Sunday Preview: The Greatness of God

Sunday’s lesson comes right after the Transfiguration. Jesus had just taken Peter, James, and John up to a high mountain, where He was transformed before them, displaying the glory of God. Have you ever considered the significance of this moment? And what do Jesus and the disciples encounter just as they return? The mountaintop experience is followed by an everyday failure to trust. The ups and downs we experience in life are often the product of failing to trust God. On Sunday we’re going to look at two parts of this story — and then make the application at the end — which I think will fit well into some of the things we want to accomplish this summer as we enter into this new focus in our vision plan.

As Jesus, Peter, James, and John descend from the mountain, they encounter a desperate situation. A man from the crowd calls out to Jesus, describing his son's severe and extreme case of demon possession. This is one of the most severe instances of demonic activity recorded in Scripture. The relentless and prolonged suffering paints a vivid picture of the torment inflicted by the demonic presence. The father’s plea is heart-wrenching: this is his only child.

The father reveals that he had already approached Jesus' disciples for help, but they couldn't heal his son. This is striking because the disciples had previously been given the power to cast out demons and heal diseases.

So, what went wrong this time? In Matthew 17:19, the disciples themselves ask, "Why couldn’t we drive it out?" Jesus' response is both direct and revealing: "Because of your little faith" (Matthew 17:20). He then chastises them, calling them an "unbelieving and perverse generation" and expressing His frustration with their twisted view of God and lack of faith. The disciples had the tools and authority but lacked the crucial element of faith. They needed to learn that if God said it, they should believe it.

Understanding faith properly is crucial. Faith is believing what God said because He said it. Theologically, faith is defined as a conviction practically operative on the character and will. This means a conviction that trusts and acts upon what has been said.

This principle lies at the heart of the Christian life. In Matthew 17:20, Jesus says, "For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." This reinforces the idea that if God said He will do it, He will do it—if you believe.

James 1:6b-7 further emphasizes this point: "For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord." Doubt undermines faith and obstructs the fulfillment of God's promises.

In Luke 9:43, after Jesus heals the boy, it is written, "And they were all astonished at the greatness of God." This astonishment underscores the power and reliability of faith in God's word.

Let's remember this lesson as we move forward with our summer plans and new vision focus. Jesus is still in the business of delivering tortured souls today. Let’s not be part of a faithless and perverted generation. Instead, let’s cultivate a faith that believes in God’s promises, acts on them, and witnesses His greatness.
As you prepare for worship on Sunday, please give consideration to these questions:
  1. How does the event of the Transfiguration impact your understanding of Jesus' divine nature and His relationship with His disciples? 
  2. The disciples had previously successfully cast out demons, yet they failed in this instance due to a lack of faith. Can you recall a time in your life when your faith was strong and a time when it wavered? What made the difference?
  3. Faith is "believing what God said because He said it." How do you personally define faith, and how does this definition shape your daily actions and decisions?
  4. Considering Jesus' statement that even faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, how can we apply this principle in our own lives? What are some practical steps we can take to strengthen our faith?
  5. How can we avoid falling into the same pitfalls of faithlessness and perversion? What specific changes can we make to cultivate a deeper, more resilient faith?

Those Serving

Matthew Allen
Jason Schofield
Kody Pritt
Boyd Hastings
Bob Hoopes
Nathan Armstrong
Gary Stewart
Collin Schofield

Jim Rutter
Luke 9:37-43
Matthew Allen
Randy Mullins
Mark Ringle
Pam Grushon / Diann Coffman
Marvin Lewis / Roger Robins
Chris Terrian
Josie Armstrong
Josh Childers

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