On the mountain, Jesus revealed his divine glory to Peter, James, and John. The four had just rejoined the rest of the disciples and the ever-present, clamoring, curious, constantly needy crowd when a desperate father threw himself before Jesus and pleaded,
"Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him." (Matthew 17:15–16)
Jesus's response must have caught everyone off-guard:
"O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me."(Matthew 17:17)
Phew. Those are searing words. You can almost see the impotent, humbled disciples casting chastened glances at each other. The afflicted boy was brought to Jesus, whose omnipotent word soon dispatched both demon and disease.
The Holy Exasperation of a Grieving God
Who was Jesus calling faithless and twisted? These words were aimed at the disciples, the crowd, Israel, the world, and us. All of these are wrapped into the Greek word geneá (generation): a group, a nation, or an entire age.