And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him.…
From this most interesting story we may gather the truths -
I. THAT FROM THE VERY FANGS OF DEFEAT A GREAT VICTORY MAY BE SECURED. More than once in the history of war there has occurred such an incident as that which is related concerning the great struggle in the United States (1860-1864). A severe and successful attack is made by one army on the other; the enemy is driven back, his guns and his camp captured. As his regiments are in full retreat, the general of the defeated force, who has been unfortunately absent, arrives on the scene; he arrests the tide of retreat, gathers his soldiers about him, stops the pursuing host in their career, leads a triumphant attack upon them, drives them beyond his own camp, recaptures his guns, and chases the once-conquering but now defeated army for miles to the rear of its first position. Such a victory snatched from the jaws of humbling defeat took place on this occasion. The returning Saviour found his disciples driven before the hostile attack of his enemies, but his presence soon availed "to restore the day," and before long transformed humiliating failure into joyous triumph. In the Master's actual, spiritual absence the cause of the Church may be brought very low indeed, and a complete and crushing disaster may impend; but let the Lord return, let his presence and his power be felt, and from the very teeth of threatened calamity there shall be secured a glorious victory. Let no heart despond so long as there is a present Captain; failure is never irretrievable when he is "on the field;" under his leadership even "death is swallowed up in victory."
II. THAT HUMAN AFFECTION IS MEANT TO LEAD TO SPIRITUAL ATTACHMENTS. It was his son's sickness that led this man to seek Jesus; but for that he would not have sought and found him. It was his strong parental love that would not be denied, that led him to urge his plea, that enabled him to overcome his fears and to gain that valuable victory. God employs many instrumentalities to lead his children into his kingdom. We ought to be influenced by our sense of what is right and of what is wise in the matter; but, if not won by these, let the consideration of the deep and tender interests of those who are dear to us convince and determine us. For the sake of those children of ours, whom we love so profoundly, and who have such a vital interest in Christian truth, let us sit at the feet of Christ, and be subject to his sway.
III. THAT THE VERY WORST CASE WILL YIELD TO THE TOUCH OF THE DIVINE HAND. There could not well be a worse case of possession than this (see vers. 39, 42). If the malignant forces could have triumphed over the benevolent Spirit, they would have triumphed here. But everything was accomplished when "Jesus took him by the hand" (Mark 9:27). So is it with the worst spiritual maladies. They may seem so bad as to be incurable; it may be the general opinion that the case is utterly hopeless. But there is a power in reserve against which the most virulent and the most violent evils are not able to stand. For
"...many of whom all men said,
They've fallen, never more to stand,'
have risen, though they seemed as dead
When Jesus took them by the hand." The most stricken souls will be healed, the most sorrowing ones comforted, the most despondent filled with a new and blessed hope, the most fallen and sunk in sin lifted up to purity and even to beauty and nobility of spirit and of life, when the Divine voice is heard bidding to be comforted, when the Divine hand is laid on the broken heart or the defiled and guilty soul.
IV. THAT THE EARNEST SOUL NEED NOT LET ANYTHING KEEP HIM BACK FROM CHRIST AND HIS SALVATION. This father had much to overcome - the natural reluctance he would have to bring the poor demoniac into such publicity; the failure of the disciples to effect a cure, well calculated as that was to discourage and dishearten him; his own imperfect faith (Mark 9:22, 24). But he overcame all these, and gained his plea. Many may be the obstacles in the way of our salvation; they may be circumstantial, or they may be inward and spiritual; but if there be a thoroughly earnest spirit, they will not prevail over us; we shall triumph over them, and go on our way with our cause gained and our hearts gladdened. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him.