"Help Me in My Unbelief"- Matthew 17:14-20

“Help Me in my unbelief”


Matthew 17:14-20

This Week’s Core Competency: Prayer - I pray to God to know Him, to lay my requests before Him and to find direction for my daily life.

Psalm 66:16-20  Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. 17 I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; 19 but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. 20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer  or withheld his love from me!

Matthew 17:14-21  And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”  21[“ But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”]

Message of the Passage: From a mount of jubilation to a valley of humiliation is "where we live." After seeing God's glory, the Disciples had to learn trust and reliance. Jesus brought the Disciples from their incredible emotional mountain top experience directly into the valley of daily life where they were met with opposition and failure. The valley was filled with unbelief, Jesus' coming suffering, and death. The Disciples put into practice what they saw and learned, and quickly hit a wall of opposition. They saw that taking both what they had learned and their experiences, then applying all of it takes more than merely an attitude of, "Just do it." Jesus had already given the Disciples the power to exorcise demons; they were perplexed that for some reason they were unable to follow though (Matthew 10). They sought to do it under their own power, neglecting God's power as well as prayer. After trying to do the work of God without prayer or trust, they had to learn to take their knowledge and make it real and impacting in their life.  The lesson is profound because it is so simple. We can be called and gifted, prepared and ordained, to be the disciples of Jesus Christ, but if we do not remain in constant contact with the source of our power, we will fail in when it comes to crunch time.

Answering Interpretive Questions:

  • What is faith? (See Hebrews 11:1-2)

  • How are we to live? (See Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:16-17, Galatians 2:16; 3:11, Hebrews 10:38)

  • Jesus said “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (v. 21) Why is prayer AND fasting important?

  • Why do you think Jesus was upset by His disciples’ lack of faith?

  • How have you learned trust and reliance? What do you still need to learn? 

  • What do you do when you face unbelief and frustration? What can you do?

  • Why is it outside of God's will and plan to have confidence without faith? 

  • How would the Church and society benefit if Christians always focused on His truth and not our rights? 

  • There has to be a time when we take what we have learned and apply it. Yet, most Christians will never really apply their faith. Why is that? 

  • What can you do to avoid becoming frustrated and giving up with your faith when faced with the realities of daily life and/or failure? 

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter” MLK

Sherilyn KingsburyMatthew