When Power & Authority Attempt to Operate Absent Prayer & Fasting

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically today’s passage begins with the twenty-second verse of the seventeenth chapter and continues through to the twentieth verse of the eighteenth chapter. “And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: and they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry” (Matthew 17:22-23).

 

            “And when they were come to Capernum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? Of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee” (Matthew 17:24-27).

 

            “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were crowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire” (Matthew 18:1-9).

 

            “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:10-14).

            “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:15-20).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find it beginning with what would now be the third time Jesus taught and showed His disciples how He must needs suffer many things at the hands of men before ultimately being killed. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the sixteenth chapter of this gospel you will find that immediately after the encounter between Jesus and His disciples in the coasts of Caesarea where He asked them who they said that He was He would begin teaching and showing them how He must needs journey unto Jerusalem. It would be from this particular time in Caesarea Philippi the Lord Jesus would begin teaching and showing His disciples how He must needs journey unto Jerusalem—and not only journey unto Jerusalem but also how He must needs journey unto Jerusalem and suffer many things. What’s more is that in addition to showing His disciples how He must needs suffer many things He would show them that he must suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests and the elders of the people. As if this weren’t enough the Lord Jesus would go on to teach them how He must needs also be killed and put to death before being raised from death to life on the third day. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and to consider how Jesus knew that He had come in the flesh that He might suffer many things before being put to death. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it draws and calls our attention to the tremendous and incredible reality of that which the Lord Jesus knew concerning His mission and assignment within and upon the earth and would begin teaching and showing it unto His disciples.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding that which the Lord Jesus would teach and show unto His disciples. After Simon called Peter made the profession that He was the Christ and the Son of the living God He would from that time begin teaching and showing Him how He must needs suffer many things at the hands of the religious elite. There is something truly unique and powerful about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it we are brought face to face with what would be the third time the Lord Jesus would teach and show His disciples how He must needs suffer many things at the hands of men. It’s important to note that Jesus knew and understood that He must needs suffer and that it was indeed for this reason He had come in the flesh. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about and consider it is when you consider the tremendous truth that within these chapters you will find the encounter between the Lord Jesus and His disciples in the coasts of Caesarea Philippi and how He asked them who men said that He the Son of man was. The disciples would begin showing Him how there were those who thought that He was John the Baptist while others thought that he was Elijah. Moreover there were those who thought He was Jeremiah or one of the other prophets having come back from the dead during those days.

 

            Within these passages of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus asking His disciples whom they said that He the Son of man was. After hearing and listening to them speak concerning what the opinions of men were during those days Jesus would transition the question from who men said that He the Son of man was to whom they said that He the Son of man was. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how incredibly important this truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding who the disciples believed Him to be. What we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not the confession and profession Simon called Peter made was believed and held by each of the other eleven disciples. I would dare say that the other disciples were those who spoke up to answer what others said concerning the identity of the Lord Jesus while it was Simon called Peter who would speak up when Jesus asked the question who men said that He the Son of man was. Scripture is entirely and altogether clear whether or not the other disciples believed Jesus to be the Christ and the Son of the living God for Jesus’ response to Simon indicated that flesh and blood had not revealed this unto him but rather His Father which was in heaven. Was Simon called Peter the only one to receive such a revelation from the Father which was in heaven? Was Simon the only disciple of the Lord Jesus who received the revelation concerning Jesus of Nazareth that He was indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God and had the other disciples not yet received such a revelation within their own hearts and spirits?

