Week 5: The New Testament and Children
Day 5 – Taking a Chance – Matthew 15:38; 17:14-21
Jesus did not neglect children in His earthly ministry. In fact, He took note of them and cared for them where others failed or did not have the ability to meet the need. In some instances we just get a glimpse of his care for them, other passages are completely dedicated to His interaction with them.
Matthew 15:38 tells us very simply that children were among the multitudes that He miraculously fed, “And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.”
Matthew 17:14-21 is one of the longer passages. Here, much like the Gentile woman, we see the overwhelming love of a father for his child as a man comes to Jesus, pleading for his son to be healed.
“And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.” Can you imagine the grief of that man when the disciples could do nothing for his son? It makes me wonder what drove him to his knees. Was it that grief, or was it an understanding of the worship due the Savior? Whatever the case, it is something needed more often in our day, in our personal lives – in my own life.
Jesus responded by pointing out the major problem that was prevalent not just in this man or in Jesus’ disciples, but in their generation. “Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.”
Faithless and perverse. I’m not sure two more apt descriptions could be applied to our world today. Faith is constantly being made more and more ambiguous and what is right and good is constantly being twisted and turned to allow for the satisfaction of lusts. Jesus, in verses 20-21, went on to tell His disciples that their lack of faith was the reason they could do nothing for the boy, but first He turned His attentions to the boy himself.
“And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.” (Matthew 17:19) Jesus took the time to meet the needs of that little boy. He could have just said, “I’ve had enough of you people”, and left the man to deal with the issue alone; but He didn’t.
In caring for the needs of the fatherless, many moments arise when that temptation to just turn around in frustration and walk away is there. I’m not even going to try to elaborate on the number and types of absolutely infuriating moments that bring such temptations about. Christ has set the example and we must follow. Look beyond the failings and into the need. Do what He has enabled you to do. We are responsible to carry light into darkness, turning our backs only deepens the darkness. Don’t let the challenge stop you. Living in fear and avoidance of challenges ultimately weakens both our faith and our understanding of Who God truly is. Take a chance – trust Him.
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Also Check out Rachel Miller’s Book: The King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption