JUST DO IT!
Lord, enable me to do Your work.
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.”  (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.
“Lord, have mercy on my son” (15). Who do you want to pray for today? Call on God to have mercy on them.
Few things are more disturbing than watching one’s child suffer. Many parents have been moved to declare, “If only it had happened to me.” Such is the degree of desperation that brings a man to Jesus, kneeling to acknowledge his reverence and pleading for mercy. He turns to Jesus because the disciples failed to heal the boy. If most of verse 17 had been omitted and the passage went straight to “Bring the boy here to me,” it would be much more palatable. We are jolted to attention by Jesus’ sharp rebuke to his disciples. Labeling them an “unbelieving and perverse generation” seems harsh. But is it justified?
Jesus knows that he is approaching the cross and soon will leave the disciples. Are they ready? Are they prepared to carry on the mission? Much will depend on them to continue his work. They have witnessed demonstrations of his power; participated in miraculous ministry with him; even been granted authority to exorcise and heal. Yet they still have “so little faith” (20). Will all this be remedied by the gift of the Holy Spirit? It seems that Jesus expects them to have the faith to do the impossible right then and there (21).
It comes as a huge challenge to us, who stand on the other side of the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost. We have so much—and much is expected of us. We are expected to have the faith to pray for those in need, believing that God will answer; to step out in faith and give ourselves and our money sacrificially; to speak out in public rather than remain silent. Nothing will be impossible—really? Suffering and rejection are only a moment away (22)—but so is resurrection. The risen Jesus will equip his disciples of all generations to carry his mission forward.
Would Jesus ever level the censure of unbelief or perversity at the church, or at you? If so, what would he focus on? What can we pray about here?
Lord, Your people look to You for the empowerment that comes exclusively from the Holy Spirit.