 

We know that even in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find Jesus asking the disciples if they too would turn away and would hear Simon Peter respond by asking Him where they would go for He alone held the words of eternal life. Simon Peter would also emphatically declare unto Jesus and the disciples that He was indeed the Son of the living God. I am absolutely convinced there is a great need to pay close attention to the words which are found within the four gospels for here in the coasts of Caesarea Philippi we find Jesus asking the disciples whom they said that He the Son of man was. Scripture seems to reveal and indicate that none of the other disciples had spoken up when Jesus made this question personal and asked them whom they said that He the Son of man was. We know that Simon called Peter was the more outspoken of the disciples and that He was always the one who seemed to the most abrupt and the most abrasive. On this particular occasion we find Simon called Peter emphatically declaring unto the Lord Jesus how He was indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God. Simon called Peter would receive a special revelation from the Father which was in heaven concerning Jesus—a revelation that could and would never come from men. The type of revelation Simon called Peter received was such that would and could never come from man and could only come from the eternal Father which was in heaven. There is something incredibly strong and powerful about the words which are found within this passage of Scripture for within them we find Jesus declaring unto Simon how that flesh and blood had not revealed this unto him but rather His Father which was in heaven.

 

The more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the revelation of the Father which was in heaven within the heart and spirit of Simon called Peter. The Father which was in heaven would indeed reveal unto Simon called Peter that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God—a revelation which would and could never come from man. This is something we must needs recognize and pay close attention to for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding this revelation which would be present within the heart of Simon called Peter. Scripture is not clear whether or not the other disciples had received this personal revelation and we know for a fact that at least Simon had received this revelation from the eternal Father which was in heaven. There is something truly astonishing and intriguing about the words which we find in this passage of Scripture for what we find here draws and calls our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding this revelation which would come from the Father which was in heaven concerning the truth about the Son. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about how the Father in heaven would indeed reveal and make known the identity of the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God within the earth. It would be the Father who would reveal this unto Simon called Peter and I can’t help but think about and wonder what it was like when Simon called Peter received this revelation from the Father. At one point during this time Simon walked with and followed the Lord Jesus did the Father reveal this unto him and he recognized and understood that Jesus was indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God?

 

As you continue reading the words which are found in these chapters you will find that immediately after Simon made the confession and profession unto Jesus and the other disciples how He was the Christ and the Son of the living God Jesus would call him blessed. Simon would be called blessed by the Lord Jesus because flesh and blood had not revealed or made this known unto him but rather His Father which was in heaven. Moreover the Lord Jesus would also emphatically declare that Simon would no longer be his name but that he would be called Peter. This would be followed by Jesus declaring that upon this rock He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. In addition to this Jesus would speak of the keys of the kingdom and whatever was bound on earth would be bound in heaven and whatever was loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven. How absolutely incredible it is to read and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture concerning the declaration, confession and profession of Simon called Peter and how Simon would emphatically and boldly proclaim Jesus to be the Christ and the Son of the living God. What’s more is that as you read the four gospel narratives you will discover how the unclean spirits and demons knew the identity of Jesus and would refer to Him as the Son of God. There are a number of different encounters and examples where the unclean spirits and demons would speak unto the Lord Jesus and would refer to Him as the Son of God for they also knew and understood who He was. What an incredible truth is found in this passage of Scripture and to consider how within the four gospels the unclean spirits and demons knew the identity of the Lord Jesus and how Jesus always commanded and instructed them to be silent before commanding them to come out of those they tormented and oppressed.

 

If you continue reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that after Simon called Peter heard the words Jesus would speak unto him Jesus would charge the disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. There is something truly unique and powerful the words and language that is found within this passage of Scripture for what we find within it is a strong and powerful picture of the Lord Jesus hearing the confession and profession of Simon called Peter and pronouncing him blessed as a result of the revelation of the Father which was in heaven. With this being said, however, the Lord Jesus would also declare unto His disciples how they must not tell any man that He was Jesus the Christ. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear why Jesus would issue such a command and charge unto the disciples and even when the unclean spirits and demons would speak of Jesus as being the Son of God Jesus would command them to be silent before also commanding them to come out of those they tormented and oppressed. I can’t help but wonder why Jesus would charge and command His disciples not to tell any man that He was the Christ—particularly and specially if He was in the region and coasts of Galilee. We know that Jesus experienced a tremendous amount of pressure, opposition and resistance from the Jews within Judaea yet there seemed to be a greater reception of Him in the region of Galilee. The New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John presents us with example after example of how the Jews in Jerusalem and Judaea sought to put Jesus to death because He had made the declaration that He was the Son of God thus making Himself equal with the Father which was in heaven.

