"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Matthew 17:1-23 -- Eyewitness Accounts, Mustard Seed Faith

The other day when I introduced Matthew 17 and went on my field trip with Jesus up the mountaintop, I forgot a few things.  I forgot to speculate on what exactly Elijah, Moses and Jesus were talking about, but then I read in Luke that they were discussing Jesus' departure which would be brought to fulfillment in Jerusalem. (And how cute is it that Luke uses "departure" and "fulfillment" while my mind is on Moses and the exodus [departure] and Elijah being a prophet [fulfillment]?) 

Remember the disciples were terrified when the voice came from the cloud, and they fell to the ground. Next thing that happens though, Jesus is over there telling them not to be scared.  As they came down the mountain Jesus told them not to tell anyone of this experience until after his resurrection from the dead.

Some people say that John's gospel is the only one that makes Jesus out to be God because John's focus seems so different from Matthew, Mark and Luke's accounts.  Remember that John was one of the three disciples chosen to go on this trip up the mountain. He was an eyewitness to this transfiguration, this white and glowing Jesus.   Thus he could vouch - as one who saw this with his own eyes - to something few could.   (Despite how incredibly realistic my post was the other day, I truly didn't get to go. It was only James, John and Peter. Not Susanne.)

John 1 says,

 14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And John's gospel emphasizes "the deity of Christ and the glory of his person."  

Peter also speaks of this event on the mountain.

16We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." 18We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.  (II Peter 1)

Next in this chapter we see a man bringing his demon-possessed son to Jesus. Apparently he'd ask the disciples to heal his boy with no luck!  Were these the 9 disciples not chosen to go up the mountain with Jesus?  In his commentary, Warren Wiersbe speculates that maybe these guys were a bit disgruntled that they were left behind. Therefore they slacked off on their prayer and their faith weakened. Then when this father asked for them to heal his son, they tried not realizing their power had left them. Kind of like Samson who didn't realize his supernatural strength was gone until the Philistines were able to bind him and he was - for the first time in his life - unable to break what kept him in bondage.

Jesus heals the boy and when his disciples ask why they were not able to perform this miracle, Jesus said it was their lack of faith!  Then Jesus said if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, nothing would be impossible for us.  Wiersbe points out that using a mustard seed as an example shows two things. First God can use a small amount of faith, but at the same time a seed is living and growing.  Thus our faith - though it may start out small - is alive and it's growing bigger and bigger as we experience the faithfulness of God.  After all, He is the power behind our faith!  With faith the disciples could have healed this suffering son because the power behind the faith was from above.




I read a book recently and the main character mentioned how at times of suffering she would often forget God's faithfulness in the past. But remembering His goodness and the way He has helped us is often what keeps us going when troubles in life seem to overwhelm us.  So whatever struggles you are going through, take heart. As the old song goes, "count your many blessings, see what God has done."  I suspect as you start remembering the faithfulness of God, your heart will be cheered ... even if it's only a bit, like maybe the size of a mustard seed.

Hey, God can work with that!  :)

6 comments:

Nocturnal Queen said...

I have an award for you at my blog. :-)

Lat said...

The mustard seed parable sounds familiar.
Loved how you finished the post and we sure have a lot to thank God for! Alhamdulillah!

Wafa' said...

( I read a book recently and the main character mentioned how at times of suffering she would often forget God's faithfulness in the past. But remembering His goodness and the way He has helped us is often what keeps us going when troubles in life seem to overwhelm us. So whatever struggles you are going through, take heart. As the old song goes, "count your many blessings, see what God has done." I suspect as you start remembering the faithfulness of God, your heart will be cheered ... even if it's only a bit, like maybe the size of a mustard seed.)

That's exactly what happened to me lately, with so many troubles, fights, problems and pain , i was very much mad at God, but then i will remind myself of all blissings and slowly i started to forget my pains and be grateful :)
i guess not being forgiven and grateful would kill us in so many different ways .

Susanne said...

Niki, thank you! :)

Lat, yes we do have a lot of blessings...true! :)

Wafa', glad you can relate with your own personal testimony to counting blessings being helpful! My preacher tells us we can't be grumpy and thankful at the same time. So he says to chase away the blues, we should start praising God! :)


Thank you all for your comments!

Amber said...

I think we 'forget' or at least don't remember clearly the good things when we're in a bad mood/situation/etc. because we live so much in the moment. So when the moment is bad, we dwell on it, and all the other bad moments that we can recall. We have to make an effort, consciously, to recall the bright spots, and the good things.

The story of the disciples who couldn't exorcise the demon reminds me of the movie I saw last weekend! I did wonder, if the preacher had still had his faith, would he have been able to save the girl? And once he realized that it really was a possession, still, if other people hadn't intervened, would he have had the power? Because it's not human power, but God's, gifted to us for short periods of time. Send a regular old schmo against a demon, and it'll laugh at you and make a lei out of your intestines...

Susanne said...

Amber, yes, I thought of the movie you mentioned on your blog, too! :) I agree that we don't just haphazardly try to confront demons. It's not something to take lightly.

Oh, yes, we live in the moment. FOR SURE! I wonder how we break that habit. Do you reckon this is why altars were so often built in the OT and why God wanted the Israelites to keep certain holidays/feasts each year? Those feasts would bring to mind, maybe stamp "God is faithful" on the minds of the people. Of course we know they still forgot God's goodness..thus they often complained. So I guess it's just part of our human nature to forget the good times when troubles come. It takes an effort to remember the faithfulness of God.

Wow, you really made me think there!

Thanks for your comments!