What Jesus Did! 'Faith or Frustration?' — Matthew 17:14-18

Saturday, August 14, 2021

At the foot of the mountain [after the Transfiguration], a large crowd was waiting for [Jesus and the disciples]. A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, "Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn't heal him."

Jesus said, "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." Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well.

— Matthew 17:14-18 NLT

Key Thought

Why had Jesus' closest followers not been able to heal the boy? Matthew 17:20 says that it was because they did not have enough faith, but why was that? Was it because of Jesus' absence? Was it because of the leaders' among the apostles being with Jesus? Was it because they simply lost faith in what Jesus had equipped and empowered them to do?

Jesus is surely frustrated with our ineffective attempts to live for him and bless others with his grace. Just as Moses came down from his mountain of experience with God and found frustration and faithlessness, Jesus did, too. The message for us? Surely we must understand that we must have faith and then when we do, Jesus can do great things through us. But ... Jesus can and will do things without us if we choose not to follow and obey him. The issue is one of honoring and blessing him and blessing others by having faith in him.

Today's Prayer

Holy God, I want you to be pleased by my choices and my actions as I seek to live by faith, trusting that Jesus will use me to make a serious impact on others. Father, I believe, but help my faith to grow stronger each day. May all I do bring you glory and bless others, especially those in need. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 10:1, 8
  • Matthew 15:28
  • Matthew 8:7-13


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Illustration of Matthew 17:14-18 NLT — "Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn't heal him."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.