Luc and the mute spirit #LukeActs2014

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. (Luke 11:14, NIV)

My son, Luc, is on the autism spectrum. His mother and I are also convinced he has a condition called apraxia of speech. Basically, his brain and the muscles that produce speech do not connect in the way they do for most of us. In Jesus’ day, he would have been called mute.

In Luke, the word here that is translated “mute” is used in two other places.

The angel Gabriel strikes Zechariah mute in Luke 1 because he does not believe the good news of the impending birth of his son. In Luke 7, Jesus tells John’s disciples to report what they see of Jesus’ healing as testimony to who Jesus is. In this second example the word is translated “deaf” rather than “mute,” reminding me that in the Bible there are a whole collection of words that have overlapping meanings and the careful distinctions we make in our medical language were not important.

For these and other reasons, contemporary theology advises us not to connect medical problems with spirits or demons. As a child of the 20th century, I am inclined to go along with that advice.

But I’d be lying to say I do not feel at times that my son is under attack from an evil spirit that robs him of his voice. And what I am struck with in those times is how remarkably resilient he is. As I’ve said to many people, if I had to cope with the challenges he does, I’d be angry all the time. He is a model of contentment, peace, and joy nearly all the time.

I confess to not know what to make of Scripture passages such as the one above or how they relate to my son. I am conscious, though, of the impulse to read past them. In 2014, in America, we often want to ignore talk of spirit and demons and devils — especially when they are connected to matters our medical science explains. But Luc keeps me from doing that. Indeed, he makes those verses stand out in sharp relief. He forces me to see what I would not otherwise see, even if I do not yet understand.

5 thoughts on “Luc and the mute spirit #LukeActs2014

  1. You can’t help but notice Zechariah’s onset of muteness was sudden and unexpected. Zechariah’s healing would be done in the same fashion. Later in scripture Christ is asked the why’s of disability and it is assumed an evil spirit in the person or some act of the person caused the disability. Jesus corrects that misunderstanding.

    Today we have cases of sudden onset of blindness and other illnesses that disappear in the same way they came and we don’t know why. It has nothing to do with the devil.

  2.  Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
     Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

    No reason is given “for” this man’s blindness.
    An explanation is given to dispel or squash any misunderstanding that “sin” is the cause of the disability. God simply used an existing condition to teach Jesus was truly the Son of God.
    In Numbers 11; 10-15 we have Moses frustrated and asking many why’s.
    He is not given an explanation only solutions.

    It is my belief we have to accept “by faith” that God’s explanations are sufficient and by faith we know if there was something else we had need to know concerning the why’s Jesus would have given them. We search for solutions where we can. The why’s we can never know we accept and acknowledge Gods superiority which demonstrates our faith in our God. IMHO

    Enjoy your son. Talk of devils and demons are for another thread.

    1. Thanks, d. I am not perplexed over whether Luc’s apraxia is caused by sin … other than the general corruption of creation caused by the fall. I also find sin to be a different issue from being beset by spirits/demons. Jesus seems clearly to associate some things we call medical problems with the attack of spirits. I’m not saying I believe that is happening with Luc, but this whole set of issues does arise when I read Luke 11.

  3. I am glad you wrote what you did. It made me think!
    I understand what you are saying and I understand the very broad relationship of sin, penalty etc.
    What your thoughts have led me to think about is what must hurt God the most.
    On the cross Christ would have experienced unbelievable physical pain But… personally, internally and in the heart it must be very hurtful to God to know many do not believe what he came to teach and say.

    If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? John 8:46

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