No sooner do Jesus and 3 of his disciples return from the spectacular experience we call the Transfiguration, and life gets back to its usual grind and problems. As always. No happiness or joy or mountaintop experience lasts forever. Life is too predictably messy. “A man in the crowd called out, ‘Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him.’ ” Here we go again: You can see the man’s desperation. His beloved son, his most prized possession, is in risk of being lost. His pearl of great price, his treasure in a field, is on the brink of death. Grief is on the threshold, and it seeks to devour the man. Will their fantabulous spiritually mystical experience help them now? Not a chance. “I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.” This is ME, and it just might be you. How often we feel that we don’t get what others get, and can’t do what others do, and Christianity doesn’t “work” for us. “God doesn’t answer my prayers.” “God doesn’t guide me like he does others” “God doesn’t lead me like he does others.” We feel like losers, and discouragement, doubt, and disillusionment set in. This is me, fer sher.
“ ‘You unbelieving and perverse generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.’ ” Jesus’ harshest words were always for religious people. There was an expectation that they should have been able to do this, just as at the feeding of the 5,000.
“Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion.” Ah, the last great act of defiance—an exertion of power to war against the power coming at him. This great display was just a whisper to Jesus—a mosquito on the arm of life. He swatted it, and it was over. “But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.” Ho-hum, what was that? The powers that terrify people and mystify the masses is a simplicity to Jesus. Yawn.
“And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.” This is exactly the point: let people see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Mt. 5.16.
Luke drives his point home again and again. Jesus is one of a kind. Nothing stands in his way. Nothing confuses him. Nothing causes him fear. Nothing intimidates him. His power is endless, unchallenged and unchallengeable. His treatment of people is amazing and enviable. His teaching has so much power, authority, and wisdom. Who wouldn’t follow this guy!