Matthew 17:14
And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) And when they were come to the multitude.—St. Luke states that it was on the next day, the night having apparently been spent on the Mount of Transfiguration. The magic power of the art of Raffaelle has brought into vivid juxtaposition the contrast between the scene of glory above and that of trouble and unrest below, but we must not allow the impression made by the picture to distort our thoughts of the history. The two scenes did not synchronise. The vision was at night, and the descent from the mountain would have carried those who made the journey some way at least into the day that followed.

There came to him a certain man.—St. Mark (Mark 9:14-16) narrates more fully that as our Lord and the three were coming to the disciples, they saw a crowd, and scribes disputing with them; that when the multitude saw this they were astonished, and running to Him, saluted Him; that He then asked, “Why dispute ye with them?” and that this drew forth the answer and the prayer which in St. Matthew’s record stands without any prelude.

Matthew 17:14-18. And when they were come to the multitude — Namely, the day following, Luke 9:37, there came a certain man, kneeling down to him — In great humility before Jesus, and with deep reverence for him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son — Compassionate his miserable condition, for he is lunatic and sore vexed — With terrible fits. “This man’s disease,” says Dr. Campbell, “we should, from the symptoms, call epilepsy, rather than lunacy. The appellation given it (σεληνιαζεται) shows the general sentiments, at that time, concerning the moon’s influence on this sort of malady.” It appears from Mark 9:17-20; Luke 9:39; (where see the notes,) that the disorder, whatever it was, was owing to his being possessed by an evil spirit; he might, nevertheless, be properly said to be lunatic, though his case was chiefly preternatural, as the evil spirit would undoubtedly take advantage of the influence which the changes of the moon have on the brain and nerves. I brought him to thy disciples — This he had done in Christ’s absence; and they could not cure him — Could not cast out the evil spirit, as appeared by their having attempted it without success. Christ gave his disciples power to cast out devils, when he sent them forth to teach and preach, Matthew 10:1; Matthew 10:8, and then they were successful; yet, at this time, they failed in the operation, though there were nine of them together: and Christ permitted this, 1st, to keep them humble, and to show them their dependance upon him, and that without him they could do nothing; 2d, to glorify himself and his own power. Jesus answered, O faithless and perverse generation — In these words our Lord might first intend to reprove both the disciples and the father of the child, for the weakness of their faith. With respect to the disciples, this appears evident from Matthew 17:20; but the reproof, contained in the words, could not be designed principally for them: for though their faith was weak, they were not faithless, nor do they appear to have deserved so sharp a rebuke. It seems to have been intended for the people, and, perhaps, especially the scribes, who are mentioned, Mark 9:14, as disputing with the disciples, and, it should seem, insulting over them, as having now met with a case that was too hard for them; a distemper which they could not cure, even by the name and power of their Master. And this conduct of the scribes, which proceeded from their unbelief, was highly criminal, since Jesus had already given so many undeniable demonstrations of his power and divine mission. Therefore he treated them no worse than they deserved, in calling them a faithless and perverse generation, and in adding, how long shall I be with you — Namely, ere you be convinced? How long shall I suffer you, or bear with your infidelity? A reproof much more applicable to the scribes, than either to the disciples or the father of the child, the weakness of whose faith proceeded from human infirmity, rather than from wilful obstinacy and perverseness. After having thus rebuked the scribes, he turned to the father of the child, and said, Bring him hither to me — And while he brought him the evil spirit tare him, and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming, Mark 9:20; Luke 9:42. Doubtless Jesus could easily have prevented this attack of the devil, but he wisely permitted it, that the minds of the spectators might be impressed with a more lively sense of the young man’s distress. He then rebuked the devil. — Commanded him to come out of the youth, Mark 9:25. And the child was cured from that very hour — The cure was immediate and perfect! Great encouragement this to parents to bring their children, whose souls are under the power of Satan, to Christ, in the arms of faith and prayer! He is able to heal them, and as willing as able.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!And when they were come to the multitude - This took place on the day following the transfiguration, Luke 9:37. This multitude was probably composed of persons who had attended on his ministry, many of whom were his real disciples. With them, as Mark Mar 9:15 informs us, were "scribes questioning with them." That is, they were probably professedly making inquiries about the Saviour, but really attempting to introduce their own sentiments, and to draw them off from him. They probably artfully asked them many questions about his birth, his family, his appearance, his manner of life, and his instructions, all which were contrary to the general expectation respecting the Messiah, and they intended, therefore, to insinuate that such a person could not be the Christ. The people were persuaded that he was the Messiah. and it would not have done to have attacked their opinions openly, but they attempted to gain the same point by sly insinuations. Error is always subtle, and often puts on the appearance of calm and honest inquiry. Well had he compared them to leavens, Matthew 16:11-12. The multitude, seeing Jesus coming down, left the scribes, and ran to meet him (Mark). They were amazed, probably because they had not expected to see him there. In their joy at meeting him in this unexpected manner, they "saluted" him (Mark); that is, probably they prostrated themselves before him after the manner of salutation in Eastern countries. See the notes at Luke 10:4. Jesus, seeing the scribes and their artful design, reproved them by asking them why they questioned thus with his disciples, Mark 9:16. Conscious of their guilt and their base purpose, they returned no answer.

