Wednesday 16 March 2022

Matthew 17:14-23

14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” 17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” 22 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.

Have you ever had the role of being a Manager or Teacher? In these roles you would be required to instruct and educate employees and also you would be required to review their performance.

Even if you have not had one of these roles mentioned above, it is likely that you have been in a position where you have been taught by someone, like being a student at school. Can you remember being taught?  A particular school subject may come to mind or perhaps a teacher that was encouraging. Sometimes I wonder if I was a good student, did I listen to the details? Did I demonstrate what I was taught? Did my Teachers ever become frustrated with me?

Jesus, the ultimate Teacher, chose his disciples carefully. In this verse, it becomes very clear that Jesus is quite frustrated with the disciples, indicating in verse 17 “How long shall I put up with you?” and verse 20 “Because you have so little faith”. Jesus’ humanity is shown very clearly here, rebuking the disciples. Also the students’ (the disciples’) humanity is on show.

Everyone is behaving like human beings, making it feel more real. The disciples had clearly missed the lesson on understanding the authority that Jesus had bestowed on them in Matthew 10:1, “to drive out impure spirits and heal every sickness and disease”. But still the disciples were chosen on purpose by Jesus, there was no mistake. They were chosen because they were imperfect, because, yes, they would make mistakes along the way.

Dear God

Thank you for your disciples. Thank you for choosing men who were not perfect and needed plenty of guidance and instruction. Thank you that we in our contemporary society can relate to the imperfection and the struggle to apply your teachings at times. Thank you for your endless forgiveness and enduring love.

Amen

Written by Susannah Ware

2 replies
  1. Richard says:

    I have always found this an abrupt passage of Scripture. I mean here are the disciples, learners, who are still learning and Jesus says they have little faith, in fact saying that because of their little faith the deliverance of a person was not effected. Jesus clearly had an expectation that they had learned more than they had up until this point of their journey. All too often I live in a bubble in my faith, I see things through my eyes alone and into my situation alone. When was the last time I prayed for healing for a person that didn’t happen and then asked myself was the lack of healing because I had little faith. I like to reason it must be something about the situation, but rarely reflect on my part in a causal manner. God is not limited, faith as small as a mustard seed is all that is required. While not suggesting there are not other factors at work – it is important for me to ask what are uncomfortable questions of myself as well.

    Father give me the courage to ask questions that spur my faith on!

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