Matthew: Day 17

Jesus’ Glory and Power

by

Today's Text: Matthew 17:1-27, Matthew 18:1-35, 1 Kings 8:10-13, Jeremiah 23:1-4

Scripture Reading: Matthew 17:1-27, Matthew 18:1-35, 1 Kings 8:10-13, Jeremiah 23:1-4

“Lord,” he said, “have mercy.”

This was the plea of a father made on behalf of his demon-possessed son. It is a request we have all cried out at one time or another, in different languages and circumstances. In big and small ways, we are constantly asking for mercy from the Lord and from each other.

Give us more time!
Help us find her!
Don’t lay me down for a nap!
(And as the years pass…) Please, just let me rest!

When Jesus healed the demon-possessed boy, His disciples gathered around to understand why they’d been unable to work the miracle themselves.

“Because of your little faith,” he told them. “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed… nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

The disciples were unable to give this man and his son the mercy they needed because their own faith was so small. While the disciples couldn’t heal the boy or cast out the demon, Jesus could. In fact, earlier in this chapter, the mere radiance of His glory sent them falling to the ground in terror (v. 5). Indeed, Jesus is set apart by His glory.

Although there are certainly other times in Scripture when the disciples were able to perform miracles, this case is especially interesting because the man specifically asked for mercy, and the disciples were unable to give it. Later, in chapter 18, Jesus shared the parable of a servant who owes his master a huge sum—a sum so huge that he would need several lifetimes to pay it back. But then that servant turns around and finds somebody who owes him a couple of nickels, and starts choking him to give back his money (vv. 23-28).

Although we don’t literally put our hands around the throats of those who owe us something, we do choke others with our lack of mercy and forgiveness. There is a great chasm of difference between God’s mercy and ours, between God’s faithfulness and our faithlessness, between God’s glory and our need. Jesus’ parable forces me to look at the truth: Even when I actually want to be merciful and forgiving, in my own strength, my best efforts prove my ability to forgive is forever lacking.

The vastness of God’s never-ending mercy shows us our need for forgiveness is enormous. Grasping that need is the first step to understanding the gospel.

It’s difficult to remember mercy when someone hurts us. Some of us have been hurt so badly it feels like everything is ruined, that nothing can restore what’s been taken from us. The very thought of the offense can fill us with fear and loathing. But we do well to remember this: In order to forgive us, Christ had to die for us. He took the curse that we brought to Him and gave up everything, so He could give us mercy (Galatians 3:13). This is staggering.

True forgiveness costs everything. But God loves us so much, He freely gave everything. While this passage does remind us that we are like the unforgiving slave, the bigger truth here is that God is our compassionate Master, and He piles love and forgiveness on us all.

The gospel is true! God’s great love and mercy for us are greater than all our sins.

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  • Katie Schmoker

    So grateful for God’s mercy. He is so good and awesome! God is opening my eyes and my heart to Him, and I am so so thankful for His love every day.

  • Lindsey Bailey

    ‘The disciples were unable to heal this boy because their faith was so small.’ I try in my own strength each day to be and do so many things. Just being kind to the people I love can seem like an unsurmountable task some days. On top of that, I am finally discovering some of the giftings God has placed in my life. I want to use those for God’s glory, but I often feel like my efforts and good intentions are fruitless. It is comforting to know that when everything is stripped away, faith should be the very foundation from which the love, mercy and act of service grew. At the end of the day, doing God’s work is rooted in faith. If the work doesn’t come from a strong foundation of faith, it is fruitless. Lord, increase my faith.

  • It is true that my ability to forgive is forever lacking. God is helping me to give up my resentments. His mercy is great towards me and I owe him everything.

  • Amy Craighead

    “In order to forgive us, Christ had to die for us.” This line really hit me today. In a Bible study at church, we’ve been looking at the idea of dying to self in order to fully live the will of God. Dying to self in the act of forgiveness, rather than living in fear and loathing – so that we can extend the forgiveness of Christ and mercy to others in life. I hope that makes sense! It’s a good thing, and requires us to lean on God’s strength and power, giving Him the glory.

