On the day following the day of his Transfiguration, Jesus returned to the city of Jerusalem from Mount of Olives (Luke 9:37). The disciples were already there (Mark 9:14). Evidently, Jesus had sent them ahead, as he lingered to pray on the mount. Months earlier Jesus had given them authority over demoniacs (Luke 9:1), but they could not cast out the demon from this little boy (Luke 9:40). Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief and healed the boy.
There are several things that must considered as we read this account. First, why were the people amazed when they saw Jesus (Mark 9:15)? If Jesus and the disciples were still at Caesarea Philippi, as is traditionally believed, who would have known him there, and why would they be amazed with a stranger? Jesus had taken his disciples to Caesarea Philippi to be alone with them (Luke 9:18, 21). The people were amazed in Mark 9:15, because Jesus was in Jerusalem and had just healed a man born blind the day before (John 9:1-7). This caused the father of the little boy in Luke 9:38-40) to believe that Jesus might be able to do something for his only son (cf. Mark 9:22), who had been probably born deaf and had epilepsy (Mark 9:21).
Secondly, consider that this little boy had been possessed since he was an infant (Mark 9:21). How can that be, if demons are evil spirit beings having a life of their own? Third, it was no longer the Sabbath, since the scribes there neither rebuked the disciples’ efforts to heal nor Jesus’ actual healing of the boy. Therefore, when the Scripture says “on the next day” (Luke 9:37), this means on the day following the events of the Last Great Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, which included the Transfiguration recorded in the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus’ confrontation with the chief priests over the woman taken in adultery, and the healing of the man born blind, of which the two latter events are recorded in the fourth Gospel narrative.
Finally, the cure of this little boy (Luke 9:41-42) is itself a living parable, describing the inner life of the Kingdom of God. Recognizing and submitting to the inner life has been the theme of Christ’s teaching for several months for both the Twelve and the other disciples. Up until shortly before Peter’s confession, the theme had been the good heart that receives the Seed or the Word (Christ) of God. After awhile, Jesus changed his emphasis, desiring that the disciples become aware of their inner fellowship with our Father. Trusting what the “still small Voice” had been telling them had more recently become the focus of Jesus’ teaching, as he built upon his doctrine that “the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).
Consider what was wrong with the boy. He was deaf from birth, as is the condition of anyone who does not have the Spirit of God. I am deaf in the Spirit from birth and am unable to hear the words of God. The Pharisees and chief priests were determined to catch Jesus in his words. They were not listening with their hearts, because they were deaf to God. They did not have ears to hear (Luke 8:8). Neither did they have eyes to see (cf. Deuteronomy 29:4; Ezekiel 12:2).
Think about Jesus’ healing of the man born blind only a day before. All the Pharisees and chief priests were able to see was that Jesus made mud on the Sabbath and broke the Law (John 9:13-16). They were living on the outside and had no idea that there was an inner life (kingdom or world). Only the outer realm concerned them. Consequently, they were blind to see the corruption and death that spilled out of their own hearts (cf. Luke 6:45).
The young boy was an epileptic and foamed at the mouth, which is a picture of the fruit of corruption coming out of the scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ day (cf. Jude 1:12-13 Isaiah 57:20). This foam is a picture of the inner life of all who would be teachers of the word of God but have not received Christ’s authority into their lives (cf. Mark 9:20-23). Weigh this against Jesus’ teaching about the inner Light just prior to his healing of the man born blind (John 8:12; 9:5), and the teaching about the inner Voice prior to his healing of the young boy born deaf (Luke 9:20-21; cf. Matthew 16:16-17).