37The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him. 38A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39A 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. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.” 41“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”
(Luke 9:37-41, NIV)
And Then, Back To Reality
Have you ever had the experience of getting away from normal life, enjoying a rejuvenating time of rest, reflection, and recreation, only to have your restoration crushed by the reality of ordinary life? I’ll bet you have. I know I have..
I think of a time when my family was spending a few days of vacation before heading to a retreat where I was serving as the speaker. In the middle of vacation, I received a telephone call that required me to leave my family on vacation and return home to Los Angeles to attend to a crisis. One moment I was relaxing on my vacation. The next moment I was dragged back into the painful reality of my workplace. Sound familiar?
The “back to reality” would have been familiar to Jesus. Last week, we observed the wonder of the transfiguration, when Jesus heard a voice from heaven declared Him to be “my Son, my Chosen” (v. 35). It was such an uplifting and affirming experience. I believe that Jesus was both moved and encouraged.
Then, on the very next day, Jesus was thrust back into reality. A crowd gathered around Him, and a man shouted out to Jesus, explaining that his child was tormented by a demon and that Jesus’s disciples were not able to cast it out of the boy. You may recall that, earlier in Luke, Jesus had given his disciples “power and authority over all demons” (Luke 9:1). They should have been able to expel the demon that harassed the man’s son, but for some reason were not able to.
Jesus responded with “You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?” (v. 41). This remark seems directed above all at His disciples. It was a messianic way of saying what aggravated parents some-times say to their unruly children, “How long am I going to have to put up with you?” Perhaps Jesus was thinking something like, “I gave you the authority to cast out demons. You could have handled this. Why didn’t you?” He was clearly frustrated. His frustration made more acute because of what He had just experienced on the mountaintop. He went from divine glory to the reality of demonic bond-age and human unfaithfulness.
Perhaps not to the level of Jesus’ experience, but we do know what it’s like to go from mountaintops to valleys, from joys to sorrows. It is so good to know that Je-sus understands, that He has been through things like this, and that He is with us in all times and all experiences! If you’re dealing with the tough reality of life, whether in your work or in your relationships, in your neighborhood or in the wider world, remember, Jesus understands. Jesus is with you!
Lord, through the ups and downs of life, help me to turn to You,
to know that You are with me, and that You understand.