“After crying out
And convulsing him
The spirit came out.
The boy was
Like a corpse.
Most of them said.
‘He is dead.’”
καὶ κράξας καὶ πολλὰ σπαράξας ἐξῆλθεν· καὶ ἐγένετο ὡσεὶ νεκρὸς, ὥστε τοὺς πολλοὺς λέγειν ὅτι ἀπέθανεν.
This is unique to Mark. After crying out (καὶ κράξας) and terribly convulsing the boy with spasms (καὶ πολλὰ σπαράξας), the evil spirit came out of the boy (ἐξῆλθεν), who became a corpse (ὡσεὶ νεκρὸς). Most of the people said that the boy was dead. (ὥστε τοὺς πολλοὺς λέγειν ὅτι ἀπέθανεν). Could this boy live without the evil spirit in him?
“The kneeling man said.
Have mercy on my son!
He is an epileptic!
He suffers terribly!
He often falls
Into the fire.
He often falls
Into the water.
I brought him
To your disciples.
But they were not able
To cure him.’”
καὶ λέγων Κύριε, ἐλέησόν μου τὸν υἱόν, ὅτι σεληνιάζεται καὶ κακῶς ἔχει· πολλάκις γὰρ πίπτει εἰς τὸ πῦρ καὶ πολλάκις εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ.
καὶ προσήνεγκα αὐτὸν τοῖς μαθηταῖς σου, καὶ οὐκ ἠδυνήθησαν αὐτὸν θεραπεῦσαι.
The story of the man with the incurable epileptic son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 9:17-18, Luke, chapter 9:38-40, and here in Matthew, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts. Here it is the kneeling man, and not someone from the crowd who yells out to Jesus. He addressed Jesus as the Lord (καὶ λέγων Κύριε). He wanted Jesus to have mercy on his son (ἐλέησόν μου τὸν υἱόν), who was an epileptic (ὅτι σεληνιάζεται). Epileptics were often considered to be possessed by the devil. Even today, we are still unsure of the exact cause of epilepsy seizures. This man’s son suffered very badly (καὶ κακῶς ἔχει). He often fell into a fire (πολλάκις γὰρ πίπτει εἰς τὸ πῦρ) and into water (καὶ πολλάκις εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ). Then there is the kicker that he had asked Jesus’s disciples to cure his son (καὶ προσήνεγκα αὐτὸν τοῖς μαθηταῖς σου), but they were not able to cure him (καὶ οὐκ ἠδυνήθησαν αὐτὸν θεραπεῦσαι). Why were the disciples of Jesus unable to cure his son?
“Because as servants of his kingdom,
You did not rule rightly.
You did not keep the law.
You did not walk
According to the purpose of God.
He will come upon you terribly.
He will come upon you swiftly.
Because severe judgment falls
On those in high places.
The lowliest may be pardoned in mercy.
But the mighty will be mightily tested.
The Lord of all
Will not stand in awe of any one.
He will not show deference to greatness.
Because he himself made
Both small and great.
He takes thought for all alike.
But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty.”
Severe judgment will come upon those who are in high places that did not rule rightly. They did not keep the law (νόμον) or walk according to God’s purposes (κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπορεύθητε). God will come upon them terribly and swiftly. God might pardon the lowly with mercy, but the mighty are tested mightily. The Lord of all will not be awed by anyone. He does not show deference, whether they are small or great. He does a strict inquiry into all, especially the mighty ones.