Matthew 17:14-21 by Dona Williams
Pastor Dona came to teach at our Friday Bible study on 2/5/09 and it blessed us greatly.
Matthew 17:14-21 And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
At this point Jesus’ ministry was winding down and He was making His final journey to Jerusalem. Jesus is wanting to impart final teachings to His disciples.about the Word and the power of the Word. Two times he has predicted his death but His disciples will forget those predictions until He reappears to them. On the road to Emmaus, He caused the disciples finally realized it was Jesus with them, and later they said that their hearts burned within them. Distractions caused them to forget what Jesus had said to them. We forget that with God all things are possible.
The story from Matthew 17 is also found in Mark 9 and Luke 9.
The disciples should have been able to heal this boy. They had been sent out in Chapter 10 and instructed to go into Israel, town to town, and minister to people. They had the commission from Jesus to do that, and yet in this case they were unable to heal the boy. Why?
The epileptic spirit is a tough spirit to command to leave. To have his son throwing fits was frightening for the father and for the disciples. The son kept trying to harm himself, and the enemy was trying to kill him.
Jesus speaks “O faithless and perverse generation…” Notice, Jesus did NOT SAY “O faithless and perverse disciples” Jesus was speaking to the GENERATION. All humans, and this generation looked at the circumstance with fear.
The dad sought people to help and prayed but in an ineffective way.
Notice in verse 16, the man tells Jesus that he brought his son to the disciples BUT they could not cure him.
Dona said something so profound:
WHATEVER FOLLOWS “BUT” IS GREATER THAN WHAT PRECEDES IT.
We can think, I’m going to pray for him BUT he’s pretty bad off. Remember: YOU WILL HAVE WHAT YOU SAY.
People make excuses such as: But you don’t know my situation.
We don’t need to have answers up front for that is working by sight. If we are working by sight, we are not operating in faith. If we are not operating in faith we won’t get our answers.
The disciples were looking at what happened to the boy, and thus they were not operating in faith, so the child was not healed.
We need mustard seed faith. Jesus told us to go and heal the sick, to do the things that Jesus did.
In severe situations we may feel we do not have enough faith, or that we need greater faith. We can lean on another’s faith, thinking we need people to shore us up. At some point, though, we need to realize that God gave us enough faith and that what we need to do is stir up our faith.
With our children, when they are little we pray for them and cover them, but when they become young adults they have to stand on their own faith, they can’t depend on our faith for them.
God hears and answers our prayers. We need to stand on our own feet and pray for ourselves. Yes, we disciple a new believer or a convert and begin to show them how to pray and stand in faith. But the disciples had spent three years with Jesus. They were comfortable walking with Jesus, and knew that Jesus could heal. When they were commissioned they were able to heal the sick, and now they were puzzled, and asked Jesus why it didn’t work this particular time.
We need a closer look at Jesus in our walk in faith. We are given mustard seed faith. When we are considered faithless it is because doubt disconnects us from our faith. The word “perverse” speaks of sin. Distractions and comforts of the world can distract us. We can get distracted by family, friends, life.
The disciples were so used to relying on Jesus that they fell into SPIRITUAL LAZINESS.
1 Timothy 6:5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppress that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself
It is our tendency to fall back on previous knowledge and experience, to think of the situation in material terms or as part of humanity. But we are not to do that, we need to see things as God sees them.
Matthew 17:18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.
Jesus rebuked the demon and the demon came out of the child from that hour. The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. Jesus came to bring life. The enemy saw the disciples not believing in their authority to cast the demon out. The man heard about Jesus and came to Jesus’ disciples for help. The demon sought to destroy the boy before the boy could be healed. There were two kingdoms at war.
Matthew 17:19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
The disciples privately came to Jesus to ask why they couldn’t cast the demon out. They got disconnected through their unbelief and connected to the world. Jesus needed to show them how to reconnect to God and disconnect from the world. When connected to the world they became full of unbelief and faithlessness.
Matthew 17:20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
Jesus told them that if they reconnected, they could pray and then they would be able to do the miraculous things – to move mountains.
