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Suggested Readings To Read Through The Bible In A Year

Friday   April 16, 2010   Matthew 16-17 and Psalm 63

How much faith does it take to see a miracle take place? That is the question that comes to mind when reading the narrative of Matthew 17:14-20. I have heard a lot of sermons from this passage of scripture – and even preached a few. Yet every time I read it I cannot help but to be a bit puzzled by the paradox of Jesus words. After Jesus healed the boy the disciples seem to ask a very sincere question, “why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” Jesus responded, “because you have so little faith” (NIV). The New American Standard says, “because of the littleness of your faith..” The King James says, “because of your unbelief.” I suppose that the KJV alleviates the paradox that I see – it makes it seem like it is a very simple matter - they simply didn’t think anything was going to happen when they prayed for the boy. However, if that was the case it brings up two questions for me: 1. If they didn’t believe anything was going to happen then why did they bother to pray for the boy in the first place? 2. If they knew they didn’t believe why even bother to ask Jesus why they failed? It seems to me they would have understood they were faithless and would have wanted to avoid the subject totally.

The waters are muddied for me when I read in earlier passages that Jesus had sent the disciples out to preach, and that he gave to them power to heal the sick, and cast out demons . . . and they had indeed seen miracles take place as they ministered to people. So what is the deal with their inability in this scene and Jesus rebuke about little faith? Especially when Jesus then says if you have faith the size of a mustard seed nothing is impossible! Obviously BIG faith is not the issue. Could it be that what is at stake is not so much the size of faith but the object of the faith? Could it be that the disciples thought they were the source of the power needed? After all they had prayed for people before and had seen miracles take place . . . perhaps their faith had become flawed in the fact they forgot that Jesus was and is the one with the power and they were simply a vessel that he could use when they were dependent on Him. Their question to Jesus was “why couldn’t we drive it out?” Does that question give us a clue as to where their faith was deficient? Had the disciples come to the place that they felt that the authority that Jesus had bestowed on them earlier was now their own power?

Jesus tells them and us that when the object of our faith is correct there is nothing that is impossible. This morning I am inclined to pray what the father of the boy prayed in Mark’s account of this story, “Lord, I believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”


Suggested Readings To Read Through The Bible In A Year

Thursday  April 15, 2010   Matthew 14-15 and Psalm 62

Friday      April 16, 2010   Matthew 16-17 and Psalm 63

Saturday  April 17, 2010   Matthew 18-19 and Psalm 64

Sunday    April 18, 2010   Matthew 20-21 and Psalm 65

Monday   April 19, 2010   Matthew 22-23 and Psalm 66

Tuesday  April 20, 2010   Matthew 24-25 and Psalm 67

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