Matthew 17

During the time the Lord and His three favored disciples were on the Mount of glory, the rest of the group were having their problems in the valley.  They had miserably failed in a healing mission.  The distraught father was waiting for the Savior.  Kneeling before Him, he asked the Savior to have mercy on his son.  He suffered terribly from some form of epilepsy, which caused him to fall into the fire and into water.  The father had taken his son to the disciples fro help, but they had been powerless to cure.  The Lord cured the man's son.

 

The reason for their failure was their faithlessness. Verse 17. “According to your faith be it unto you” Their powerlessness came from their unbelief. Verse 20. Capernaum

 

Their total lack of faith was a spiritual disaster.

 

The Lord said to them, “if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could command a mountain to be cast into the sea, and it would happen. Nothing is impossible to true faith.” The smallest amount of faith in a great God can over come the mightiest difficulties. Paul said, “I believe God” Acts 28.

 

The Lord said that this form of Satanic power will only yield to the twin forces of prayer and fasting. Crucifying of the self-life.

 

The words of Jesus would imply that the exercise of these two forces in faith would insure spiritual victory at any time.

 

Prayer---that is the hand upon God.

Fasting---that is the hand on self.

Prayer brings God in---Fasting puts self out.

Prayer lays hold on divine resources---Fasting cancels human resources.

 

I take it that the Lord was not speaking of denying oneself of certain foods, but rather referring to the denial of selfish desires and lusts in every form. Divine power banishes all need for human strength.

 

Consider at this time the Lord’s stinging censure of their faithlessness and the accompanying powerlessness.

 

Exercised believing faith is mentioned five times in Matthew as related to miracles of a Centurian-Syrophenician woman. Four times the Lord rebukes those who were fearful and displayed little or no faith. Into which of the categories to you come.

 

In verses 22 and 23, Jesus, without warning, reminded His disciples that He would be put to death. This is the second time He forewarned His disciples of Him impending death.

 

Notice in both instances He reminded them that He would rise again. They were exceedingly sorry when they heard this prediction and evidently missed the resurrection promise.

 

Verse 24-27 The miracle of the tribute money from the fish.

 

When the Lord and His disciples arrived in Capernaum, the tax collectors asked Peter if his Teacher paid Temple Tax. (explain) Peter answered in the affirmative.

 

When Peter came home, Jesus spoke to him first. Quote Verse 25.

 

In those days a ruler taxed his subjects and strangers for the support of his kingdom and family. Today our method of taxation is different. So Peter answered correctly when he said, “strangers” Verse 26.

 

Jesus then pointed out that the sons are free. Verse 26. The point Jesus was making, was, that the Temple was God’s house. Jesus was the Son of God, so for Him to pay tribute for the support of the Temple, would be the equivalent of paying tribute to Himself.

 

Verse 27 The Lord agreed to pay the tax rather than cause needless offense.

 

Notice now the miracle and the display of the omniscience of the Lord. Quote the verse here. The Lord knew which one of all the fish in the Sea of Galilee had a shekel in its mouth. He knew the exact location of that fish. He also knew that it would be the first fish that Peter would catch.

 

The first fish Peter caught had a shekel in its mouth, sufficient to pay the tax for Jesus and Peter.

 

He knows when a worthless sparrow falls to the ground. He is so precise that He knows the number of our hairs.

 

Be not anxious for your life - what you shall eat or wear. He knows when you have need of these things. So, “Fear not little flock.”