  • Did anyone else catch the glimpse of Jesus’ cunning playfulness? Throughout scripture we see Jesus rebuke the Pharisees and other religious leaders and lawmakers over and over again, often turning the tables on them (no pun intended) when they sought to trap him with their questions. This time they try to catch him breaking the law by not paying the tax and what does he do? He not only explains why he doesn’t have to pay the tax, but to show that he fulfills and updholds the law (not out of a fear of man, mind you) he pays it anyway…with a coin that stinks of fish! (You guys want me to pay your tax, of course I’ll pay it…here ya go!) He could have just pulled one out of his pocket or the thin air for that matter. But no, Jesus is more cunning than that.

  • Amy VanderHoff

    So many awesome truths in this devotional today. One of my favorites…“Even when I want to act with mercy and forgiveness in my own strength,my best efforts prove my ability to forgive is forever lacking. The vastness of God’s never-ending mercy shows us our need for forgiveness is enormous.”

  • Lori Hamilton

    Prayers

  • “While this passage does reminds us that we are like the unforgiving slave …..” reading the comments today and seeing the incredible hurt and difficulties a great many are enduring, I wonder if some of you dear ones are actually the compassionate master who has been forgiving much in a particular relationship. You have turned the other cheek, extended grace and mercy time after time – and still the other individual shows none to others, including, and especially, you. Like the master in the parable, it has cost you much to forgive. Unlike this master, you do not have the authority to throw your offender in prison to obtain repayment of what is owed, or at least to “stop the bleed”. Continue doing what is right, and place your hope in God who sees you, who began a good work in you – and perhaps even your offender – and can be trusted to bring it to completion. He is your All – your Provider, Protector, Judge and Avenger. His love for you is Faithful.

  • Courtney Cates

    Usually I read this Bible study first thing in the morning, but my church is also doing a women’s Bible study this morning. God’s mercy is always there for us should we ask for it!

  • Candace H

    I am going through something similar. I just found out that my husband lost his job due to inappropriate communication with multiple people at work. Please pray for us. He is dealing with some mental health issues, and he swears he did not intend to do anything but could not control his impulses to talk to others. Again, pray for us. He has an appointment with a psychiatrist, and I will be going with him. We just want God’s guidance and assistance to repair our marriage and fix whatever mental instability he is dealing with and has been dealing with since he was a teenager.

    • Churchmouse

      Praying that the psychiatrist will be a help to you both and that firm boundaries will be set. Praying for honesty and repentance and strength as you walk through this very tough situation.

    • Verona Rupert

      I will be praying for both of you. I battle Bipolar 2 and it was taxing on my marriage in the beginning. Educating yourselves and even going to a counselor together is so beneficial.

  • Caralee Lilly

    I witnessed cruel emotional abuse from my father to my mother and even now I have a friend whose husband is doing the same thing. Oh how my heart breaks for you. Even greater our Father’s heart breaks for you. As I pray for my friend, I will pray for you. I love your name…Duchess…it echos who we are in Christ…royalty. Cling to your King.

  • “Have Mercy on Me” by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project, featuring David Gungor. Been loving this song in the last few months, and today’s reading brought it to mind.

  • Duchess Edmonds

    This reading came up the very morning after I discovered my husband of 4 years has been emotionally cheating on me with another woman. Please pray for me. This hurts so bad I can even find the words to say.

    • Jeanna S

      Duchess, I have been in your shoes and it hurts, it just plain hurts. I will be praying for you, my sister. Please, please reach out to confidential counsel, you will need it as the days move forward. Your responsibility will be to forgive, I know you know that. But please find a Godly support to wade through these times. In my prayers….

