When they were come to the multitude - It appears that a congregation had been collected during our Lord's stay on the mount: how great must have been the desire of these people to hear the words of Christ! The assembly is self-collected, and no delay on the preacher's side discourages them - they continue to wait for him. In the present day how rare is this zeal! How few by the most pathetic invitation can be brought together, even at the most convenient times, to hear the same doctrines, and to get their souls healed by the same wonder-working Christ!
Kneeling down to him - Or falling at his knees, γονυπετων . The ancients consecrated the Ear to memory; the Forehead to genius; the Right Hand to faith; and the Knees to mercy: hence those who entreated favor fell at and touched the knees of the person whose kindness they supplicated. See Wakefield's Commentary; and see the note on Exodus 9:29; where the subject is largely explained.
And when they were come to the multitude - This took place on the day following the transfiguration, Luke 9:37. This multitude was probably composed of persons who had attended on his ministry, many of whom were his real disciples. With them, as Mark Mark 9:15 informs us, were “scribes questioning with them.” That is, they were probably professedly making inquiries about the Saviour, but really attempting to introduce their own sentiments, and to draw them off from him. They probably artfully asked them many questions about his birth, his family, his appearance, his manner of life, and his instructions, all which were contrary to the general expectation respecting the Messiah, and they intended, therefore, to insinuate that such a person could not be the Christ. The people were persuaded that he was the Messiah. and it would not have done to have attacked their opinions openly, but they attempted to gain the same point by sly insinuations. Error is always subtle, and often puts on the appearance of calm and honest inquiry. Well had he compared them to leavens, Matthew 16:11-12. The multitude, seeing Jesus coming down, left the scribes, and ran to meet him (Mark). They were amazed, probably because they had not expected to see him there. In their joy at meeting him in this unexpected manner, they “saluted” him (Mark); that is, probably they prostrated themselves before him after the manner of salutation in Eastern countries. See the notes at Luke 10:4. Jesus, seeing the scribes and their artful design, reproved them by asking them why they questioned thus with his disciples, Mark 9:16. Conscious of their guilt and their base purpose, they returned no answer.
A certain man kneeling down to him - That is, saluting him, or showing high regard for him. See the notes at Luke 10:4. It did not imply religious homage, but merely high respect and earnest entreaty.
The entire night had been passed in the mountain; and as the sun arose, Jesus and His disciples descended to the plain. Absorbed in thought, the disciples were awed and silent. Even Peter had not a word to say. Gladly would they have lingered in that holy place which had been touched with the light of heaven, and where the Son of God had manifested His glory; but there was work to be done for the people, who were already searching far and near for Jesus. DA 426.1Read in context »
As the people on the plain caught sight of Jesus, they ran to meet Him, greeting Him with expressions of reverence and joy. Yet His quick eye discerned that they were in great perplexity. The disciples appeared troubled. A circumstance had just occurred that had caused them bitter disappointment and humiliation. DA 427.1
While they were waiting at the foot of the mountain, a father had brought to them his son, to be delivered from a dumb spirit that tormented him. Authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, had been conferred on the disciples when Jesus sent out the twelve to preach through Galilee. As they went forth strong in faith, the evil spirits had obeyed their word. Now in the name of Christ they commanded the torturing spirit to leave his victim; but the demon only mocked them by a fresh display of his power. The disciples, unable to account for their defeat, felt that they were bringing dishonor upon themselves and their Master. And in the crowd there were scribes who made the most of this opportunity to humiliate them. Pressing around the disciples, they plied them with questions, seeking to prove that they and their Master were deceivers. Here, the rabbis triumphantly declared, was an evil spirit that neither the disciples nor Christ Himself could conquer. The people were inclined to side with the scribes, and a feeling of contempt and scorn pervaded the crowd. DA 427.2
But suddenly the accusations ceased. Jesus and the three disciples were seen approaching, and with a quick revulsion of feeling the people turned to meet them. The night of communion with the heavenly glory had left its trace upon the Saviour and His companions. Upon their countenances was a light that awed the beholders. The scribes drew back in fear, while the people welcomed Jesus. DA 427.3Read in context »
But the purposes of Christ were not thwarted. He allowed the evil spirits to destroy the herd of swine as a rebuke to those Jews who were raising these unclean beasts for the sake of gain. Had not Christ restrained the demons, they would have plunged into the sea, not only the swine, but also their keepers and owners. The preservation of both the keepers and the owners was due alone to His power, mercifully exercised for their deliverance. Furthermore, this event was permitted to take place that the disciples might witness the cruel power of Satan upon both man and beast. The Saviour desired His followers to have a knowledge of the foe whom they were to meet, that they might not be deceived and overcome by his devices. It was also His will that the people of that region should behold His power to break the bondage of Satan and release his captives. And though Jesus Himself departed, the men so marvelously delivered, remained to declare the mercy of their Benefactor. GC 515.1
Other instances of a similar nature are recorded in the Scriptures. The daughter of the Syrophoenician woman was grievously vexed with a devil, whom Jesus cast out by His word. (Mark 7:26-30). “One possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb” (Matthew 12:22); a youth who had a dumb spirit, that ofttimes “cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him” (Mark 9:17-27); the maniac who, tormented by “a spirit of an unclean devil” (Luke 4:33-36), disturbed the Sabbath quiet of the synagogue at Capernaum—all were healed by the compassionate Saviour. In nearly every instance, Christ addressed the demon as an intelligent entity, commanding him to come out of his victim and to torment him no more. The worshipers at Capernaum, beholding His mighty power, “were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power He commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.” Luke 4:36. GC 515.2
Those possessed with devils are usually represented as being in a condition of great suffering; yet there were exceptions to this rule. For the sake of obtaining supernatural power, some welcomed the satanic influence. These of course had no conflict with the demons. Of this class were those who possessed the spirit of divination,—Simon Magus, Elymas the sorcerer, and the damsel who followed Paul and Silas at Philippi. GC 516.1Read in context »