIONS

1.     Identify as completely as possible the person in need (e.g., age, ethnic origin, religion, gender, social status).

 

2. What was the immediate, obvious need?

3. Who took the initiative in effecting the healing?

      The person in need? 

      Others?   Jesus?

      How was it expressed?

4.     Describe the actions or process leading to the healing; that is, what was said (e.g., questions, requests, commands) and what was done (e.g., approaching, following, touching, publicly/privately), and by whom?

 

5. Did the person in need or someone else verbally express faith? Non-verbally?   Describe how and by whom faith was involved in this healing.

 

6. What were the evidences that the person was healed?

 

7. What were the reactions to the healing?

 

8. What in this narrative led Jesus to minister healing to the person in need?

 

DIGGING DEEPER

 

1. Coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus encounters a crowd of people arguing, apparently about the healing of a young boy. Which apostles were with Jesus? Who all were in the crowd?

2. What do you make of Mark 9:15? What Old Testament happening was similar?

3. This healing proceeds through a kind of dialogue, beginning with the father explaining the son's problem. What does the father say or do that reveals something about himself? About how the father regards Jesus? Is this your attitude when you pray to Jesus for healing? If not, why not? Does this conversation between Jesus and the father serve any useful purpose? Does this suggest anything you might do in some situations when responding to a request for healing ministry?

4. In the healing accounts of the two blind men, and the daughter of the Canaanite woman, all asked Jesus to "have mercy on me" while the father in this story asks Jesus to "have mercy on my son." Is the difference important? Would you call these "prayers"? Is it enough just to be sick for Jesus to respond, or must someone request it? Discuss. 5. How does the son participate in his own healing? Does the son show faith?

6. Is Jesus showing compassion toward the father or toward the demon-possessed (epileptic) son, or both?

7. This healing takes place in full view of a crowd. Is there anything in this passage to indicate this is not the way Jesus would have preferred it?

8. Was Jesus expressing impatience with His apostles? When had He previously sent them out to minister healing? Discuss.

9. Discuss Jesus' response in Mark 9:29. Did Jesus pray in this situation? Do you think the apostles followed Jesus' example in taking time for prayer? Any specific instances?

10. What lesson(s) have you learned about healing from this account?