Friday, July 25, 2014

This bible story feels so surreal (and it's not because of the demon)

Image source.

When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:14-21 [but actually there is no 21]

He makes it look so easy.

And in this passage, it's so simple. Just ask Jesus to heal someone, and he does. That's all. Of course he will, he's Jesus. No question.

But it just doesn't feel real. That's not real life. There's nowhere you can go to ask Jesus to heal someone and get a real answer like that. You can just pray or whatever, but hey, Jesus isn't standing right here in person, so he can get away with not doing the healing, and leave you there with no explanation at all.

The disciples asked him, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" And man, that's exactly what I want to know. Why, in the bible, when Jesus is right there in person, does everything go right? Why does he tell his disciples "I am with you always" and "it is for your good that I am going away" because then the Holy Spirit would come... and ever since then, Christians have been asking, "Where is God? Where is God?"

Why, why can't we have God right here in human form, and we can make him heal us and make him answer our questions?

Maybe because this world couldn't handle him last time. We killed him.

Maybe because we would just want to control God and use him to prove that we're right.

But is it really better this way, like Jesus said?


This post is part of a series on the gospel of Matthew.

Previous post: Jesus Got All Shiny (Matthew 17:1-13)

Next post: From Demons to Money Fish (Matthew 17:14-27)

Click here to go to the beginning of the series.


  1. I think it must be better this way, because if Jesus were still in human form, He'd be all the way over there in Israel and I'd never get to talk to Him! I supposed He could get a Facebook account but it wouldn't be the same.

  2. Plus I wouldn't be able to communicate with him, unless he studied English or Mandarin Chinese...