|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:14-21 The case of afflicted children should be presented to God by faithful and fervent prayer. Christ cured the child. Though the people were perverse, and Christ was provoked, yet care was taken of the child. When all other helps and succours fail, we are welcome to Christ, may trust in him, and in his power and goodness. See here an emblem of Christ's undertaking as our Redeemer. It encourages parents to bring children to Christ, whose souls are under Satan's power; he is able to heal them, and as willing as he is able. Not only bring them to Christ by prayer, but bring them to the word of Christ; to means by which Satan's strong-holds in the soul are beaten down. It is good for us to distrust ourselves and our own strength; but it is displeasing to Christ when we distrust any power derived from him, or granted by him. There was also something in the malady which rendered the cure difficult. The extraordinary power of Satan must not discourage our faith, but quicken us to more earnestness in praying to God for the increase of it. Do we wonder to see Satan's bodily possession of this young man from a child, when we see his spiritual possession of every son of Adam from the fall!
Verse 17. - Jesus answered. Jesus did not directly respond to the father's appeal, nor repel the Pharisees' scoffs. In sorrow and indignation he goes at once to the root of the evil. O faithless and perverse generation! He seems to include in this denunciation all who were present - the father, scribes, people, apostles, especially the nine. Want of faith appertained to all. He often refers to the general body of his bearers by the term generation (comp. Matthew 11:16; Matthew 12:29, etc.). Perverse. The word is used by Moses in his great song (Deuteronomy 32:5, Septuagint) in reference to those who dealt corruptly; here it applies to persons who took a distorted view of Christ's work and teaching, and against light and knowledge obstinately persisted in their infidelity. How long shall I be with you?... suffer you? The sad question is not that of one who wants his work finished and his time of departure hastened; rather, it shows his sorrow and regret at the slowness of faith, the hardness of heart, which yet, notwithstanding all his teaching and his miracles, had not been overcome. How much longer was this to continue? Was this forgetfulness of the past, this dulness of comprehension, to last forever? Did they wish to wear out his long suffering, to exhaust his condescension? With Divine impatience at man's obduracy, he makes this mournful inquiry. Bring (φέρετε, bring ye) him hither to me. He speaks to the attendants or the crowd, and bids them bring the boy to him, not to the disciples. The prophet's staff in Gehazi's hand could not awake the dead; Elisha himself must undertake the work (2 Kings 4:31); so if the desired miracle had to he performed, Christ himself must do it. In spite of his grief and disappointment, he does not withhold relief, in the midst of wrath he remembers mercy.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then Jesus answered and said,.... Not to the disciples, but to the father of the child; see Mark 9:19 and those that were with him, and the Scribes that were present, disputing with the disciples, upbraiding them with their weakness, and triumphing over them: "O faithless and perverse generation"; a way of speaking, which is never used of the disciples, and indeed could not be properly said of them; for though they often appeared to be men of little faith, yet not faithless; nor were they so rebellious, stubborn, and perverse, as here represented, though there was a great deal of perverseness in them: but the characters better suit the body of the Jewish nation, who, on account of the incredulity of this man, and those that were present, being of the same temper with them, are exclaimed against in words, which were long ago spoken of their ancestors, Deuteronomy 32:5 and from whence they seem to be taken.
How long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? Upbraiding them with the length of time he had been with them, in which so many wonderful works had been done among them, and yet they remained unbelieving and incorrigible; and intimating, that his patience and longsuffering would not always continue; and that in a short time, he should be gone from them, and they should no longer enjoy the benefit of his ministry and miracles, but wrath should come upon them to the uttermost: but however, whilst he was with them, notwithstanding all their unbelief and obstinacy, he should go on to do good; and therefore says,
bring him hither to me, meaning the lunatic child. These words also are directed, not unto the disciples, but to the father of the child; for so it is said in Luke 9:41 "bring thy son hither"; and so the Syriac renders it here "bring thou him"; though, as expressed in the plural number, may very well be thought to intend him, and his friends.
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