Matthew 17:21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
PRAYER RECONNECTS US TO FAITH AND FASTING DISCONNECTS US FROM THE WORLD.
The disciples had walked with Jesus for three years. They observed Jesus getting up in the morning and going off to pray. Jesus was modeling what the disciples should be doing. When Jesus went to pray in the Garden He asked the disciples why they couldn’t pray with Him for one hour.
When Moses died, Joshua took over leadership of the people, it was not natural selection from father through sons. Aaron did not take over the leadership from Moses. Moses did not obey God and struck the rock twice – so he was not able to enter the Promised Land. Aaron stayed with the people and got influenced by their desire to have a god they could see, casting a golden calf. Joshua went with Moses to the mountain and stayed as close as He could to God and Moses. That is why God put His Spirit on Joshua, not on Aaron.
With Elijah and Elisha, Elisha stayed close to Elijah, knowing that Elijah promised Elisha that he would receive a double portion if he saw Elijah depart. There was a price to be paid to take that position. He had to CHOOSE to stay with Elijah instead of staying with the school of disciples and watching. Elisha chose to press in.
The disciples saw that Jesus received strength from His prayers, so they asked Jesus how to pray. Jesus taught them the “Our Father.” Then He explains to them that He only did what His Father told Him to do. The disciples were with Jesus, and could look at Jesus, but one still asked Him to tell Him about the Father. When we look at Jesus we see the Father. Jesus later tells the disciples that whatever they ask the Father in Jesus’ Name, the Father will give it to them.
As Christians when we pray we need to remember the Father and the Holy Spirit as well as Jesus. Jesus is represented in the Godhead.
In these awesome days it is time to dig deep. We were chosen to live at this time period. God has a reason for us to be born at this time. We need a revival of the kind of faith that Jesus taught us and not let the world walk all over us. While we have been comfortable in our faith, people have been walking all over our liberty. We want people to realize that we do what we do because of the Love of Jesus. Yet we are seeing the liberty of our society being nullified by the lack of morality of our generation.
To reverse this downward spiral we need to dig deep and not compromise. We need to walk according to the Word of God, not how we feel or what makes us comfortable. The deeper we dig, the sweeter the water. If we fast and spend time in prayer, even fasting from the internet, news, TV, etc. and listen for the voice of God, we will gain direction. The water is sweeter.
If you want to hear from God, pray and fast. The disciples missed out on what Jesus did because they did not share His prayers and fasts. But when Jesus instructed them, after His resurrection, to go to Jerusalem and stay in the Upper Room, what Jesus had, the disciples received through Pentecost. The disciples spent 10 days in the Upper Room . When Jesus was resurrected He was seen by 500 people, but only 120 went to the Upper Room.
Only those who obeyed him and went to the Upper Room had the experience of the Holy Spirit, the rest of those 500 that went their way did not receive the Holy Spirit at that time. The 120 chose to pray and fast and wait on God.
TO CONNECT TO GOD YOU NEED TO DISCONNECT FROM THE WORLD ON PURPOSE.
We need to meditate on who we are in Christ and appropriate the authority that we have IN JESUS. We need to appropriate our own faith. The choice is in our hands and it is up to us what we do with it.
There are many who have spoken the Word with conviction – Kenneth Hagin, Pastor Don Moore, Pastor Cho, Smith Wigglesworth. God will give us what we want, as much as we want. But do we want more? We have to listen and ask God. Do you dare to believe? Pray and Fast.
Pastor Wendell, who is Pastor Dona’s Husband spoke about Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” and James 1:5-6 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
He pointed out that besides prayer and fasting, God also cares about what we give. When we are giving liberally we are flowing in the character of God. Loving and giving go hand in hand. We are to give to the Kingdom liberally, not only money but talent and time. Be generous and gracious to all. We can have as much of God as we want, but we also need to give out what God is giving us, then more of God will flow through us. we need to give without making the person who is receiving go through hoops.
So, press in to God with prayer, fasting, and giving liberally of God’s love to others.
Praying your day is blessed.
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