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Lesson # Matt. 17:16
Study Material - Matt. 17:16
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
16 And [kai] I brought [prosphero] him [autos] to thy [sou] disciples [mathetes] , and [kai] they could [dunamai] not [ou] cure [therapeuo] him [autos] . KJV-Interlinear
16 'And I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him. NAS
Throughout the history, faithlessness, weakness, and indifference of Christians, has caused many who sought help from them, to despair and to turn elsewhere when help was not forthcoming..
Christians often have the means to help, but they do not use their abilities to provide help. It is often easier to turn the other way and ignore the needs of those who really need our help. Christians have three responsibilities in life - to God, to self and to others. We have already studied this. Most people know of their responsibilities, but they conveniently ignore them. Once they conveniently ignore their responsibilities then their power (their spiritual power), which they presume that they have, really becomes powerless. Things just do not work as they assumed they would work.
Some time prior to this event, Jesus had given the apostles power and authority to heal and cast out demons and so forth, 'Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons,' Matt. 10:6+. They had been doing this for a time and it should have become common place for them. So what happened and even more important how does this relate to us?
Jesus had left them for a short time to go up the mountain. Jesus had left with three of the apostles. But was that the reason for their inability to heal the boy? No. They had been without Jesus before. His order to them was for them to 'go out' and to do these miracles. So they were not with Christ in the past and they were successful. What then? The answer is found in the remarks of Peter while on the mountain. Peter was clueless. He made some seemingly innocent remarks, and with good intentions, but they revealed the content of his soul. He had been with Christ for over a year now, even longer. He had heard Him teach repeatedly. And what had he learned? Little. His faith was little The faith of the twelve was 'little.' They had no excuse since they had been with the 'God of the universe' all of this time. Actually walking and talking with Him. Yet they learned little. They were sort of in a sphere of euphoria. They sort of presumed that they knew it all, and therefore they weren't required to be responsible much more than just knowing!
This is a very real danger to believers but to the world as well. Christians get into a rut. Their rut is one of convenience and very, very subtle indifference. 'I have mine, they can get theirs,' sort of attitude. Or, 'I can't afford helping others at the present, maybe tomorrow.' Tomorrow never comes of course.
Then they get into their own little ideas which become cute little slogans, like 'Peace not war.' This kind of attitude really means that, 'I don't want to risk anything I have to go fight for someone else. Let them do their own fighting.'
Has anyone ever had the attitude? 'Freedom not tyranny! All should have an opportunity to be free!' But then freedom comes with a price. So does Christianity. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our freedom. How much should we pay to maintain it and to help others?
The father came to the disciples for help. They were unable to give it. When Jesus finally comes back down the mountain, what were they doing? Arguing with the scribes. They had lost sight of their purpose and had been swallowed up and trapped in the arguments of the scribes.
What should have they been doing? Ignoring the scribes who were only promoting strife anyway, and they should have been doing their job - applying doctrine to the situation. The problem was clear. The dad had a son - not too difficult thus far. The son had a problem - probably obvious from how he acted. The son was possessed. The disciples knew it. It wasn't like they hadn't seen it before. Their attempts to cast out the demon failed because they approached the problem wrong. In what way wrong? They were out of fellowship, probably got angry, probably tried to say various things to intimidate the demon. To which the demon would just laugh. We can only imagine the situation. The bottom line was - they applied doctrine in error because they had little faith. We'll see that in verse 17, which is coming up next by the way.
So to our life. Do we go through the motions of Bible study and then assume that all is well? Do we comply with all our responsibilities, or do we sort of ignore some of them? Do we pick and choose what we will support and what we won't? Do we lull ourselves to sleep because we are having some success in life, absent of real problems (maybe just some little problems), and just drift away from our real responsibilities? Maybe we drift away from paying attention to our daily study. Like drifting just off shore because it is warm and peaceful, then we wake up and sit up and discover we have drifted far from shore - maybe we can't even see the shore - suddenly lost and not sure where the land is. Forewarned. Selectivity, indifference, and many subtle things can guide you off course in your spiritual life. Not only do you get side tracked, but your decisions will inevitably affect others.
In our present day, Iraq is a good example of this lesson. The issues should be clear. Saddam is evil. He has attacked others. He has brutalized even his own people. He has demonstrated his willingness to attack (unprovoked) his neighbors. He builds up his military when his country has greater needs. He supports and promotes terrorists, even rewarding the families of suicide murderers. He lies constantly. He is building up a very dangerous arsenal of weapons. He is a very real threat to others. He has been warned and even ordered to disarm. He ignores the warnings, and is probably been enjoying the quarreling among the worlds nations. See any parallels to this lesson yet?
The disciples had the facts and the power, but they allowed petty arguments to neutralize their effectiveness. The world will do this. The world cares nothing of the burdens on the people who are suffering, the world cares only about its own public image.
The scribes, the Pharisees, cared nothing for the needs of the suffering masses. They cared only for their traditions - 'the disciples don't wash their hands properly!' Their traditions were distorted. The world gets the facts all jumbled and therefore priorities get turned upside down. The suffering continue to suffer, and the problems only become worse, ie. Hitler in the 1930's.
When people get away from their spiritual lives, when people become selective or conveniently ignore some of their responsibilities, then that attitude begins to seep into their daily lives. They become indifferent and selective in life. People suffer as a result, and those who would argue against truth, multiply. The result will inevitably be disaster.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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