Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Demon or Epilepsy?

That poor father. He must have been beside himself with grief and worry and frustration. Imagine having a son who is unable to speak and then, from time to time, the boy falls down, foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. Sounds like epilepsy, doesn’t it?
This man brought his son for healing, thoroughly convinced that it was a demon that possessed his son. Nine men, disciples of Christ, could not cast out the demon. Finally, Jesus himself arrives, having come from the mount where he was transfigured in front of Peter, James, and John. The father recounts how the disciples failed and Jesus asks the father to bring the boy to him.
The same episode of falling and having a seizure occurs right at Jesus’ feet and the distraught father relates how this has been happening since childhood and that sometimes the demon casts the boy into the fire or the water intent on destroying him. “If you are able, have pity on us and help us,” the father pleads to Jesus.

IF, he said.

IF.

And Jesus is perhaps somewhat scornful of that word in his reply: “If you are able! – All things can be done for the one who believes.”

The father answers in a heart-wrenching cry, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Isn’t that where most of us are?)

Now, if it was epilepsy (as skeptics like to say), then Jesus would have just healed the boy as he did with the blind, the lame, and the sick. But that’s not the case here. Jesus rebukes the unclean spirit and speaks to it: “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!”

That’s an exorcism, folks. What do you think?