If the young boy who was possessed by a spirit (Luke 9:37-39) in the sense that a sentient and independent entity seized the boy’s body and mind, as one would take one’s own property, there is little I can say in defense of such a thing, as far as God permitting it is concerned. Why would God do such a thing, and how would his permission be justified, according to how the Scriptures define God’s character? If God wants us to know him (and I believe he does – Philippians 3:10-15), then what he says about himself ought to be seen in what he does and what he allows to be done. If God views a man’s will to be of particular importance (cf. Job 1:6-12; 2:3-7), then how can he justify allowing a malevolent spirit taking full control of an infant boy, knowing the child could never develop a desire to know his Creator? If such a thing is wrong, then the only alternative is that what we believe about demonic activity **must**also be wrong.
The same Greek word used to point to an unclean spirit in Luke 9:39 is used of the Holy Spirit who is manifest in Jesus’ disciples through the word of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, working miracles etc. (1Corinthians 12:7-11). Yet, the unclean spirit within the young boy was manifest by screams, convulsions and foaming at the mouth exhausting the lad (Luke 9:39). If we can conclude that what we think we know about demonic activity must be wrong, because it paints an unloving picture of God, then this spiritual phenomenon must be related to something wrong in man’s person. Something within the boy malfunctioned at birth. Something he inherited from Adam broke down, resulting in the boy’s destructive behavior. Knowing this we are now better able to understand what Jesus did.
Peter testified that the Transfiguration took place atop of the holy mount, and according to the Scriptures, there is only one holy mount (or mountain) in all Israel (and the world). That is Jerusalem, and specifically the mount or hill upon which the Temple was built (cf. Isaiah 27:13; 66:20; Daniel 9:16; Joel 3:17; Zechariah 8:3; Revelation 21:10). However, this doesn’t mean the Transfiguration had to have taken place on the Temple Mount. Rather, it took place atop of Mount Olives, because, as Ezekiel 43:12 tells us: “This is the law of the house (the Temple); upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house” (emphasis and parenthesis mine).
If Jesus was transfigured upon the holy mount, he had to have been within the city limits or suburbs of Jerusalem. Moses defined the city limits or suburbs of a city as 2000 cubits (or 3000 feet) on every side (Number 35:5). Mount Olives is within the 3000 foot limit of the Temple Mount. Therefore, Mount Olives is the only mountain in the world that Jesus could have been transfigured upon.
The next day for Luke 9:37 would not necessarily be the day portion of the same calendar day (the Transfiguration took place at night). Rather, the next day means the next calendar day after the Transfiguration. According to John 7:2, 10, Jesus celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles at Jerusalem 6 months after the Passover season, in which he fed the five thousand (cf. John 6:4). Contextually, Jesus was transfigured (Luke 9:28) on the night portion of the Last Great Day, which was the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles and a Sabbath. On that Sabbath Holy Day Jesus healed a man who was born blind (John 9:1, 6-7, 14). Such a thing was unheard of in all human history (John 9:32)
Assuming the man’s son in Luke 9:38 was born in his then present condition (cf. Mark 9:21), this man may have been encouraged with the news of the healing of the man born blind on the previous day. Therefore, he came to Jesus to ask him to heal his son. He told Jesus that the spirit would often take hold of his son and convulse him, causing him to foam at the mouth, while he shook spasmodically, and this occurred so often that it completely wore the boy out.
As others brought him to Jesus (Mark 9:20) the boy began to have another seizure (Luke 9:42). This seizure may have been caused by the stress of the lad’s immediate surroundings, the sudden attempt of people taking him to Jesus, and his not knowing what would happen etc. Seeing what was occurring and the fact that others coming to see what was going on (Mark 9:25), Jesus commanded the spirit to leave the boy immediately. Thus, another seizure was probably averted.
We need to reconsider what we believe demoniac activity to be. What many Christians believe about this subject has more to do with paganism and witchcraft, than what the word of God actually says about the phenomenon. The love of God for mankind is denied in concluding that a living sentient, independent and wicked entity has the power to take hold of an infant, depriving him or her of his will and any opportunity to know and love his Creator and Lord. Why would God permit such a thing to occur. It simply doesn’t make sense. Why believe it?