A certain man kneeling down to him - That is, saluting him, or showing high regard for him. See the notes at Luke 10:4. It did not imply religious homage, but merely high respect and earnest entreaty.

Mt 17:14-23. Healing of a Demoniac Boy—Second Explicit Announcement by Our Lord of His Approaching Death and Resurrection. ( = Mr 9:14-32; Lu 9:37-45).

The time of this section is sufficiently denoted by the events which all the narratives show to have immediately preceded it—the first explicit announcement of His death, and the transfiguration—both being between His third and His fourth and last Passover.

Healing of the Demoniac and Lunatic Boy (Mt 17:14-21).

For the exposition of this portion, see on [1322]Mr 9:14-32.

Second Announcement of His Death (Mt 17:22, 23).

See Poole on "Matthew 17:16". And when they were come to the multitude,.... Which was on the next day, as in Luke 9:37 when Christ and his three disciples, Peter, James, and John, came down from the mount to the other nine, with whom the multitude of the people were; during their stay on the mountain,

there came to him a certain man; who was, as Mark says, "one of the multitude"; and as Luke, "a man of the company": who had applied to the nine disciples on the behalf of his son, but without success, and was waiting till Christ came from the mount; who when he saw him, made up to him, and

kneeling down to him in the manner of a supplicant, doing him homage and worship; hereby showing his great esteem of him, and veneration for him,

and saying the following words:

{2} And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, {f} kneeling down to him, and saying,

(2) Men are unworthy of Christ's goodness, yet nonetheless he pays attention to them.

(f) As men used to do when making supplication.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 17:14. Notwithstanding divergence in other respects, the healing of the lunatic (σεληνιάζ., see note on Matthew 4:24) comes next in order in all the three Synoptists (Mark 9:14 ff.; Luke 9:37 ff.),—a circumstance which also militates against the mythical view of the transfiguration.

αὐτόν] Comp. Mark 1:40; Mark 10:17. The accusative is to be understood as conveying the idea that He was directly touched by the man, as much as to say: he clasped Him by the knees. Comp. προσκυνεῖν τινα, προσπίτνειν τινα, προσπίπτειν γόνυ τινος (Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 339; Kühner, II. 1, p. 251).Matthew 17:14-21. The epileptic boy (Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:37-43).

Very brief report compared with Mk.14. when they were come to the multitude] Some will recall Raphael’s great picture of the Transfiguration, in which the contrast is powerfully portrayed between the scene on the mount, calm, bright, and heavenly, and the scene below of suffering, human passions, and failure.

14–21. A Lunatic Child is cured

Mark 9:14-29, where the scene and the symptoms of the disease are described with great particularity. Luke 9:37-42.Matthew 17:14. Καὶ ἐλθόντων αὐτῶν, κ.τ.λ., and when they were come, etc.) A very different scene is here opened to view from that which Peter had wished for in Matthew 17:4.—Whilst Moses was on the mountain, the people transgressed; see Exodus 32:1; whilst Jesus was on the mountain, matters did not proceed very well with the people.Verses 14-21. - Healing of the demoniac boy. (Mark 9:16-29; Luke 9:37-42.) The account of the miracle is much curtailed in our Gospel; the fullest narrative is given by St. Mark, to whom we must refer for the complete details. Verse 14. - When they were come to the multitude. St. Luke says this arrival was on "the next day" after the Transfiguration. If this event took place at night, the following morning will be meant. The contrast between the scene on the mountain and that presented by the demoniac below has been seized by Raphael, in his picture of the Transfiguration, at Rome - the last great work that he painted. The upper part of this picture represents Jesus radiant in glory with the heavenly visitants, while the lower panel shows the agonized father, surrounded by the unbelieving crowd, bringing his tortured son to the apostles, who stand helpless and discredited. The painter has, indeed, sacrificed fact to dramatic effect (as the two events were not synchronous); but the lesson enforced thereby is most impressive, and lays holds of the imagination, showing different phases of the life of Christ, and the realms of light and darkness. There came to him a certain man. Things had not gone well while Jesus and the three chief apostles were away on the mount. As during the absence of Moses at Sinai the people had fallen into idolatry (Exodus 32.), so now, when their Master and their leaders were withdrawn, the nine apostles bad faltered in faith and failed in exercising the miraculous powers bestowed upon them. Kneeling down to him. Directly the father saw Christ coming, he disengaged himself from the crowd and ran to meet him.
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