Lessons from Matthew 17: Transforming Faith
When Jesus and the three disciples returned, there was a crowd of people gathered. And out of the crowd came the father of a demon possessed boy.
The Bible states that the boy had been tormented by a demon. In desperation, the father of the boy brought his son to the disciples. Though Jesus had previously given them the power and authority to deliver people from demons and disease, this time they had failed! Nothing they had done could drive this demon out of the little boy!
When Jesus came upon the scene, the father approached Him and he knelt down before Him. In humility, recognizing Jesus’s power and authority, he asked Jesus to have mercy on his son.
The boy’s father explained to Jesus that the boy had seizures. At that time, it was a disease associated with demon possession. The father went on to explain the severity of the disease by describing to Jesus the desperation of the situation.
The boy would frequently fall into the fire or water, putting him in harm’s way. The father was desperate for his son and his life. He told Jesus that he had brought the boy to the disciples but they had failed to help him.
Can you imagine the desperation in the father’s eyes, the look of the little boy, but also the look of failure in the eyes of disciples? What happened?
These men had been given the power and authority of Jesus to drive out demons and heal the sick–where had they gone wrong?
I feel safe in saying I bet they wondered the same thing!
And Jesus nailed the problem. Their faith was the issue. Not in the quantity of faith, for Jesus said even a small amount of faith is enough to move mountains. So what was the problem?
The problem was the quality of their faith.
Our faith is only as strong as the object of our faith.
If our faith is in ourselves, there comes a point and time that in our sinful state we will fail to produce our desired dreams on our own. If our faith is in our jobs, our own families, in our comfort, or our bank accounts, we will find them limited and ever-changing.
But there remains one constant throughout all history! And that is the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ and His works. To place our faith in anything else will always prove to be futile, unsuccessful, empty, and meaningless
Faith in Jesus Christ, His Word and works and nothing else, is the Christian’s power source, through which nothing will be impossible!
In what is your faith placed? In your gifts, talents or abilities? Do you place your faith in your own methods or techniques or formulas?
Maybe you have place your faith in your obedience? Your obedience to do the work God has called you to do, but you do it in your own strength and thus the results are fruitless?
It would do us all some good to take a look at where have we left God out of the equation and thus removed or hindered His power source!
From all appearances, this father had more quality in His faith in Jesus than Jesus’s own disciples.
And Jesus asked, How long? How long will it take? How long shall I put up with your limited vision of who I am and what I can do in and through you?
He told the man to bring the boy to Him. Jesus rebuked the demon and it came out and the boy was healed at that moment!
Jesus knew His time with these disciples was short and they were going to have need of every ounce of their faith in Him in order to overcome the mountains of obstacles that were going to come their way. So once again He proves His power and authority over all things!
Might we, like this father, come before His throne of grace and call out for mercy and seek God’s help in our seemingly helpless situation. Then may we trust Him to move the mountains of difficulties. And if we are struggling with unbelief, may we also confess, like this father did: Lord, I believe, but help me in my unbelief!