When they returned to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them, and some teachers of religious law were arguing with them. When the crowd saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with awe, and they ran to greet him. “What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked. One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”
Mark 9:14-18 NLT
The context of this passage is crucial to understand. Immediately before this event Jesus had taken Peter, James, and John up the mountain and was transfigured before them. They witnessed the true glory of Jesus as He visited with Moses and Elijah. Peter wanted to stay on the mountain and enjoy this wonderful experience of the presence of God. As they come down from this mountaintop experience, they are greeted by a desperate father with a demon possessed son. The other nine disciples had tried to cast out the evil spirit and they couldn’t do it. The father is upset and desperate. Years ago Cindy and I had the privilege of visiting Rome. We spent a day in the Vatican touring the museums and St Peter’s. One of the most stunning works of art was Raphael’s painting of the transfiguration. Our guide took us around a corner into a room where the painting stood. It is nearly thirteen feet tall and ten feet wide. The painting was completed around 1520 and is recognized as Raphael’s last and greatest painting. I still remember the impression this picture made on me. I was struck by the fact that he captured in the upper half of the painting the scene of Jesus with Moses and Elijah and the disciples on the top of the mountain. There is light and excitement and joy in the upper half of the painting. In the lower part of the painting is the scene with a desperate father with his tormented son. The nine disciples look desperate and almost angry because they can’t bring deliverance to the boy. This picture preached a sermon to me that day in the museum. I saw a snapshot of what so many believers live like. We enjoy the glory and excitement of gathering for worship and want to forget that we live in a world tormented in darkness. We must have times to be renewed and refreshed in the presence of Jesus, but we can’t stay in that moment. We must take the presence of Jesus into a dark world that is hurting and needs help. Jesus knew what was going on at the bottom of the mountain. We must be aware of the pain of our world. Let’s be carriers of light into the darkness.
Holy Spirit help me to have times of renewal and refreshing in Your presence. Help me also to be willing to take Your presence into my world and bring light into the darkness.
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