August 9, 2014
Today’s gospel: Matthew 17:14-20
Jesus was exasperated. At what? “Because of your little faith.” (v.20a). His disciples had not been able to cure the boy with a demon (v.16). Jesus was so exasperated that he called them a “faithless and perverse generation” (v.17a). Lack of faith is connected with perversity!
Why? At the core of everything is our faith in Jesus. Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior, the King. If we, who have already met and know him, do not have sufficient faith in him, then that is perversity. It contradicts everything that we ought to know and believe about Jesus. We would in effect be out of our minds. We would be forsaking all that is good and true, and settling for very much less. We would be crazy.
What does Jesus say to us? “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (v.20b). With even just little faith, we can move mountains. Faith works wonders. Faith achieves what is humanly impossible.
Why is that? Because in faith we act in the name of Jesus and on behalf of Jesus. Jesus is the all-powerful God, who has brought salvation to humankind, and who desires that everyone experience the fullness of life in him. But Jesus acts in and through us. So we need to have faith in him. We need to know that he will act in us as his instruments, accomplishing his will for the world.
How do we manifest lack of faith?
When we do not proceed on what the Lord is asking us to do because of lack of resources.
When we give up on our work due to obstacles and setbacks.
When we give in to depression due to hardships and crosses.
When we surrender the battle to the enemy because we face a formidable foe.
When we fail to endure and persevere in the tasks at hand.
When we give up on people who are difficult to deal with.
When we doubt that Jesus has already won the victory and we share in that victory.
Jesus says, “how long will I be with you?” (v.17b). To the disciples then, Jesus was saying that he only had a limited time in his public ministry. So they needed to shape up. He could not handhold them forever. He could not constantly cover up for their failures. In turn, Jesus says to us, “How long will I endure you?” (v.17c). Jesus is about a mighty work in the world today. He gives us the privilege to be his instruments. He empowers us with his Spirit. But if we will not take everything Jesus has already given us, with fullness of faith, then Jesus will have to move on. The task at hand, including bringing in the harvest, cannot wait forever.
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God bless you.
“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Phil 1:21)
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