Focus your thoughts on God. He is with you. He loves you. He wants to speak to you through his Word.
Read Matthew 17:14–23
Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy
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.” [21 Matthew 17:21 Some manuscripts include here words similar to Mark 9:29]
Jesus Predicts His Death a Second Time
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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThis is quite a hard passage, and if we aren’t careful, we could find it deeply discouraging. Come with an open heart today.
I’m sure, like me, you have prayed for suffering people and then watched them suffer on, only to die in miserable pain. Are we to understand from this incident in Matthew’s Gospel that when our prayers for healing aren’t answered it is our fault? Emphatically, no. But to get there, we need to take a step back from these verses and see where they sit in the bigger picture.
The first thing to see when we look at what is going on here is that it is not faith that accomplishes things, it is God. There is absolutely no use in having unshakeable faith if what we have faith in is not real. It is entirely possible that the disciples had gotten carried away with their new healing powers and had disconnected from God.
The second, related thing to bear in mind is that Jesus was clear: one day his kingdom would come in full, and there would be no more death, mourning, crying or pain (Rev. 21:4). But until then, suffering is still on the menu. We need faith in the God who can heal, and we need faith in the God who sometimes doesn’t heal now, but who has promised one day to make everything new.
Have you gotten so busy that you’ve disconnected from God? Choose something to fast today, and in place of that, spend time with God.
Reflect on verse 20 and ask God to strengthen your faith in him.