    • Rhonda

      I had that happen to me in my new marriage, and it is what brought me to me knees literally for the first time in my life. (That was over 15 years ago.) I prayed, wrote in my journal daily (first time to journal) my hurts and prayers, and started listening to Christian music. It was so hard, I had a 1 1/2 year old son together, and had moved to a his city to marry him just 2 years before. I was at a loss. But like others tell you, you look back as you go through the ‘valleys” and realize how important that it was to shape you and mold your walk with God. I look back now and everything I had prayed for and wanted has come to fruition, just not in the way “I” thought it should! It’s amazing. So stay strong, pray about it and direction.

    • Churchmouse

      Praying for you Duchess. I’m hoping you have trustworthy Christian women in your life to support you in prayer – even just one woman who will love on you and listen to your heart. Keep breathing. God sees you and He cares. He will hold you. I’m praying for your husband – that he will repent and get counseling so that your marriage can be restored. And I pray for the other woman – that she would walk away from this sin and refuse to go down this path of destruction any longer. I’m praying you and your husband seek Christian counseling and do whatever it takes to reunite and fulfill your vows to one another.

    • Kristen Hembree

      Duchess, I have been in your place as well. Two years ago my husband a “moral failing” we will call it. It is not easy. You basically go through the five stages of grief. Find yourself a strong Godly group of women to surround yourself with. Find a counselor. But most importantly find time to grieve and feel the pain that he caused. My husband and I made it to the other side, which is an absolute miracle from Above. We still feel the pain of his actions, but God gave me strength to forgive him and that is a choice I have to make daily it feels like. Oh and one more thing: IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Don’t let him, or anyone else (including yourself!) say any different. You aren’t to blame for his acting out. Much love friend. I will be praying for you.

  • I’m not sure I understand the 1 Kings 8:10-13 connection? And it seemed like some of the verses from yesterday went with today’s Matthew reading? What am I missing? Thank you.

    • Dee Dee

      The 1 Kings verses are another reference to the overwhelming nature of God’s glory, like the “bright cloud” God appears in here.

    • Cassy

      I wondered what I was missing too.

  • God I call upon your mercy multiple times a day and yet am so quick to judge and to anger when feeling wronged. Forgive me Father. Help me to live in your mercy and to see others with that same mercy. I pray that my faith will grow even to the size of a tiny mustard seed so that I may move mountains in your name!

  • I had to stop on the verses about becoming like a child. I have a 3 year old grandson. (Being a Mimi is the best job ever!) I thought about Carter and what Jesus meant when He said to become like Carter. Children aren’t seen as great. They are completely dependent on others. They have no influence, no authority, no power. John Piper says, “He just loves his Daddy, he knows he is dependent on him and delights in him. He doesn’t even think about himself compared to others. He just thinks about how wonderful his Daddy is.” I want to be like that in my relationship with Papa God – completely dependent, not thinking about myself, just delighting in Him, dwelling on just how wonderful He is!

  • “Although we don’t literally put our hands around the throats of those who owe us something, we do choke others with our lack of mercy and forgiveness.”

    Wow, I absolutely needed to hear this, this morning. My bible study this week had been talking about forgiveness and how hard it is to forgive people who are difficult and who you know aren’t willing to change. And how can we as Christians still love and not harbor a grudge against them. But this visual of choking is so eye opening. Because I know I walk around certain people and just feel that loathing- and sometimes that unwillingness to forgive. Because for me sometimes it’s easier to just write it off as broken, and not worth repairing the relationship. Thank you for this devotional today SRT! I’ve shared that paragraph in my bible study group chat, and women have already mentioned how this was also what they needed this AM.

  • “Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.””
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:32-35‬ ‭NLT‬‬
    We need to take these words to heart!! In light of Jesus dying for our sins and the forgiveness we have in Him, should we not be forgiving of others?? All the blogs and social media posts calling people out for their sins and the slander, oh the slander on social media, is unforgiveness and neauseating. If someone has sinned, who am I to measure what sin is greater than my sin? And who am I to decide what price another person should pay for their sin and not deserve forgiveness?
    It saddens me to the core and I can only believe that Jesus is heart broken for the sinner and offers them the same forgiveness He has given me.

  • Friday, as rains poured down, I noticed a small brown crack appearing on the ceiling of our foyer. Curious I wandered upstairs to the area above the spot and found water running down the wall in my son’s room behind his dresser. I realized that this must have not only been occurring during the long night of heavy rain but also prior to because when I pulled the dresser from the wall, I could see a slightly damaged baseboard and wood floor. Mortified I called my husband and not long after we had a roofer showing up to review it. He couldn’t tell me anything I hadn’t already figured out, as I watched the small brown crack grow and engulf the entire ceiling, and was quick to say that because of the impending winter storm, he wouldn’t be able to get to the roof to look into it further, his words, “I’m not sure when I’ll be back” … that wasn’t terribly comforting because naturally, I had already envisioned the roof and ceiling caving in but knowing there was nothing I could do, I just nodded and put away the worry … this as the drip drip of a constant water began to hit our stairs. The material things in this world aren’t very forgiving. Their breaks and problems only expanding as the days pass until they’re addressed. I know the roofer will come back and that he will be able to make the needed repairs, the clean up crew will come in and make “new” the damage and in the meantime, I’ll pray that it doesn’t worsen with the weight of soon to be melting snow on our roof. BUT all of this has made me think to my heart. It has breaks and damage I don’t even know about it, stuff I’ve not even begun to touch on and God knows this. He sees the cracks and He is ready and waiting to forgive them. Ready and waiting to show mercy, to make the repairs, to fix what’s been broken. He doesn’t want the weight of mistake, sin or shame to burden us to the point of breaking but He also reminds me that no heart is beyond repair. Just as this 111 year-old house can be as good as new in the hands of an expert, our hearts, our heads, our lives can be made new too. God sees the weightiness of our stuff, the damage it causes, Jesus bore it all on the Cross. He’s exchanged it for us, we only need to stop hiding our pain and accept the mercy that is already ours. Prayerful today over our brokenness, and at the same time over our being made whole again. In Christ, we are Righteous, our damage is gone and our hearts are good as new, may we show the same mercies to folks in our lives!

  • Mallie Griffin

    Will pray for you my friend! I can tell you that I was in a similar situation and separated for 2 years before God worked a miracle in my marriage. I gave up, but God didn’t! I actually saw my 40 year old husband come to Christ and be baptized which I thought would NEVER happen. Hold steadfast in the faith and trust that God’s plan is only beginning for your marriage.

  • Barbara Menefee

    Heartbroken,

    I have been in your shoes where I thought nothing could save my marriage. My husband was also verbally abusive to me and my children. I was completely done with the marriage—but God. I remembered that God hates divorce. There is simply no biblical basis for it outside of infidelity or abandonment by a non-Christian. I’ve searched scripture for an “out”. It’s not there. So…I decided to be obedient. To forgive my husband and try to mend our brokenness. Thankfully, my husband is a believer too, so he really tried to change. It has taken years to heal our marriage. We’ve had ups and downs, and we still do! But I think, no, I know, that God will honor our obedience. I will pray for you and your husband. I hope he is a believer who wants to honor God. If so, you have hope, because—God. I’ll be praying for you!

  • Jesus was such a master at telling parables. The story about forgiving the great debt and then the servant refusing to forgive a small debt always makes me angry. How can the servant turn around after such an enormous gift of forgiveness and refuse to forgive a small debt? Yet, today Rebecca gave me an entirely different perspective on the parable.
    I never thought about how the king had a great loss by forgiving the debt. He had to pay a great price to forgive. I don’t know how much 10,000 Talents is, but I would imagine it is a lot. Jesus paid such an enormous price to forgive us yet we refuse to pay such a small price to forgive others. Yes, we need to forgive others, but today it hit me anew what an incredible gift Jesus gave me in giving His life to forgive my sin. I am in awe by the amount of love and grace He has given me.

    • Shelby

      10,000 talents is worth about 150,000 year’s wages. Here’s the calculation: 1 talent = 60 minas. 1 mina = 3 month’s wages. 1 talent = 60 x (3 months’ wages) = 180 months’ wages. 1 talent = 180 months’ wages / 12 months in a year = 15 years’ wages. 1 talent = 15 years’ wages. 10,000 talents = 150,000 years’ wages.

  • Kelly Chataine

    So, so much in every day’s scripture reading. I settled on Peter up on the mountain and witnessing the transfiguration. Peter was in the middle of talking and God interrupted. Friends, I have a problem with my mouth saying too much when I need to remain silent. My words aren’t mean, foul or hateful but they are smooth, pointed and arrive in a passive aggressive manner. Time for me to tame the tongue (I have been reading James, as well). Time for me to be silent and listen to all that our Lord is saying to me.

    • Nads

      Please pray for my tongue while you’re at it :)

      • Kelly Chataine

        Just prayed for both of us and our tongues, Nads. Read James 3, if possible. Let us continue to pray for each other as we move toward taming our tongues in obedience to God. <3

  • Kelly Chataine

    Praying for you sweet, Heartbroken. God loves you! God adores you!
    As believers, we are highly favored!

  • Alexis Maycock

    Heartbroken, I am praying for you as well. Continue to pray and intercede for your marriage-if it is the will of God He will change your husbands heart and bring healing. Fast and hold on tight to your faith. Seek out the help of your local church/community regarding the emotional and verbal abuse- speak up. Seek out a women in your church that you feel comfortable sharing with to pray along with you. Faith is now and now is Faith. Believe for your marriage restored. Praise and thank Him in advance for the restoration!

    • L. R.

      I feel like you wrote this for me. Thank you. My marriage is rocky right now. Last night as I lay in bed I asked God to help me and tell me what to do. I heard that I need to fast for my marriage. Then I wake up to this! God is so good to us. He answers our prayers and reminds us of what we need to do. ❤️

      • Kelly Chataine

        Praying for both of you, Heartbroken and L.R.
        God has performed miracles concerning my husband’s traumatic brain injury, when all the doctors said they had no hope! God is our hope!

  • Churchmouse

    I feel like I can barely catch my breath after reading today’s Scriptures. There is so much that Jesus is saying and doing and it seems as though it all is happening so quickly. It seems as though everything is speeding up as Jesus heads closer to the Cross. It seems He has a lot He wants the disciples to know because the time is growing short. Deep breath. As I reread the passage again I stop at two particular parts. The first : “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” The second : “You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you?” Therein is the crux of the matter. Who is this Jesus? Am I listening? Time is fleeting. I don’t have the luxury of waffling over the answers. Decisions must be made and actions must follow. Eternal destiny hangs in the balance. If I love my family, if I love my neighbors, I will not hold back on what I know. May they not be unbelieving and perverse because I was timid.

    • Tricia Cavanaugh

      Oh Churchmouse. Just what I needed. I’m a bit behind in this study, but this was the perfect day, the perfect time to do this passage and read your comments. Thank you. Have a blessed weekend.

  • Heartbroken

    I would greatly appreciate any prayers you ladies could send my way. I am currently separated from my husband of almost 5 years, and I’m seeking the Lord in how to move forward. I want the marriage to work because I am afraid of being on my own, and made a commitment to him that I want to see through, but the emotional and verbal abuse has got to stop. I finally put my foot down two weeks ago and told my husband I would not be talked to that way again, and that for the marriage to work I needed him to show me basic human respect, and he responded with “I can’t fight for you like that this time. I think we need to end this marriage.” He didn’t even want to do the separation as a last ditch effort to make things work, but I told him we would be accountable someday to God for every action we did take in our marriage, as well as every action we didn’t in trying to save our marriage, so he reluctantly agreed. Please just pray for me to have wisdom, to know how to change my own heart and ways and for God to work miraculously in him to change his heart towards me as well. Again, I want the marriage to work, but not at the cost of being called names among other things.

    • Dana

      I am praying for you now

    • Cindy Carnes

      Dear Heartbroken, No one ever deserves any kind of abuse, ever. I am praying for you and your marriage. I am praying for god to enter your husbands heart.

