Bible insights from your friends at La Jolla Lutheran Church

If you're stuck, fast and pray

A man brought his son to Jesus' disciples to be healed. The son appeared to have epilepsy. He would sometimes fall near fires, where he was in danger of being burned, or he would fall near water, where he was in danger of drowning.

You can imagine the distress of the father, when every day brought the possibility that his son would die or be permanently scarred.

The disciples were in a good position. They had already been given authority over all diseases.

Matthew 10:1 says, “Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.”

Then Jesus sent them out to get practice.

So when the man showed up with his son, the disciples already had a track record of healing people. But for some reason they couldn’t help the boy.

Fortunately, Jesus was able to heal him.

Later the disciples asked why they couldn’t help. First, Jesus said, it was because they had so little faith. But then some ancient manuscripts add one more insight. Matthew 17:21 might be in the main text of your Bible or it might be in the footnotes. In it, many ancient manuscripts add that Jesus said fasting and prayer were required to help in the boy’s case.

If you’re stuck, try fasting and prayer. In some cases, nothing will help until someone fasts and prays.