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Summary: “Why could not we?” This question is a very wise one, for every man ought to try to know all he can about himself.

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THE TRAGEDY OF SPIRITUAL IMPOTENCE

Matthew 17:14-19

“Why could not we?” This question is a very wise one, for every man ought to try to know all he can about himself. If I am successful, why is it that I succeed? Let me know the secret that I may keep doing it. If I do not succeed, let me know the reason why, that I may at any rate try to remove any deterrent, if it is a hindrance of my own making.

"Why am I baffled and defeated?” A very good question for the disciples of long ago and a very good question for us to consider now.

I. The problem which confronted (15)

Here was a father with a real problem. The disciples were presented with his problem.

A. The help which was sought

A distressed father brings his demonic child to the disciples seeking deliverance for help. The boy’s condition was desperate. The boy was uncontrollable and constant care had to be exercised for him.

For there had been danger of the lad being burned or drowned. He had fallen into the fire as well as the water.

As a result the father came to the disciples seeking help. He felt the disciples of the Lord ought to be able to help his son.

B. The hope which was shattered

The disciples were unable to help him. The father became dismayed and disappointed when the disciples of the Lord failed to render the desired assistance.

Is it not a shame when the lost look to the saved for help and we are unable to help them. They often come to us looking for answers and we have no answer to give them.

It is sad to see the miserable so disappointed in the failure of the believer to help them in a time of need.

Powerless believers have NOTHING to OFFER to a HURTING WORLD.

How often is the Lord defamed through our weakness?

II. The presence which comforted

The Lord’s coming brought confidence to the perplexed disciples and some hope to the disappointment father.

The distressed father exhibited wisdom when he looked beyond men to the Master. Unfortunately, many today have become disappointed in professing Christians and never think about seeking aid directly from Christ.

See Mark 9:22 “If thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.” Since the disciples had failed, the desperate father was not even sure that Jesus could succeed. Because of the disciples failure, the father now had less faith in Jesus. That is still true today. The disciples’ failure resulted as an argument against their Lord.

Many today will go to hell, not because Christ cannot save them but simply because some Christian let them down.

The church and Christian many fail to solve problems, but happy and wise are they who never abandoned hope until they knee at the feet of Jesus. Our world would be a happier place if men emulated the example given here by this wise father.

It is always better to look hopefully to Jesus than to gaze critically at His followers.

When all others fail, Jesus is still able.

A. The confidence displayed by Christ (17)

“Bring him hither to me.” Notice the calm confidence of the Saviour in His power. The disciples might fail but not Him for He was God.

Bring him to me. When all others fail, we are welcome to come to Christ and may be confident in Him and in His power and goodness.

“If thou canst do any thing” - If He can, why we know He can.

“If thou canst believe” - If is on the wrong person. I CAN! Canst thou believe?

Jesus turns the tables on him by saying: If I can? What do you mean if I can? Surely, that is not the problem here. The problem is not whether I can heal your son--that is beyond dispute. The problem is this: can you believe that I am able to heal your boy?

B. The deliverance bestowed by Christ (18)

Mark puts the deliverance this way, “Thou dumb

and deaf spirit , I charge thee, come out of him and enter no more into him.” I whose word of command you dare not disobey; I , not the disciples order thee to come out of this boy at once.

There is just something about the great I AM.

III. The power which conquered (19-21)

Jesus did not so much reprove them as he did mourn over their failure. They did not have to fail, but they did.

A. The reasons for their failure

In the case of this child which the father brought first to the disciples, who could not cure him, and then to the Lord Jesus Christ, the healing turned on the faith in the ability of Christ to heal the boy. The ability to do was Christ’s essentially and eternally, but the doing of the thing turned on the ability of the faith. Great faith enables Christ to do great things.

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