    • Marianne

      Prayers and hugs from Germany!

    • ERB

      Definitely praying and standing with you in this battle. Exodus 17:11-13 “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”

    • Churchmouse

      I’m so sorry to hear this, Heartbroken. Praying for you and your husband to remember why you married and what you loved about each other. Praying you both would commit to restoring what you once had. Praying that destructive attitudes and actions would be banished from your relationship and replaced with respect and compassion. May God be glorified through your desire to do everything you can to save your marriage. May your efforts give you peace knowing you are trying your best, even without regard to the outcome. It is never God’s will for you to tolerate abuse. Give your husband space and time to resolve his issues, to pursue understanding of why he does what he does. Reconciliation is possible after you see repentance and a change in behavior over a significant period of time. A Christian counselor can give you the tools and objectivity needed. You will get through this. God will not abandon you. You always have Him.

    • Farah

      Praying for you from Belgium

    • Melissa

      You and your husband will be in my prayers for a restored marriage. Rejoicemarriageministries.org was an answer to prayer during a time of separation in my own marriage. Sending hugs to you!!

    • Susan

      I am praying for you and your husband’s heart. For guidance and wisdom for both of you, strength and an overwhelming sense of peace for you. You do not deserve this and your husband knows and more importantly, God knows and sees you.

    • Denise

      I currently am going through the same thing. I am having issues believing him when he says he is trying to change because I know abusers will tell you what you want to hear. I know that I need a heart change but at the same time I do not want to be fooled again. I want to be cautious and put on the full armor of God. I know I have my own changes I need to make that contributed and made his paranoia worse but were done out of fear of his temper. I can feel and understand your heart. Get a counselor to help you not only deal with him but to give you the confidence to grow. Prayers for you!

    • Ellie Shepherd

      Heartbroken,

      God isn’t a God of chaos. He isn’t going to put you in a situation to harm you, because you’re his child and he loves you. It sounds to me like you’re taking the correct steps in seeking God’s guidance and direction in your life. Pray without ceasing. He hears your cries. Pray in a way that is thanking him for the work he is doing through this trial. He allows trials to sharpen us so that we can win wars, not just battles. We’re standing with you, sister. Stay strong and rest in his arms.

    • ~ B ~

      Heartbroken, I am so sorry you’re enduring this. I have been where you are, more times than I care to admit, and I remember the emotions that give momentarily, it is exhausting. Your prayer for wisdom and to change your heart are a great place to start. Keep your focus on Christ and He will reveal what your daily steps should be. Know that the stuff your husband wrestles is between He and Christ and that for any change to be real, it must come through Christ, the best thing you can do now is pray relentlessly for you and for your husband. I will be including you both in prayer, as well. Today, I hope that peace finds you, that you are comforted by our Father and that you know His desires for you!

    • JP

      Last fall, I found out my husband was having an affair. Both of us were heartbroken as we talked about his actions. But God, in all His goodness, has restored our marriage!! He enabled me to quickly forgive my husband. And we are stronger now than ever. I pray the same will happen for you.

    • Leah Nguyen

      Praying for you, may you draw ever more nearer to God than ever before, and may His Word ever be the light to guide your path during this season in your marriage.

    • Rachel Anne

      Praying for you and for your husband! May God work in you both and restore your marriage. I believe He will bless you for seeking to honor your commitment! I pray that your husband seeks to honor the commitment, too, and that the abuse will cease. May you have wisdom and peace as you move forward in your relationship!

    • Mari

      Dear Heartbroken sister, it pains me to read this as you and I are in the same boat. After 20 years I finally said enough! Please know that I am praying for YOU! ! The Lord and your sisters here SRT are with you! I really like the way Churchmouse commented

    • Jeanna S

      You are in my prayers, Heartbroken. Please seek Godly counsel, confidential counsel, to move you forward. Thank you for saying you want this marriage to work. I am grateful that is your heart. However, what that looks like, how that works out might require support. I’ve been there. Praying for you~

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