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Sunday, January 17, 2010

1/17/10 Matthew 17:14-21 Combining Prayer with Faith

1/17/10- Matt 17:14-21 Combining Prayer with Faith

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 from that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" 20-21 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."

Calvin abridged: A father here appeals on behalf of his only son and urgently and humbly appeals to the compassion of Christ. Christ does not rebuke the disciples or the father, but the religious leaders of the day. It is probable that the scribes asked the disciples to help if they had any power. The disciples made an attempt but were not able to help the child. It is likely that the scribes then claimed victory and ridiculed the disciples. It is also likely that the man was made deaf and dumb not naturally but by a spiritual malaise. “Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Mt. “All things are possible to him who believes”).

Thoughts: The key to spiritual healing is to come to Jesus or let Jesus come to us. To think we don’t need Jesus cuts us off from God’s power to help us. The reason the boy could not be healed was that unbelief was prevalent. When most pray for God’s help they don’t really expect it. Like when the disciples were praying for Peter to get out of prison- when he did they didn’t believe it was him (Acts 12). Too many look for an excuse to not believe God can help them. Too many don’t want to believe He can-- lest He disappoint them and they somehow lose their faith. In our day we separate faith from everything—even prayer! Several years ago there was an article in Time Magazine about prayer. It talked about how so many in America pray- more pray than actually profess to believe! The article even featured prostitutes praying (separating prayer from obedience), But effective prayer in scripture combines prayer with obedience and with faith (“If I had cherished sin in my heart the Lord would not have heard me” Ps. 66:18). We become God- if God always has to say yes to us. Yet, we should not be afraid to pray- with faith and obedience- and let God filter out the yeses. A spam filter- filters out the things that are useless or not good for us. God does the same with our prayers. We should not be afraid to ask- and ask believing. Perhaps we are an unbelieving generation worst than the one in Jesus’ day. We should learn from the past to pray- and pray with faith.

Prayer: Help me to have faith and use me to move mountains- making this world a better place- and glorifying you today. Bless the worship service today, Lord. Bless those who come and those who lead.

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