 

I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus commanding and instructing the disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Christ. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to consider it is when you think about how Jesus would continually and constantly instruct and command the unclean spirits and demons He would call out of those they tormented and oppressed to be silent. Jesus would not permit the demons or unclean spirits to speak of Him as the Son of the living God and as the Christ and would command them to be silent before calling, commanding and casting them out. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to that which we find here in this passage of Scripture and how the Lord Jesus would command and charge His disciples not to tell any man that He was Jesus the Christ. Simon Peter would make the confession that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God and the other eleven disciples would hear him speak those words. What’s more is that the other eleven disciples would hear Jesus pronounce Simon as blessed because flesh and blood had not revealed this unto him but His Father which was in heaven. The other eleven disciples would hear the Lord Jesus emphatically declare and proclaim unto Simon that his name would from that time be called Peter and that upon this rock Jesus would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.

 

If you read the words which are found in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus asking the disciples who men said that He the Son of man was. After hearing the opinions and thoughts of others concerning His identity Jesus would make the question personal and ask the disciples themselves who they thought and believed Him to be. Simon called Peter would be the only one who would speak up and would profess and confess Jesus as the Christ and the Son of the living God. Jesus would speak unto Simon and declare unto him how flesh and blood had not revealed this unto him but rather His Father which was in heaven. Simon would have his name changed to Peter and would hear Jesus make the declaration and profession that upon this rock He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Not only this but Jesus would go on to declare that whatever they bound on earth would be bound in heaven and whatever they loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven. Immediately following this the Lord Jesus would charge and command the disciples to tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. There was something absolutely incredible about the words and language which is found in this passage for immediately after making such a declaration unto Simon called Peter Jesus would charge and command His disciples to tell no man that He was the Christ—something He would also charge and command the unclean spirits and demons when He silenced them as they would speak concerning Him and refer to Him as the Son of God.

 

The more you continue on in the sixteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel the more you will find Jesus beginning to teach and to show the disciples how He must needs go unto Jerusalem where He would suffer many things at the hands of the elders and chief priests. From this particular time—perhaps still in the coasts of Caesarea Philippi or perhaps in some of the other coasts within Galilee—the Lord Jesus would emphatically declare and teach His disciples that He must needs journey unto Jerusalem where He would suffer many things. What’s more is that not only would Jesus suffer many things but would suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests and the elders of the people. Essentially that which the Lord Jesus would declare unto the disciples was that He would journey unto Jerusalem and would suffer many things at the hands of those who had already conspired and took council against Him. The four gospel narratives are replete with example after example of the scribes, the chief priests, the elders of the people, the Pharisees and the Sadducees conspiring together and taking council against the Lord Jesus how they might destroy Him. What makes this all the more interesting is when you consider it in light of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. It is within this New Testament gospel we discover that although the Jews conspired together against the Lord Jesus to put Him to death they could not lay hands on Him because it was not His time. What’s more is that the scribes, the Pharisees, the elders of the people, the chief priests and the religious elite would also conspire together against the Lord Jesus that they might destroy Him and put Him to death. Despite all of this, however, the apostle John would write how they could not lay a single finger upon Jesus for His time had not yet come.

