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Jun 9 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Forty-seven – Matthew 17:14-23

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.”
Matthew 17:17

There is nothing easy about this statement. A man approached Jesus, fell to his knees before him, and begged the Lord to have mercy on him and his son, who was demon-possessed. He had taken his son first to the disciples of Jesus and they could not help him, so now he goes to Jesus.

Jesus’ response immediately takes us by surprise. Is he exasperated? angry? To whom is he speaking? The disciples that were unable to help the man because of “the littleness” of their faith? The man? The whole crowd? I also wonder if Jesus meant that he had to put up with them or with their nonsense that got in the way of their progress.

I know people who want to believe Jesus was never got upset with his followers or with people in general, but I cannot go along with them. Jesus cared too much to not get upset. He loved too deeply, felt compassion too strongly, and desired too greatly that they would know God and discover the joy of walking with him.

“Bring him here to Me.” Pure grace. Jesus did not deny the father his request, turn away the crowd, or walk away from his disciples. “Bring the problem to me.” He would resolve it for them. But by expressing his feelings and reminding them that he would not always be there, he drew their attention to what he wanted from them more strongly than if he had merely healed the boy from the outset. Jesus wants us to “get it.”

O Lord, we have learned to bring every problem, challenge, and frustration to You, whether great or small. What else can we do? We are slow learners. We pray that You will never leave us, but always put up with us. So, Lord, one more time . . . What is it we are learning right now?

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