Matthew: Faith As A Grain Of Mustard Seed

Memory Verse: Matthew 17:20

17:14-21 Jesus Heals A “Lunatick” Boy

  • 17:14-16 After Jesus transfigure before three of the disciples, they came down from the mountain. When they were come to the crowd, there came to Jesus a certain man that kneeled down before Him and told Him all about the problem with his son. He respectfully addresses Jesus as “Lord”. Then he requested Jesus to “have mercy” on his son—meaning He was wanting Jesus to heal his son of his problem. The problem was the son was a “lunatick”—meaning that he acts “insane” or he has seizures that make him act weird. Because of this He is “sore vexed”—meaning he badly suffers pain. For example, he often will fall into the fire or water. Finally, the man tells Jesus that he brought his son to His disciples, but they “could not cure him.” This seems like a hopeless situation because the son is helpless, the father of the son is helpless, and even Jesus disciples have proven to be helpless in this situation. But the father came to the one person who wouldn’t be helpless—Jesus. He is this man’s last hope.
  • 17:17-18 Jesus answers him (and the crowd around him) with two answers: (1) Jesus calls them a “faithless and perverse generation”—meaning they lack belief and trust in God but they were also morally bad or wrong in their understanding of God. Then Jesus shows His frustration saying, “How long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?” (2) Next, Jesus tells the father to bring the son to Him. Jesus rebuked the demon (devil) that was possessing the boy and the demon departed out of him. The son was cured from that very hour—meaning there was no delay, the boy was instantly healed. It seems all the problems of the boy were because of the demon that possessed him.
  • 17:19 Then Jesus’ disciples came to Him privately and asked, “Why could not we cast him out?” They must have been confused because before Jesus had given them power “against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”
    Matthew 10:1, 8
  • 17:20 Jesus answered their question saying, “Because of your unbelief”—most likely meaning they eventually misunderstood the purpose behind the “power” that Jesus bestowed upon them, treating it more like magic (they twisted it) than a supernatural act of God. Then Jesus goes on to explain that (1) if they have faith as a grain of mustard seed—a mustard seed is one of the smallest of all seeds and was used proverbially as “the smallest” (the least) of all seeds (even though we know some seeds are smaller than it). But the smallness of the seed is often contrasted to how large it becomes when it is fully grown. It even becomes a tree that stands 8-12 feet tall where birds can lodge in its branches. (2) they can say, “Unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove”—mountains are metaphorical for doing the impossible or doing a very difficult task. Jesus finally ends with telling His disciples that, “Nothing shall be impossible unto you”—this is an incredible promise to any person who is willing to have faith in God and act in faith according to God’s will. Application: Real faith is not “magic” that we can use to accomplish our will, like healing whenever we want to or just give us our “best life now,” but real faith submits to the will of God and always points to the glory of God.
    Matthew 13:31-32
  • 17:21 Finally, Jesus says that, “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting”—meaning that we as believers should spend time in prayer and fasting when acting in faith so that we ask according to the will of God and not twist our faith to fulfill our will. The Bible tells us, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
    1 John 5:14
  • Prayer is submitting to God’s will. We should pray for God’s will to be done over our personal preference. Jesus asked God to deliver Him and then He said that if there is no other way, let Your will be done. As we ask God to intervene in our lives, we should always be willing to submit to His will over our own.
    Luke 22:41-45; 1 John 5:14
  • Prayer is an expression of faith. Whatever we ask in prayer through faith, believing that it will come to pass, we will receive it and it will be ours.
    Matthew 21:18-22; Mark 9:14-29; 11:20-25
  • Prayer can be hindered. Not asking, asking with wrong motives, unbelief, doubt, sin, praying without understanding (praying in tongues), or even having a bad relationship with your spouse can hinder your prayers.
    1 Peter 3:7; 1 Corinthians 14:13-15; 1 Peter 4:7; James 4:2-3

17:22-23 Jesus Foretells His Death And Resurrection (Again)

  • 17:22-23 While Jesus and His disciples abode in Galilee, He told them that He (the Son of man) will be betrayed into the hands of men and killed, but also that He will be raised again on the third day. He already told His disciples that He would die and that He would be raised again the third day. Although they didn’t understand what this meant. Thus, they were exceeding sorry. Jesus emphasis here on the resurrection is to understand that although the His death is necessary, the ultimate victory comes when He is resurrected.
    Matthew 16:21; 17:9
  • God showed His grace towards us through the revelation of Jesus Christ. You need to understand who Jesus is and what He did.
  • Jesus is the Son of God. He came and lived on this earth being 100% God and 100% man. He was sinless. He was equal with God. He came as the Savior of the world. This was all testified by the Prophets, by Jesus’ own works, by the Scriptures, and by God Himself.
    Matthew 11:27; John 5:33-40
  • Jesus willingly died in our place on the cross. He did not have to die for Himself because He had no sin; He loved us though and chose to die in our place. He became sin for us, so that our sin debt could be paid.
    John 10:18; Romans 5:8; 6:23; 1 Peter 2:24
  • Jesus rose again from the dead. This proved that God accepted His death as our payment for sin. It proved that everything He said and did was true. He lives and reigns today, seated at the right hand of God the Father.
    Romans 4:25
  • Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. There is no other way of salvation. There is no other god or person that can pay the price for your sin. Therefore, salvation is only through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
    John 14:6-7; Acts 4:12

Review Questions

  • Who were the disciples trying to heal?
  • Why couldn’t the disciples heal the boy?
  • Could Jesus heal the boy?
  • What promise did Jesus give to the disciples?
  • What did Jesus tell the disciples would happen to Him?

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