|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 18. - Jesus rebuked the devil (αὐτῷ, him). Some take the pronoun as masculine, and refer it to the diseased boy; but it is more natural that the rebuke should be addressed to the possessing demon. This is the first place where St. Matthew mentions the spiritual aspect of the malady. As the child was being brought to Jesus, a terrible scene ensued, which is described with its horrific details by St. Mark, who also gives Christ's conversation with the father, whereby he desired to arouse faith in his heart, and to draw that assurance from him which could not be obtained from the irresponsible sufferer. He departed out of him. In contrast to the faltering exorcism of the apostles, which the devil had disregarded, Jesus orders with the calmness of assured authority, and is at once obeyed. After a final act of defeated malice, the demon quitted his hold of the child. Was cured from that very hour. Never more to fall under the devil's influence, restored wholly in body and mind. There is something very mysterious in the sufferings of this poor boy, as there is in those of infants. It is plain that the description, "epileptic mania," will not connote all the features of this case. The evangelists' narrative and Christ's words and actions conclusively prove that it had a demoniacal element, and that this was miraculously eliminated. For epilepsy, I believe, no cure is known. The suddenness and the permanence (Mark 9:25) of the relief further demonstrate the reality of the miracle. We learn also from this incident that all possessed persons were not morally evil, that often the possession appertained to the physical and psychical nature, and had no ethical relation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Jesus rebuked the devil,.... The words may indeed be rendered, "and Jesus rebuked him, and the devil departed out of him"; so the Vulgate Latin, and the Oriental versions; but the sense our version gives is certainly right; for it was not the father of the child Christ rebuked for his unbelief; this he had done already; nor the lunatic himself, as some have thought, either for his unbelief, or because he was possessed by the devil, for some sins of his own; which is not likely, since he was so from a child, and perhaps not now in his right mind, and capable of any rebuke: besides, the Evangelists Mark, and Luke expressly say, that he "rebuked the foul", or "unclean spirit": for though it was a natural disease which attended this child, yet he was afflicted with it in a preternatural way, by the means of Satan; who, by divine permission; had a power of inflicting bodily diseases: and that this disease was effected by him, is clear from the manner of curing, by the dispossession of him; for when
he departed out of him; at the command of Christ, whose power he could not withstand, but was obliged, whether he would or not, to obey;
the child was cured from that very hour; directly, immediately, and continued well, and in good health. Hence the word rendered lunatic, in Matthew 17:15 is in several Oriental versions, translated in the sense of "demoniac", or one possessed with a devil. The Arabic version renders it, "he is with a demon": the Persic thus, "on whom a demon hath power"; and the Ethiopic after this manner, "an evil demon takes hold on him". And it is usual with the Jews, to ascribe diseases to evil spirits; and perhaps this uncommon dispensation in the times of Christ, may give rise to such a notion; particularly, they ascribe this very same disease of the "epileptic", or "falling sickness", to the same cause, which they call (x) "Kordicus", or "Cardiacus", the "Cardiac" passion, which one of their commentators (y) explains thus.
"It is a disease which proceeds from the repletion of the vessels of the brain, whereby the understanding is confounded; wherefore it is one of the sorts , "of the falling sickness".''
Says another (z) of them,
"It is , "the name of a demon", that rules over such, that drink much wine out of the vat.''
To which others agree, saying (a), that one attended with this disorder, is one,
"whose understanding is confounded, , "by means of a demon", who rules over such, that drink new wine; and lo! the spirit's name is "Kardiacus".''
From whence it is clear, that with them, the disease and the demon go by the same name; and that the former is from the latter.
(x) Misn. Gittin, c. 7. sect. 1.((y) Maimon. in ib. (z) Gloss. in T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 67. 2.((a) Bartenora & Yom Tob. in Misn. Gittin, c. 8. sect. 1.
Matthew 17:18 Parallel Commentaries
Matthew 17:18 NIV
Matthew 17:18 NLT
Matthew 17:18 ESV
Matthew 17:18 NASB
Matthew 17:18 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible