Friday, April 1, 2011

Matthew 17:14-20


This is such a human story. We read about the disciples failing to do what Jesus had instructed them to do. I am sure each one of us can relate to that.

One minute they seem to get who Jesus is, the next they misunderstand him.

Do you remember earlier in Matthew 12 when the Pharisees demand that Jesus give a sign for his authority? There seems to be a connection here. The disciples may have thought that the power Jesus gave them is to impress others as a sign of God’s strength and power. Rather, faith even as small as a mustard seed is what is required. This is a faith that trusts that God works through even the seemingly weak and small things of this world. Jesus in chapter 12 rebukes the Pharisees for always looking for a sign of God’ strength and power on their own terms. Here God reminds the disciples that humble faith is what is required.

Tom Wright reflects on this passage and gives this beautiful reflection on faith:

“Faith is like a small window through which you can see a vast landscape, and the landscape in question is the sovereign power of the creator God and the overwhelming glory of Jesus himself. We stand at that window, doing our best to wipe it clean from the condensation of our own unbelieving breath, and holding on, as we do so, to those for whom we want to pray.”

(Excerpt from Tom Wright, Lent For Everyone: Matthew, Year A. London: SPCK, 2011, 67.)

So often we just wish that God would make himself so clear to us by giving us a sign and overwhelming us. But the mystery is that God chooses to work in the little things, the weak things, and the powerless things. May we have faith in this God, may we pray for others with faith that God will hear our prayers and we will see glimpses of his kingdom on earth as in heaven.

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