“And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly.”
The ‘watershed’ is a term used to identify that ‘turning point’ in a life when something happens to change the direction of life. New Testament scholars have strongly discussed ‘Peter’s Confession’ as ‘The Watershed’ in the life of Jesus. Particularly seen in Mark’s account (Mark 8:27-33). Jesus rebuked the disciples (8:30) and then again in another tense of ‘epitimao/rebuke’, we hear Peter’s rebuke (8:33).
Returning to ‘The Epileptic Boy Healed’ faith event where lies a reoccurrence of Jesus’ rebuke (Matthew 17:14-21). While most all versions agree on ‘rebuke’ in translation; Webster uses rebuke, reproach and reprove to all define each other. Biblical usage of the tense of ‘epitimao/rebuke’ is most always used by (hu)man. Then, at best, with limited capabilities. According to Jewish tradition, only to selected individuals is authority given to utter an effective word of rebuke. A clear priority for Jesus in ‘the calling’ of his disciples for “he gave them the authority over unclean spirits”.
In the human use of rebuke there is the sense of threat, blame, punishment and even superiority— but not without a response from Jesus. The disciples rebuked the families who brought their children to Jesus.
Jesus responds to the disciples saying “do not hinder them.” The crowd rebuked blind Bartemaeus threatening him to stay away. Jesus responds that they should allow him to come. Peter rebuked Jesus at a crucial point in his life and ministry. Jesus spoke to Peter as one possessed by a demon, warning him that he was not on the side of God! Stauffer suggests the only occasion when Jesus allowed human rebuke to go unchecked was on the cross. One of the thieves rebuked the other thief for mocking Jesus; then turned to Jesus and asked ‘remember me’. Jesus said to the thief, “this day you will be with me in Paradise.”
Jesus uses the tense of ‘epetimnsen/rebuke’ that is most always used by god(s). With a long Old Testament history of God’s use of ‘rebuke’, in New Testament they are rare. A closer look at the difference between the two biblical tense uses of ‘rebuke’ suggests that when this Word comes from God it evokes the ‘works of God’. Did I forget to mention that Jesus rebuked the wind and rain causing people to say what manner of man is this, that even nature, the elements— goes to work, (or stills) when His Word comes forth.
Jesus is here with this child who has been diagnosed as epileptic. His father, exhausted of his resources for his son’s healing brings him to Jesus. Jesus diagnosed ‘demoniac’. For this child’s healing, “. . . Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly.”
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