 

What we find in this particular passage of Scripture must needs be considered in light of an earlier passage within this same gospel narrative. It is in an earlier passage of Scripture where we find the apostle Matthew writing concerning the scribes and the Pharisees how they conspired together concerning Jesus that they might put Him to death. The scribes and the Pharisees were greatly disturbed, angered, upset and offended by the Lord Jesus and would as a direct result of this conspire together to destroy Jesus and put Him to death. This is something we must needs consider in light of the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. It is in this New Testament gospel narrative we find and discover that despite the best efforts of the Jews and despite the best efforts of the scribes and the Pharisees to destroy Jesus and put Him to death they could not lay a single hand on Him before the time. Despite their best efforts—even in Nazareth when His own kinsmen sought to thrust Him forth from a cliff in the city—neither the Jews nor the religious leaders of those days could destroy or put Jesus to death before the appointed time.

 

If there is one thing that makes the words which the apostle Matthew so incredibly unique and astonishing when you consider it is how there would eventually come a point in time when the chief priests and the elders of the people would be given power and authority over the Lord Jesus. There would come a point in time when the chief priests and the scribes would be able to overtake the Lord Jesus and would be able to exercise their will against and upon Him. Later on within this New Testament gospel as well as the other three gospel narratives you will find Jesus being betrayed by one of His own into the hands of the chief priests and the scribes. There would indeed come a time ordained and appointed by the Father which was in heaven that the Lord Jesus would essentially be released into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people. There would come a point in time when the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people would indeed be able to exercise their will and their mind against the Lord Jesus that they might put Him to death. There would be a point in time when the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people would be able to exercise their brutality, their force, their mind and their will against the Lord Jesus Christ before ultimately turning Him over into the hands of the Romans. It would be the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people who would conspire together against the Lord Jesus and would even hold a secret council in the dark of the night as they hurled constant and continual accusation against Him as they would accuse Him of blasphemy.

 

We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it demonstrates and reveals the tremendous reality that despite the many attempts of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people to destroy and put Jesus to death they could not do it before the appointed time. What we find here on this particular occasion is the Lord Jesus declaring unto His disciples how there would come a point in time when the chief priests and the elders of the people would exercise their will and mind against the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus would on this particular occasion emphatically declare and begin teaching and showing His disciples how He must needs journey unto Jerusalem—and not only journey unto Jerusalem but also suffer many things at the hands of the religious elite during those days. What’s more is that not only would Jesus suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests and the elders of the people but Jesus would also be killed and put to death by them. Pause for a moment and consider what such a statement and what such words would be like in the hearing of the disciples. Stop for a moment and consider what it would and could have been like for the disciples to hear the word which Jesus would speak unto them and how Jesus who had just finished speaking unto them concerning the gates of hell not prevailing against His church would now describe and declare how the chief priests and the elders of the people would cause Him much suffering and affliction in the flesh .Oh it would indeed be true the gates of hell would not prevail against the church, however, Jesus would begin describing and declaring unto His disciples how He would suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests and the elders of the people before He would ultimately be put to death. With this being said, however, it’s important to note that although Jesus would describe and declare unto His disciples how He would indeed die and be put to death He would be raised from death to life on the third day.

 

As you continue reading the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find and discover how after Jesus charged His disciples to tell no man that He was the Christ and after He began teaching and showing them how He must needs journey unto Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the chief priest and the elders of the people before being killed He would go on to rebuke Simon called Peter when He took Jesus aside and declared unto Him that such things would and could not come to pass within His life. Jesus would speak directly unto Simon called Peter and would actually speak past and speak beyond him commanding and instructing Satan to get behind him for he was an offense unto him for he did not savor the things that be of God but those things which belonged to and were of men. Immediately following this we find the Lord Jesus teaching and speaking unto the disciples something incredibly similar to that which he had previously spoken unto them when He ordained and appointed them as apostles and ambassadors for the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth. If you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus declaring and speaking unto His disciples concerning those who would come after Him and what would indeed be required of them. Jesus would declare how those who desired to come after Him must needs deny themselves, take up their cross and follow after Him. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would also declare unto them that whosoever would save their life would lose it and that whosoever would lose their life for His sake would find it. It is with this in mind I invite you to turn your attention back to the following words which were spoken by Jesus earlier on during His public ministry when He would send out His disciples as ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven:

 

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. The disciples is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: But rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:22-33).

