The importance of faith: Matthew 16:1-4, 5-12 and 17:14-21
The importance of faith
A consideration of Matthew 16:1-4, 5-12 and 17:14-21
What kinds of things frustrate you?
Some of you might say: slow lines, bad drivers, lazy people, the kids not picking up after themselves, waiting, when other people
do dumb things, various things your spouse does, the computer messing up at the worst times, etc...
Did you know that Jesus got frustrated?
As I was reading Matthew 16-20 this week I noticed this. The most telling statement that I read comes from Matthew 17:17. In
this verse Jesus says; "O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?
Bring the boy here to me"
Initially, the fact that Jesus was frustrated made me feel uncomfortable, but then I remembered a few things: 1. Jesus is fully
God and fully man (he has every emotion that we have). 2. Frustration in itself is not sin
While frustration is not sin-- it often leads to sin on our parts--- it didn't with Jesus--- but it often does with us.
Our frustration tends to lead to angry outbursts, acts of aggression, giving up on people, quitting, bitterness, resentment, saying
stuff we shouldn't.
In the next few minutes I want to take you to three passages that depict Jesus at a point of frustration-- but we are
not going to stop there, for after that I want to direct your attention to what pleased Christ and brought joy to his
heart-- that would be FAITH!
Passage #1 The Pharisees and Sadducees demand a sign- Matthew 16:1-4 READ
-You might be familiar with the saying. Jesus didn't make it up, it was quoted even in his day
-This is the second time in Matthew that we read of the Pharisees asking Jesus for a miraculous sign to prove his claims
-This is the second time that Jesus responds with "The only sign you are going to get is the sign of Jonah"--- which is very
significant because Jesus is prophetically speaking of how he was going to die and rise again--- His greatest miracle (see
Note this: Jesus is clearly frustrated with the Pharisees-- seen in his rebuke and his getting up and walking away from them v.4
What is it that frustrates Jesus the most: Their lack of faith. Their unbelief.
Passage #2 Jesus warns his disciples about the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees Matthew 16:5-12 READ
-Jesus uses a figure of speech to speak of the Pharisees teaching "leaven"
-Disciples misunderstand and think in literal terms
Note who Jesus is frustrated with: His disciples
Evidence of Jesus' frustration: "How is that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? v.11. Note also v.9 "Do you
not yet perceive?" "Don't you remember..."
Their slowness to understand frustrated Jesus
What is that frustrates Jesus the most? Their lack of faith. "O you of little faith" v,7
Bread was not an issue for Jesus. He could make bread any day of the week and any moment he wanted. The core issue as he
saw it was their faith and the smallness of it.
Further evidence of the smallness of their faith is found in v.22
In this verse Jesus prophesies his coming death and resurrection. The result was was "and the disciples were filled with grief".
I thought to myself "Why were they filled with grief?" It's because their faith was as Jesus said it was "small"
Here was Jesus prophesying his death and resurrection and instead of excitement at his coming triumph over the grave, they
were sorrowful at the thought of his death.
One more point:
As Jesus warned his disciples to be on guard against the teaching of the Pharisees, we need to be on guard against false and
Passage #3 Jesus heals a boy with a demon READ Matthew 17:14-21
Context: Just revealed his heavenly glory to Peter James and John. Comes down to find a commotion
Evidence of Jesus' frustration: v.17 "How long must I put up with you?" , also see v. 20
What was it that frustrated Jesus the most? The unbelief of the crowd. The smallness of the faith of his disciples.
While unbelief and lack of faith frustrated Jesus FAITH pleases Him, impresses Him, and brings joy to His heart
Hebrews 11:1 says "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see"
2 Corinthians 5:7 says; "For we walk by faith, not by sight"
Ponder these accounts where Jesus was clearly impressed and pleased by the faith of those who came to him
1. The faith of the centurion Matthew 8:5-13
2. The faith of the woman with the unstoppable bleeding (probably a fibroid). Luke 8:48
3. The faith of the Caananite woman. Matthew 15:23-28
The call of Christ is to put our faith in him and to keep on trusting Him
Romans 10:9 says; "If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved."
In John 14:1 Jesus says; "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me."
In John 12:44-46 it says; "Jesus shouted to the crowds, "If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent
me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all
who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark
To those who asked him what they should do to be saved, Jesus answered "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has
sent." John 6:29
To Martha- who was grieving the death of her brother Lazarus- Jesus said ""I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who
believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this,
Martha?" John 11:25-26
We are saved by faith alone
Ephesians 2:8-9 says; "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of
God- not by works, so that no one can boast."
We are to encourage each other in walking by faith
Hebrews 10:24-25 says; "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet
together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Sometimes our faith will be tested
James 1:2-3 says; "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,a whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know
that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
We need to do our part in growing our faith
2 Peter 1:3-11 says; "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called
us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them
you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason,
make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to
self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been
cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters,a make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if
you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior
A BIG TAKEAWAY FROM OUR PASSAGES: NOTHING IS TO HARD FOR JESUS- nothing is too hard for God (which Jesus is)
What are you believing Christ for?
-ensure that what you are trusting Christ for aligns with His revealed will
-deal with any sin impediments in your life (sin impedes our prayers)
-Wait upon Him
-Don't give up on Him if your request does not match up with His perfect will
Sometimes we get frustrated-- this often leads to sin on our parts
Jesus got frustrated--- but didn't sin
Lack of faith, stubborn unbelief frustrated Jesus
FAITH pleases Christ
We are to be a people of faith, hope, and trust
"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for."