Matthew 17:14-21 The War Is Won, Prepare For The Battle

by | Nov 17, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

I. On The Mountain Top & Down The Hill

A. On The Mountain Top

1. They had been on the Mt. with Jesus, & had seen Him transfigured
2. They had seen Moses & Elijah appear w/Jesus, speaking of His upcoming death
3. Peter had suggested that they build three tabernacles, presumably to stay there

B. Ministry Down The Hill

1. They couldn’t stay on the Mt. top; they weren’t supposed to

a. Jesus had to die and be raised
b. The disciples had the work of the kingdom to carry on
c. As much as we may desire it, life can’t always be lived on the Mt. top
d. There is always ministry down the hill; innumerable needs to be met

2. Christians are called to make a heavenly difference in this world
3. Turn to Philippians 2:14, 15
4. When we come down from the mountain, we will find people coming to us V. 14
5. The Mt. top prepares us for the needs of the multitude, our families/friends

II. When We Find Ourselves Unable

A. The Disciples Are Met With A Desperate Need

1. Desperate- he came kneeling down before Jesus V. 14
2. Lord, have mercy on my son- there is a great need that has not been met
3. “…he is an epileptic and suffers severely- V. 15

a. Whether it was actually epilepsy or not, the word for epileptic is lunatic, which means struck by the moon. (their general interpretation)
b. Whatever this condition was…it was caused by demonic possession
c. The demon sought to destroy this boy by throwing him into fire or water

B. The Inability Of The 9 Disciples Vs. 16

1. This must have been very discouraging, frustrating, & embarrassing for them
2. Jesus had previously given His disciples power over unclean (demonic) spirits
3. Turn to Matthew 10:1
4. Turn to Luke 10:17
Though they had previously had spiritual success casting out demons, for some reason, these disciples had been unable to cast out this demon

a. Though able, they were not able enough
b. Though spiritual, they were lacking spiritual power

5. Vs. 19- When the disciples wisely asked why they couldn’t cast the demon out, Jesus didn’t tell them that it wasn’t their responsibility
6. Jesus told them that they should have been better prepared

C. We Experience The Same Challenges

1. We are not called to “fix or help” every situation, but we are called to help some
2. We are expected by God to be able to help some of the people that come to us
3. We meet people w/problems much greater than our spiritual ability to handle
4. We find ourselves spiritual prepared for some situations, unprepared for others
5. Difficult situations come into our lives, whether we are ready or not

III. Jesus Explains The Situation

A. Their General Problem V. 17a

1. Faithless- without trust (in God)

a. Not that they had no faith- they were following Jesus, others weren’t
b. The disciples had exercised faith before; they weren’t men with no faith c. Jesus spoke of the absence of faith for the moment
d. General faith, but not faith for what was in front of them

2. Perverse- to turn aside from the right path

a. Not necessarily a purposeful turning away from the methods & mindset
of God, but a deviation nonetheless
b. Perverse- to treat a situation any other way than God’s way
c. EXAMPLES- Doing it in our own strength & human logic.
We have faith in methods & history, not current, appropriate faith in God We rush ahead because waiting for God’s answer seems to take too long. The answer doesn’t come as quickly as it did last time. It isn’t working like it usually does, therefore we become discouraged.

We don’t treat the situation in the manner God is leading us to

B. The Disciples’ Specific Problem

1. The disciples (privately) asked about their failure to cast out this demon V. 19
2. Jesus explained that this demon (this kind) was a difficult case V. 21
3. Their problem was: lack of faith, trusting in self, lack of fasting & prayer
4. Their particular struggle was this kind of demon

C. The Lord’s Correction

1. They lacked faith, resulting not in no prayer, but in insufficient prayer V. 20
2. Indicates misplaced self confidence, lack of awareness of need for God V. 21

D. Application For Us

1. There is a pitfall that Christians fall into…

a. We begin to trust in our biblical methods, instead of in the Lord
b. We are not desperate for God; we get used to doing things ourselves
c. We settle for good progress, & rejoice that we win some or most battles
d. We don’t become serious in prayer until we suffer defeat
e. David Guzik- Great prayer and fasting display earnestness before God that brings answer to prayer. Often, we pray dispassionately, almost asking God to care about things we care nothing about.

2. Consider the soldier- becomes an expert in his weapons, studies the battlefield, studies the history of wars, keeps himself in shape, prepares for the unexpected, maintains new training regularly, stays current with all aspects of war.
He makes it his life. He is in a war, and he cannot assume that yesterday’s victories guarantee tomorrow’s victories
3. Consider the relief to the boy & father if they would have been praying & fasting
4. Ray Stedman- “This kind cannot be driven out except by a heart which is kept fresh and alive and in touch with God by a life of prayer.”
5. Remember that we are in a spiritual battle
6. Don’t just settle for the war being won. Win battles as well. Ephesians 6:10-18