 

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:34-39).

 

We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the tremendous truth that is found within this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the words Jesus would speak unto His disciples. If there is one thing we must needs recognize concerning these words which are recorded in the tenth chapter as well as the words which are found in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative it’s that Jesus would indeed suffer in the flesh and would suffer many things of the chief priests, the elders, the scribes and the religious elite of His day but His suffering would not exempt or cause His disciples to be immune from their own suffering. As you read the words which are found within both of these passages you will find the language of being hated of all men, you will find the language of persecution and you will even find the language of the cross. Pause and consider just how absolutely incredible the words within this passage of Scripture truly are for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the disciples of the Lord Jesus and how the disciples of the Lord Jesus would not be greater nor would they be above the Master and Lord of the house. It would indeed be true the Lord Jesus would suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people, however, we must needs recognize and understand that Jesus didn’t suffer in the flesh that we might not have to and that we wouldn’t suffer ourselves.

 

I sit here today thinking about the words which are found in both the tenth and the sixteenth chapters of this New Testament gospel and I am brought face to face with the language of suffering and persecution, the language of losing one’s life, the language of self-denial and the cross, the language of being hated of all men and so much more. It would indeed be true the Lord Jesus would teach and show unto His disciples how He must needs suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people and the religious elite, however, it was also true that the disciples themselves would experience tremendous suffering and affliction in the earth. Within the tenth and sixteenth chapters of this New Testament gospel narrative we are brought face to face with the truly awesome and wonderful truth surrounding the disciples of the Lord Jesus and that which they can expect in the earth. What we must needs realize when reading the words found in these passages of Scripture it’s that the disciples ought not be surprised or even shocked when they are hated of all men for the sake of Jesus and for His name. The disciples should not be surprised when they suffer many things and when they themselves are persecuted for Jesus foretold and warned them of such realities within their lives. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would declare that whoever would not confess Him before men the same would not be confessed before His Father in heaven. Moreover the Lord Jesus would declare unto His disciples that anyone who loved father or mother more than Him was not worthy of Him and whosoever would not take up their cross and follow Him was not worthy of Him. Thus that which the Lord Jesus made absolutely clear when speaking unto His disciples was that if they wished to come after him they must needs deny themselves, they must take up their cross and follow Him.

 

The words and language we find in this passage of Scripture are absolutely incredible when you take the time to think about it for there is a tremendous language of discipleship—and not the discipleship many of us in the West are used to. Discipleship for the Lord Jesus would mean being hated of all men for His name’s sake and being persecuted from one city to the next. Discipleship for the Lord Jesus would mean choosing not to love father, or mother, or brother, or sister, or daughter, or son more than Him knowing that those who do are not worthy of Him. Discipleship for the Lord Jesus would mean confessing Him before men despite and regardless of what the outcome and consequences on the earth would be knowing full well that those who confess Him before men would be confessed by Him before His Father who was in heaven. Moreover discipleship for the Lord Jesus would mean denying oneself, taking up their cross and following Him. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for when we think of discipleship in the earth we must recognize that it does indeed and will in fact include and mean suffering, affliction, resistance, opposition and even persecution. Oh it is true that we in the Western world might not experience such realities within our hearts and lives during these days, however, I can’t help but wonder if the days are coming when we can and will begin to experience such tremendous suffering and affliction within and upon the earth. I can’t help but wonder if and when the day will come when we as the disciples can and will experience some of the suffering and persecution our brothers and sisters in other countries have faced and experienced.

