Matthew 17:14-20 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. "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. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him." "O 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." Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, 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."
As we continue our journey through the letter to the Ephesians, we come to Paul’s “Thanksgiving and Prayer.” This section is very common in personal letters in the Greco-Roman world. Paul prays that the Ephesians would be given many things, including the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation,” and His “incomparably great power;” the great power of the Holy Spirit. This is the same power that Jesus used to raise Lazarus from the dead, to heal the sick, and to cast out demons. Paul was praying that the Ephesians would receive it too. Through the Holy Spirit, this power is also available to us…but do we have the faith needed to move mountains?
In Matthew 17:14-20, we find a lesson in faith and powerlessness with the disciples. At this point, the disciples had already been with Jesus for some time. They had heard Jesus’ teachings, witnessed his miracles, even participated in the feeding of the 5,000, but they were unable to heal a demon-possessed boy brought to them by his father. Even though In Matthew 10:1 Jesus had given the disciples, “authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness,” they were not able to succeed this time. After Jesus rebukes the demon and heals the boy, he gathers His disciples together for some teaching.
Miracles don’t happen with loud words or special rituals, they happen through faith…and faith requires the gentleness of Jesus. It’s easy to try and accomplish things on our own. It’s easy to trust in ourselves and know we can get things done in our own strength, but it’s a challenge to believe and have faith that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will take care of things. Jesus had to have faith and know that the Holy Spirit would heal the boy, just as we need to have faith and know that the Holy Spirit will move on our behalf when we pray…but in order to move mountains, we must humble ourselves knowing that we, ourselves, are not doing anything, it is God. We must gently step away and let the glory go to God!