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Matthew 17:14-20 says, “When Jesus, Peter, James and John his brother came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.
” And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “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.”
This important event gives us a visual of what Spiritual Warfare can look like.
First, this man describes his son as “lunatic” which translates from the Greek word, “seléniazomai”, to be moonstruck; lunatic, to be epileptic (epilepsy being supposed to return and increase with the increase of the moon). We find out a few verses later, when Jesus heals him, that his symptoms are because this boy has been possessed by a demon.
The disciples had tried to heal the son, but, were unable to drive the demon out of the boy because of ‘the littleness of their faith’.
It is obvious that Jesus is displeased with his disciples, to say the least. He chastises them, saying, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?”
Note that the word “unbelieving”, translates as, incredulous, without Christian faith; not to be trusted, perfidious; heathen), and the word (“perverted” translates as to distort, misinterpret, corrupt). A harsh indictment, indeed.
It is both interesting and frightening that although Jesus uses the word “generation”, it is apparent that His angst is directed primarily at His disciples. It is also interesting that Jesus, knowing His time is short on earth and that He will soon face a humiliating and excruciating death, says “how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?”, as if to say He would rather be gone than to have to deal with this incredible absence of faith and earthbound, twisted and corrupt understanding of God and His ways.
Jesus concludes His remarks with, “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.” The phrase “for truly I say to you” (‘say’, from the Greek word ‘lego’) is emphatic. Jesus was not calmly teaching His disciples as much as He was reproving them and admonishing them to embrace faith in Him, do the impossible and “move some mountains”.
This is not just a story for us to read, to muse over or get excited about. It was, and is, a message from Jesus to His disciples, both then and now.
His words were spoken prophetically and emphatically (and, in the aorist tense), which means that this is a command and an action which has no regard for the past, present or future, it is an ongoing action; i.e., it was true yesterday, it is true today, and it will always be true! This means that these words were not just for the disciples or for the people of that generation, His words were for all people of all time.
These Words are for you and for me: “Have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this or any mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”
This is how we – you and I – will engage the enemy, Satan and his demons and beasts – with faith the size of a mustard seed.
You and I will silence the ignorance of foolish men, we will pull down strongholds of darkness, we will destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. We will be ready to punish every disobedience.
We will put armies of the darkness to flight and will destroy the devil’s works of sickness, disease, fear, doubt, calamity, poverty, loneliness. This is how we cast out demons, vanquish evil from our land and cause the devil and his legions to flee.
He has given us – you and me, as His disciples – authority
- Over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and
- To heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness
- To Heal the sick,
- To raise the dead,
- To cleanse the lepers,
- To cast out demons.
“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Freely you received, freely give. (Matthew 10)
As important as the foregoing message is to us, let’s be mindful that it is not the “MAIN THING”. The primary message for us is,
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Jesus Christ was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
Everything else follows the primacy and the Name of Jesus.
Dear brothers and sisters and friends, let’s please enter into His service and be about doing what He has called, commanded and commissioned us to do.
Your Brother and Friend,