Jesus, Kids with Special Needs and Their Families, Part 5
Jesus, kids with special needs, and their parents were acknowledged and valued by Jesus. He showed compassion to parents who brought their children into his presence. In the final installment of this series about Jesus, kids with special needs, Mark Arnold unpacks the story of how Jesus healed a boy with an unclean spirit.
What Happened in the Story
This story is recorded in Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9. At the beginning, a crowd is following Jesus when a man approaches him. The man kneels before Jesus and asks for mercy toward his son. The description of the boys; symptoms suggest epilepsy. The father had asked the disciples could help his son, but they weren’t able to. Jesus seems exasperated. Perhaps with the disciples for their lack of faith. Perhaps because of the way the father asked–“If you can do anything…” Jesus commands the spirit to come out of the boy. The child appears dead, but Jesus lifts him up and is healed.
How the Parent Acted and Reacted
Seeking: The father looked for a way to help his son. He was desperate to stop the seizures that threatened his son’s life.
Uncertain and Hesitant: The father was not sure where to turn. He approached the disciples first, which suggests he didn’t have the confidence to go directly to Jesus. Only when the disciples failed did he aim higher. Even then he wasn’t sure Jesus would be able to help.
Desperate: The father kept going though, even when rebuked by Jesus. Even when he wasn’t sure what he was saying or what he believed.
What We Can Learn from Jesus, Kids with Special Needs, and their Parents
Like the boy’s father we may be better at seeking worldly help our child than heavenly assistance. We hesitant to ask God to help us and our children We fear rebuke, rejection, and disappointment. We become confused and nervous mess when seeking God’s help for our children. There is no need to feel like that because God wants to hear from us. This story shows that out of our tiny, mustard seed faith, great trees can grow!
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By Mark Arnold
Mark Arnold is the Additional Needs Ministry Director at Urban Saints, a leading national Christian children’s and youth organization. He is co-founder of the Additional Needs Alliance, a national and international advocate for children and young people with additional needs or disabilities. Mark is a Churches for All and Living Fully Network partner, a member of the Council for Disabled Children and the European Disability Network. He writes an additional needs column for Premier Youth and Children’s Work (YCW) magazine and blogs at The Additional Needs Blogfather. He is father to James, who has autism spectrum condition, associated learning disability, and epilepsy. To find out more about how Mark’s work can help you, contact him at: email@example.com or @Mark_J_Arnold.
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When Jesus, kids with special needs, and their parents gather, we learn how valuable our families are to the God who loves our children as they are.
Stories about Jesus, kids with special needs, and their parents populate the gospels. One such story illustrates the importance of community and obedience.