Sunday 17 August, 2014

Matthew 17:14-23

14 When they came near the crowd, a man approached Jesus. He got on his knees in front of him. 15 “Lord,” he said, “have mercy on my son. He shakes wildly and suffers a great deal. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples. But they couldn’t heal him.” 17 “You unbelieving and evil people!” Jesus replied. “How long do I have to stay with you? How long do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus ordered the demon to leave the boy, and it came out of him. He was healed at that very moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private. They asked, “Why couldn’t we drive out the demon?” 20/21 He replied, “Because your faith is much too small. What I’m about to tell you is true. If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, it is enough. You can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there.’ And it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” 22 They came together in Galilee. Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be handed over to men. 23 They will kill him. On the third day he will rise from the dead.” Then the disciples were filled with deep sadness.

As I read this, I notice the father’s plea to Jesus. This dad came to Jesus falling on his knees, asking for compassion. This un-named father held Jesus in high esteem; he was kneeling, in complete humility. He would have known Jesus reputation as a healer, teacher, a miracle worker, one who was sent from God, and he believed that Jesus could heal his son.

This dad is agonising for his son; his son has severe epileptic fits, and he wants Jesus to have mercy and heal his son.

Imagine this picture, here is the only beloved son of this father and he is about to face the only beloved Son of God. Jesus identifies with him; He understands the heart of this father.

The other point to notice is the father affirms the powerlessness of the followers. The disciples had already been doing this, what was happening? So, the father goes past them to Jesus. He doesn’t have a lot of faith in the disciples, but he has faith in Jesus.

In response to this dad’s pleading, and the powerlessness of the followers, Jesus confronts the lack of faith in this generation; He heals this boy, and explains the importance of prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting strengthens our faith, brings a quiet humility to the soul and the presence of God.

Lord, when I am overwhelmed by the very hard things in life, help me to always look to You, and I pray my faith will constantly grow and increase. Amen

Written by Cathy Croft

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