Hope is Here / 06. Hope is Here // 2 Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon - Tobi Ford-Western // Matthew 17:14-20

06. Hope is Here // 2 Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon - Tobi Ford-Western // Matthew 17:14-20

In the passage this week, we read the story of Jesus healing a boy with a demon. Firstly, we see the contrast between the transfiguration in the previous verses, with the chaos of fallen humanity that Jesus is faced with when he comes down the mountain. He laments for the humanity that he spoke into being and the way that things were intended to be. Although He is concerned for the boy, he is more occupied with the ‘faithless and twisted generation’.
Jesus chooses this moment of chaos to bring some teaching to the father and the disciples, rebuking them for their lack of faith. At the time the boy’s healing would have felt much more pressing but for Jesus, healing people under dark oppression is easy. He was much more concerned by the doubt that persisted in the hearts of the disciples.
The father of the boy came to Jesus in desperation and Jesus delayed the healing and rebuked him. This seems cruel until we understand that, in his kindness, he was teaching the man how to be more effective in bringing his request, before attending to his prayer. He teaches us how to ask in faith because he wants us to receive.
We see later that Jesus says that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. A mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds, yet when it grows it becomes a large tree. He is talking about faith that grows and so when the man came to him with a little faith for his son’s healing he was not afraid to use the crisis to stretch and grow him.
In situations where it feels like God is delaying and rebuking, instead of answering our prayers, we can know that he is growing our faith so that we can ask for what we need more effectively. His heart is to give us what we want but if we aren’t patient and humble we miss out on the blessing.
Another issue that is raised in this passage is the demon. Jesus is confronted by a medical issue - a seizure. He determines that the root cause is spiritual and so he casts out the demon. Not all medical issues have a spiritual root but some do. We see Jesus both heal and deliver people in the bible and bring restoration in both cases.
Praying for the sick is important, but it is not a substitute for healthcare. Even Paul took Luke, a doctor, with him to provide medical assistance. Luke believed in miracles but he also believed he could give the gift of god through medicine and science. Therefore, it’s appropriate to bring our requests for healing to god but it is also appropriate to seek advice and care from physicians.
When we look at this story, different ones of us can relate to different people. Some may feel like the father who was rebuked for his faith amid a crisis. Some may feel like the disciples who were praying and seeing nothing happen. Some may feel like the crowd, just looking in to see what’s going on. The reality is, the person who you are most like is the little boy. We all need Jesus to come and deliver us from our sins.
Jesus went through hell to save us. Just like the father in the passage, he would stand up for his children and be humbled and punished on the cross. He became our representative, defeating death and sin and securing our forgiveness. Because of this, we can bring all of our cares to him with the confidence that we have his attention.

Applications

1. Have faith to come to Jesus and ask for what you want. The father had enough faith to be persistent and make his request known to Jesus and this meant that his son was healed.
2. Have humility when there is delay and rebuke. Jesus wants you to receive and so he is growing your faith and teaching you how to ask. If the father had walked away when his son’s healing was not immediate he would have missed out.
3. Trust Jesus because he knows what is most important. His priorities don’t always match up with our own but we have to know that he is in total control and he knows what is best for us.

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