2021_03_03 Insight Post- Rusty Coram
This week's reading- Matthew 17 & 18
In Matthew 17 we read about a desperate father that brought his demon plagued son to Jesus, with the hope that He would rescue the young boy. Jesus’ disciples had tried and failed to heal him. Meeting the father and hearing about the situation Jesus says, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well.” (vs 17,18 NLT)
This may seem harsh, but Jesus was describing things as they really were. At this point in His ministry at every turn the so-called religious experts were deliberately trying to discredit Him. The disciples’ failure surely drew a crowd, and the naysayers were using the opportunity for their own evil ends. His disciples had earlier been given the responsibility and power, to deal with diseases and demonic spirits (Matthew 10:1-4).
They had experienced success in the past, but this time were stymied. Later in a private setting, Jesus explained why His followers failed, “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (vs 20) [note: some new manuscripts add that this requires “prayer and fasting” but it is uncertain whether Jesus originally said this or if it was added later].
The issue Jesus is highlighting is that faith – true trust and reliance on God – is the key. In this situation the father of the boy was the one with the greatest faith. Jesus’ disciples had some faith, but it was not strong. It could have been that when they found their success earlier, they became proud of their power, and less reliant on the Father. Maybe they had become comfortably set in a formula and were fuzzy about this being God’s work. We don’t know for sure what was going on with them, but what we do know is that Jesus just had a heavenly “reunion” at the transfiguration and then arrived to see this lack of faith. And this lack of faith was among the people who should have been the most deeply devoted and faith-filled! This isn’t the only time something like this happened. Read Mark 6:5 for an example of when Jesus went to his hometown and was met with an outpouring of unbelief.
A lesson for us is that faith, true faith, places trust in the Father alone. Nothing more and nothing less.