Summary: Jesus has given us all we need to meet people's needs and wants us to step out in faith and meet those needs.
A Frustrated Messiah
Text: Matt. 17:14-20
1. Illustration: Our dog Copper has issues! First of all, he is part Basset Hound and part Terrier. If you combine a Labrador and a Poodle they are called a "Labradoodle." That would make Copper a "Barrier," and the barrier is between his ears - he's not very bright. He is dependent on me to take care of him. When I get up in the morning he is waiting on me to feed him. He goes into this dance and runs around in circles because he knows it is time for him to eat. It would be cruel for me to know that he cannot eat unless I feed him and just ignore him. He is dependent upon me.
2. We encounter people everyday who have needs and Jesus has given us the responsibility to meet their needs. Jesus is frustrated when we don't meet those needs.
3. The truth is...
a. People Need Our Help
b. We Lack the Faith to Help Them
c. We Need to Step Out in Faith
4. Read Matt. 17:14-20
Proposition: Jesus has given us all we need to meet people's needs and wants us to step out in faith and meet those needs.
Transition: The spiritual reality of life is...
I. People Need Our Help (14-16).
A. I Brought Him to Your Disciples
1. This text is living proof that we cannot live on the mountain. We have to come down and minister to the people in the valley.
2. As Jesus and the disciples come off the mountain, "At the foot of the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for them. A man came and knelt before Jesus..."
a. Keep in mind that this happened the day after the Transfiguration.
b. Immediately after the Transfiguration Jesus was again confronted with sickness and the powerlessness of the disciples, who had yet to learn the source of His authority (Horton, 363).
c. After being on the mountain and having tasted once again his heavenly glory he is confronted with the reason he came.
d. He came to save, heal, forgive and restore.
3. As the man knelt before Jesus he said, “Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water."
a. The word being translated here means "to suffer epileptic seizures (associated in ancient times with the supernatural power of the moon) - 'to suffer epileptic seizures, to be an epileptic'" (Louw and Nidda, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Symantic Domains).
b. Some of the symptoms depicted here resemble those of epilepsy, which may imply that demons gaining control over the human central nervous system can sometimes cause epileptic-type phenomena.
c. This observation does not, however, mean that epilepsy is always caused by demons (Keener).
d. The worst part of this is that the demon tried to kill the boy by throwing him into fire or water. The demon was torturing the boy, and it held him captive (Horton, 363).
4. The man respects Jesus as an esteemed pious master by calling him "Lord," but he goes beyond that to anticipate that Jesus can extend mercy to heal his son.
a. He has apparently heard of Jesus’ reputation as a miracle worker and seeks help for his beleaguered son.
b. The boy’s lack of control over motor skills causes him to suffer greatly.
c. The father had such confidence in Jesus’ ability to heal that he assumes that his disciples have this ability as well.
d. But his confidence has been dashed: "I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him" (Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Matthew, 595).
5. The man tells Jesus, "So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”
a. In light of their previous commissioning, empowering, and experience, it seems strange that the disciples now failed where once they had succeeded.
b. About a year earlier, Jesus had sent the Twelve out to minister "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
c. And as you go," He said, "preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons" (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 16-23).
d. Hadn't He already given them power over unclean spirits (Matthew 10:1)?
e. It is clear from this verse that the power of God is not a permanent possession; it must be maintained by prayer and faith. We are encouraged by Paul not to neglect a gift.
f. 1 Timothy 4:14 (NLT)
Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you.
B. Every Spiritual Blessing
1. Illustration: What is it to serve God and to do His will? Nothing else than to show mercy to our neighbor. For it is our neighbor who needs our service; God in heaven needs it not (Martin Luther).