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Quantity vs. Quality: The Power Unleashed Through Mustard Seed Faith

Matthew  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:42
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Scripture Reading
How many of you enjoy eating at a buffet occasionally? Regularly?...
Exposition One
Matthew 17:14–18 ESV
14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.
(14) This seems to take place immediately after coming down from the mountain.
Crowds had been waiting with the other 9 disciples.
Probably further south in Galilee
(15) Addresses Jesus with the respectful term “Lord”
Asks for mercy for son
“has seizures” literally “moon-struck” or “affected by the moon” lunatick. Does not necessarily mean the boy was epileptic
In verse 18 we learn that the son is demon possessed.
The father was concerned because when the boy would have these demonic “fits” he would often hurt himself.
(16) When Jesus was on the mountain, the remaining disciples attempted to cast out the demon but were unable.
It is worth remembering that they had been given the authority to cast out demons and heal diseases but for some reason they were unable to do it here.
(17) Here, Jesus interjects a statement on the whole generation.
He pronounces the generation as “faithless and twisted”
It is easy to apply those same descriptors to our generation but lets look at what Jesus means rather than simply apply it blankly to our day.
Speaking about “this generation” is a theme that runs throughout Matthew.
Culminates in chapter 23
Matthew 23:34-36
Matthew 23:34–36 ESV
34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
Matthew is basically building up to the idea that “the generation” Jesus is speaking of has passed the point of no return. They are characterized by unbelief and perverseness and are ultimately unable to obey the Law, fulfill their promises and live righteously.
Jesus as a Moses Figure
Deut 32:5
Deuteronomy 32:5 ESV
5 They have dealt corruptly with him; they are no longer his children because they are blemished; they are a crooked and twisted generation.
Deut 32:20
Deuteronomy 32:20 ESV
20 And he said, ‘I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness.
Matthew, consistent with His theme, is pointing to Jesus as the Messiah that had been promised, yet in an unexpected manner.
This does not mean that there are none who have faith in that generation but rather, few
Generation seems to equal covenant
Points to the need for a new covenant.
Jesus asks a rhetorical question about how long will; He be with that generation which he will answer shortly.
(18) Jesus is able to perfectly heal without hesitation.

I. Jesus is the answer to a faithless and perverse generation (14-18)

Exposition Two
Matthew 17:19–20 ESV
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
(19) The disciples ask a plain and straight forward question.
“Why couldn’t we do it?”
This was a private conversation and genuine question.
They had previously been given the power/authority to cast out demons (Chapter 10)
(20)Jesus gives a plain and straight forward answer.
“Because your faith is too “little”
Little sounds like a quantitative word.
However, we know that it is qualitative because Jesus says that faith the size of a mustard seed is sufficient to move mountains.
Perhaps the problem was the object of their faith
They had faith in their own “authority” to cast out demons rather than God to do the work.

II. God works through His servants who act in faith (19-20)

Exposition Three
Matthew 17:21–23 ESV
22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.
**Note about vs. 21
(22) Jesus basically repeats His prediction of His death, burial and ressurection.
Added element of betrayal
(23)The disciples are distressed that someone would betray Jesus

III. Jesus will answer the faithlessness of the generation with His death (22-23)

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