April 26: The Necessity of Faith in Ministry (Matthew 17:14-20)
This Sunday Brandon Jordan will continue a series on theology in the youth room at 9:00am addressing the Lordship of God. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project addressing the fifth of the seven daily sins, lust.
And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 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.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 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.” (ESV)
The display of Jesus's glory on the Mount of Transfiguration is immediately followed by a confrontation with the darkness and despair of the world. Jesus and his three disciples are met by a crowd looking for answers over the failure of the disciples to heal a boy with both physical and spiritual problems. Jesus, after healing the boy with a word, reveals the absolute necessity of faith in the work of the kingdom. While faith is critical it is not the amount of faith but the quality of it that does the impossible. Effectual ministry is the result of true and real faith in the power of God to further his work through us.
Review and Apply
- What strikes you as you hear this father ask for mercy from Jesus?
- How would you explain the relationship between sickness and demon possession in this passage to a non-Christian?
- Who is Jesus condemning as faithless and twisted?
- Why does Jesus feel frustrated? Is this right?
- Why did the disciples fail? How is faith used in this scripture?
- Describe the relationship between our faith and success in ministry in your own words.
- Give an example of trying to do ministry without faith? How effective was it?
- What is the point of the metaphor of mustard seeds and mountains?