Summary: Part of series "Miracles in Matthew." Answers the the question, "why don’t we see miracles today?"
Every preacher has heard many varieties of this same question: “Why don’t we see miracles today like they saw in the Bible?”
It’s a good question, especially since Jesus promised in John 14:12 that we could do greater things than those which He had done.
Well, low and behold, the disciples we’re asking the same question even while Jesus was still with them. “Why Couldn’t we do it?”
So this morning we’re going to look at that question and the answer in hopes of understanding not only why we don’t but how we can experience the miraculous.
The first key is found in the question itself which points to…
19Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn’t we drive it out?"
The question itself points us to the first problem that the disciples had. Their focus was on themselves—what should we have done different. It’s almost as if they’re asking what ingredient in the magic spell was missing.
They’d been watching Jesus work miracles for some time now. They’d learned the tricks of the trade, I imagine. I don’t know what all they did in attempt to cast out the demon and heal the boy, but in a couple of the most recent healing episodes recorded in the gospels Jesus spit on the eyes of a blind man and on the ears and tongue of a deaf mute.
I think we often fall into the same trap of misplaced priorities, of self centered miracle seeking, of believing that there ought to be something we can do to engineer a miracle.
Go into a Christian Bookstore and browse the titles. You’ll be amazed at the number that imply a “How to method” for Church Growth or personal fulfillment or healing or spiritual growth.
We Pentecostals know how to do church—how to plan a service for maximum emotional impact—dare I say how to work the anointing—I heard a preacher say that he was counseled to “conserve his anointing” meaning he should wait a little longer before shouting.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a service that engages the emotions—God created us as emotion-driven beings and he desires to engage us on an emotional as well as an intellectual level.
The mistake is believing that a formula is the key—or on a more basic level to believe that it’s all about me. The Bible itself plainly gives us instruction “HOW TO” live our lives, but we must never forget the correct ordering of our priorities—That it’s all about Jesus!
A young preacher just starting out his ministry in the mid 1950’s was called to the home of one of the families in his church in a small town in Iowa. There he was called upon to pray for an infant with a growth on his neck. The tumor had grown so large that it had begun to push the baby’s head to one side and they had asked the pastor to come because they were taking the baby to the doctor the next day to see what had to be done. As he reached out to lay his hand upon the growth the preacher realized these people were looking to him as the man of God—they weren’t looking for a simple blessing that all would go well at the doctor’s they were looking for a miracle. Suddenly the young preacher felt the crushing weight of his own inadequacy and as he placed his hand on the baby’s neck he began to weep and he couldn’t say a single word but “Jesus.” As the tears fell he felt the growth under his hand begin to diminish in size and finally disappear altogether. And in that little house that preacher that I call “Dad” learned that it wasn’t about him, it’s all about Jesus.
When the disciples come to Jesus to ask why their methods failed he makes it clear it’s not about them because He pinpoints the problem as their…
20He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ’Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Faith is what we have when we realize it’s not about us, but all about him. Faith is recognizing our inability to do anything and our total reliance upon Him.
I want you to take note of the fact that Jesus doesn’t emphasize how much faith you need to have—he doesn’t say faith the size of a mountain—He emphasizes how little faith God can work with—again emphasizing that it’s not about us but about trusting him. Because you see even a little bit of faith is recognizing it’s out of my hands—but faith goes beyond helplessness to reaching out to the one who can help.