TEXT: Matthew 17:14-21
14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 136 messages in this series.
This is message #137 titled, Fighting Satan’s Strongholds Through Prayer and Fasting (Part 2)
On last week, we focused on what we can learn from the father in this passage on how to overcome strongholds in our lives through prayer and fasting. A stronghold is a mindset or a sin habit that the devil uses to keep us from being all that we can be for God’s glory. We see from the father’s example in this passage that: (1) We must have a desire to overcome our strongholds; (2) We must recognize that Jesus alone has power and authority over our strongholds; (3) We must admit to God that we are in trouble; and (4) We must admit to God that what we have tried to do is not working, and we must bring our strongholds to Him if we want to see them removed. The primary way to do all of this is through prayer to God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Back in this passage, we find a father in desperate need of healing and deliverance for his son who has epilepsy and is influenced by demons. After he explains his situation to Jesus and tells of how the disciples could not cure him nor cast out the demon, Jesus says, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.”
As usual, there is a crowd standing around expecting to see Jesus work a miracle. Imagine their surprise when Jesus instead refers to all of them — the disciples and the father included — as part of a “faithless and perverse generation.” One commentator states that Jesus “castigates” the crowd. Jesus has two problems with the people of His day — and, in some cases, they are the same problems that He has with people today.
First, the people are “faithless.” From the Old Testament to the New Testament, people are urged to ‘just trust God, have faith in God, believe in God, and don’t doubt God.’ The people alive in Jesus’ day have the wrong attitude toward God — they don’t have faith in Him. The lack of faith among the people and the disciples is shown through the fact that they were unable to heal the sick boy. In Matthew 10, Jesus had given the disciples power to cast out devils, and Luke 10 informs us that they had been successful in doing so before. Perhaps, they had never seen a case as bad as this boy’s and so their faith faltered. Maybe they weren’t sure that even God could heal this boy.
There is a sense here that Jesus is uncomfortable, to put it charitably, with the disciples and with the people because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13:58 informs us that in one place, Christ “did not [do] many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Evidently, the measure of our blessings, the measure of our answers to prayer, the measure of our deliverance is in proportion to the measure of our faith. In fact, when Jesus was healing some blind man, He touched his eyes and said, “According to your faith be it unto you.” In other words, He tells him, ‘You will be healed because you believe that I can heal you.’
Second, Jesus rebukes the people as “perverse.” The word “perverse” means twisted or distorted. Again, Jesus is pointing out that there is something wrong with the thinking and spiritual attitude of the people. Adam Clarke said, “They were confounded at their lack of success — but not at their lack of faith.” The church today is like that. We worry and fret over declining baptisms, declining church membership, lack of racial reconciliation, decline of interest in world missions, people not tithing and giving as they should, among many other things. Maybe our real problem is that we are perverse in our thinking. We don’t have the right mindset. We’re focusing on the results, or lack thereof, when we really should be focusing on whether or not we have faith in God to do the things He says He will do.
Jesus continues by saying, “How long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?” It seems as though Jesus is saying, ‘Will I always have to be physically present for anything to be done? What are you going to do when I go back to the Father?’ We have to understand that Jesus was rapidly moving down the road that would lead to the cross. Shortly thereafter, He would ascend to Heaven and turn over the day-to-day operations of the Kingdom, if you will, to the disciples. He is concerned, and perhaps distressed, that they are not further along in their spiritual walk.
Finally, after this rebuke, Jesus says, “bring the child to me.” The Bible says, “And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.” Jesus’ action is swift and certain. He rebukes the devil, the devil leaves, and the child is cured of his epilepsy.
After His somewhat shocking rebuke, it appears as though Jesus is trying to show them that the boy being delivered from the stronghold in his life was not hard. The problem was that the people and the disciples thought it was hard. They didn’t believe that they could effect this deliverance through the power of God. The whole point here is that God is the One who does the deliverance — not us. We must have faith in Him to be delivered from our strongholds.
One commentator states that Jesus taught His disciples four things through their failure in faith: (1) It taught them not to get into a rut of mechanical ministry. (2) It taught them that Jesus was superior to any spiritual or physical enemy. (3) It taught them to desire the presence and power of Jesus. (4) It taught them to bring their problems to Jesus.
Everything in these four lessons draws our attention to Jesus Christ. When we are faced with a problem, we ought to immediately look to Jesus. Often, we stay focused on the problem and not the Problem-solver. We stay focused on the stronghold and not the Savior. We ought to desire Jesus in every part of our lives and realize that we need Him to deliver us from the influence and power of the devil. When we take our problems to Him, we can be sure that He has the ability to make things right.
Buck Owens sang a song titled “Bring it to Jesus”:
When the road is rocky and heavy is your load
When the sky is cloudy and the sunshine’s gone
When your life is troubled and nothing’s going right
Bring it to Jesus, he’ll show you the light
Bring it to Jesus and he’ll show you the way
Bring it to Jesus and he’ll brighten your day
When your life is troubled and you can’t sleep at night
Bring it to Jesus and he’ll show you the light
Jesus the Saviour is the light of the world
He’s the only way to heaven so we read in his word
Tell him all your troubles and let him make ’em right
Bring it to Jesus and he’ll show you the light
Whatever your stronghold is, whatever your problem is, whatever your difficulty is: bring it to Jesus through prayer and have faith that He can resolve it.
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.