June 6, 2021

"I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him" (Matthew 17:16).

It is a heart-breaking and spiritually sobering thing when a Christian or a Christian church cannot help a person in need. I know of those who choose not to help. I also know of those who want to help but are spiritually powerless to do so. Could it be that it is not God’s will for certain individuals to be healed? Possibly.

Sometimes the power of God in sustaining a person through a difficult time is better seen and appreciated than if the person is healed. Take the Apostle Paul as an example. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me - to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

That was not the case with the demonic possessed boy. Delivering him from demonic possession was within the will of the Lord (v.18), but the disciples were powerless to make that happen (vv.16,19). Why? Earlier Jesus sent them out to minister in the towns and villages of the region and gave them power and authority over sicknesses, diseases, demons, and death (Matthew 10:6-8; Mark 3:15). Their success was astonishing (Luke 10:17). Why were they unsuccessful here? When the disciples asked Jesus about their failure, His said (Matthew 17:20-21), Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. [But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.] Again, as before, the faith of the disciples was lacking.

They had been successful before because their faith was in Jesus Christ who gave them the power and authority over demons. At this time, however, their faith in Jesus Christ was lacking. Could it have been that they were trusting in themselves? Could it have been they relied on past success to give them present or future success? Had they forgotten or taken for granted that apart from Jesus they had no spiritual power to do the will of God?

That is a lesson for all of us, and for the church. Jesus said (John 15:4-5), Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Lord Jesus, remind me again daily that I draw whatever power, authority, and success in life and ministry from You. I have nothing and am nothing without You. To Your glory I ask, Amen.”


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