And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. (Mark 9.17, ESV)
When we come to this incident between Jesus and the father of a demonized boy, there are one thing that leaps right out when we look at the passage. The man utters one thing and we know that this is no theoretical discussion as if he were asking Jesus what he thought of Herod’s temple. When the man says that he brought “my son,” the story takes on deadly earnestness because this man has been affected by what is going on with his son.
Anyone who has had a child with physical disabilities will instantly connect with this father. You have experienced the worry about what will become of your child, the normal everyday activities that suddenly become painfully difficult, the disapproval from those who are not in your same situation as if the child wouldn’t have these problems if you weren’t such a lousy parent, the constant grind of life, and the ever present voice of guilt that says “you aren’t handling this correctly.” Surely this father who had no doubt pulled his son physically out of the fire and out of water must have felt the same. He is lonely, as every parent with a disabled child is, he is hopeless, and he will go to any lengths to save his son from this unclean spirit. In short, he is an excellent father. He’s one of my favorite characters in the Scriptures, but that is a topic for another day.