Summary: Jesus knew there would come a time when He would not be physically present any longer with His disciples / with the church. Perilous times would come when supernatural strength would be needed. “Then they will fast IN THOSE DAYS.” Church, we are living
Mayor Gerardo Balmori
The Salvation Army
Jesus knew there would come a time when He would not be physically present any longer
with His disciples / with the church. Perilous times would come when supernatural
strength would be needed. “Then they will fast IN THOSE DAYS.” Church, we are living in
such days today - the Bridegroom is absent and our needs for spiritual power are SO very
great. Jesus intends for us to seek after God with great prayer and fasting.
Today I want to talk to you about the subject of fasting. I believe that there is great power in
the principles of prayer with fasting. But so many people either 1.) Ignore fasting (“it’s not
for me”), or 2.) Misunderstand what fasting is all about, and what is required for true
In order to see something of the power of prayer and fasting, we need to turn to another
passage of Scripture: MATTHEW 17:1-21. [READ.]
Jesus returns from His transfiguration, having been aside in the mountains with Peter,
James and John. Upon His return down, they are met by the other disciples and the crowd
of people who were following Jesus to see the miracles He might perform. And the first
thing that we see is waiting for Jesus is:
1. AN UNMET NEED. READ v16.
There was a need that Jesus’ disciples could not meet - it was beyond their resources
(human or spiritual). Previous to this, Jesus had already given His disciples the authority to
heal the sick and cast out demons in His Name. And they went about preaching Jesus’
message of the Kingdom of God, and they healed and delivered just as Jesus said that they
BUT NOW they have struck a need that is obviously too great for them. This young man, so
violently afflicted with a devil that tormented him - and the disciples, no matter what they
attempted, had been unable to deal with it. There was an UNMET NEED.
Jesus came down from the mountain, where He and His closest associates had been in the
presence of God, to be faced with this unmet need. They come down from the presence of
God where anything and everything is perfect and the possibilities are unlimited - back to
the grim realities of life. (Ever been in a powerful church meeting where you experienced
such a touch of God that you felt you could turn the world upside-down, only to go out and
bump into someone down the street that you’ve been praying for and there’s no discernible
change in them - in fact they seem worse than ever?! You feel the wind leave your sails very
quickly. You are confronted by the dilemma - the failure - the tragedy.)
Jesus and His associates came down the mountain to face AN UNMET NEED.
BUT I praise God that Jesus is the MASTER OF THE UNMET NEED. If you have some
situation in your life today that you have no answer for - my friend, your hope is JESUS. He
is the Master of the unmet need! Nothing is too hard for Him. Hallelujah!
2. AN UNANSWERED QUESTION. READ v19.
They’d had answers to prayer before, you see. They’d ministered effectively at times - they’d
had SOME successes. So what was different this time? “Why could WE not cast out this
demon?” “Oh, Lord, we tried everything we knew how. We prayed just as we’ve heard you
pray for people. We got louder and louder, and sweatier and sweatier. What went wrong?
We were so frustrated! Where did we go wrong?”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been right where those disciples were so many times. “Why
Lord?” UNANSWERED QUESTIONS.
The disciples had an unanswered question: “Why could WE not cast him out?”
But to their question, Jesus gives:
3. AN UNEXPECTED REPLY. READ v20-21.
How many of you have the NIV Bible? You’ll notice that verse 21 is missing. The text jumps
straight from verse 20 to verse 22, right? (That’s just another reason why you should get
yourself the New King James Version.) The translators decided to translate from a Greek
manuscript that didn’t have that line in it. The majority of the old Greek manuscripts,
however, DO have it in. I believe that it is a serious omission. What’s more, if you look at
the same story recounted in Mark’s gospel chapter 9, verse 29 confirms what Jesus said:
“This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” This time the NIV does include
the verse, but drops the words “and fasting”.
I think the enemy will do anything to keep Christians from fasting!
Jesus says, “Lads, you only need a little bit of that faith of yours and you can move
mountains - let me encourage you. Don’t doubt the power of faith in God for a moment.