 

As you continue reading in this passage of Scripture you will come unto the seventeenth chapter where Jesus would—after six days—take Peter, James and his brother John and would bring them up into a high mountain apart. It would be there atop that mountain the Lord Jesus would be transfigured before them and His face would shin as the sun, and his raiment would become as white as snow. It would be there atop that mountain the Lord Jesus would be transfigured before them and would seemingly appear in a measure of the glory He had with the Father from the beginning. There atop the mountain these three disciples—Peter, James and John—would catch a glimpse of what Jesus was like before He took upon Himself flesh and blood. There atop the mountain Peter, James and John would experience an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ that was entirely and altogether different from anything they had experienced before. Pause for a moment and consider what it would and must have been like for these three disciples of the Lord Jesus as He would be transfigured before them and His face would shin as the sun with His raiment being white as light. What’s more is the apostle Matthew as well as the other gospel authors describes how on this particular occasion the Lord Jesus appear speaking with Moses and Elijah talking with them. Not only would the Lord Jesus be transfigured before them, not only would His face shine as the sun, and not only would His raiment be as white as the light but he would also appear speaking with Moses who would represent the law and Elijah who would represent the prophets. There atop the mountain Jesus would appear transfigured and in a measure of the glory He had with the Father from the beginning and would speak with the Law and the prophets in the sight and presence of Peter, James and John.

 

There is something we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and His being transfigured before the faces of the disciples atop this mountain. It would be there atop this mountain the Lord Jesus would be transfigured before these disciples as His face would shine like the sun and his clothes and raiment would be as white as the light. Jesus would indeed speak with Moses and Elijah—Moses representing the Law while Elijah would represent the prophets. Atop this mountain the Lord Jesus would indeed speak with these two Old Testament men of God concerning the kingdom and concerning His decease. How absolutely incredible it is that the Law and the prophets which spoke of and foretold the Lord Jesus would now be represented atop and upon this mountain. Not only this but there atop the mountain they would speak unto Jesus concerning the kingdom and concerning His decease which would take place in the coming days. What’s more is that on this particular occasion Simon called Peter would speak up and would declare unto the Lord that it was good for them to be there atop the mountain. Not only this but Simon called Peter would also declare that if it was good they would build three tabernacles—one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah. It would be at this particular juncture the eternal and living Father would speak as a bright cloud would overshadow them atop the mountain. There would be a voice coming out of the cloud which would indeed and would in fact declare and proclaim, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”

 

Here upon and atop the mountain Jesus would be transfigured in the sight and presence of Peter, James and John. Atop this mountain Jesus would be transfigured before their very eyes as His face would shine like the sun and as His raiment would become white as light. Not only this but here atop the mountain the Lord Jesus would appear speaking with the law and the prophets as Moses and Elijah would appear speaking with Him. A bright cloud would overshadow Peter, James, John and even the Lord Jesus and Moses and Elijah thus consuming them. From the midst of the cloud a voice would once more speak from heaven and speak the same words which were spoken when the heavens were opened at the Jordan River. Just as the voice would speak forth from heaven when Jesus emerged from the waters of the Jordan River so also would that same voice speak on this particular occasion atop the mountain. There atop the mountain the voice of the Father which was in heaven would not only declare and proclaim that this was His beloved Son but would also declare concerning the Son that He was well pleased. The voice of the Father would on this particular occasion speak and declare something which was not spoken at the waters of the Jordan River for the voice of the Father would call on those who were present to hear the words and voice of the Lord Jesus. Not only did the Father declare that Jesus was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased but the voice of the Father would also emphatically declare and instruct them to hear Him—hear and listen to the words which He was speaking. Scripture is entirely unclear whether or not Peter, James and John heard and understood the words which Jesus, Moses and Elijah were speaking with each other and yet the voice of the Father would speak forth from heaven and would instruct them to hear Him. The voice of the Father would break through the clouds which were present on the top of the mountain and would once more declare concerning Jesus that He was the beloved and begotten Son of the Father and command them to hear and listen to Him.

 

The further you move into this particular portion of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew the more you will encounter additional language being spoken by the Lord Jesus unto His disciples. As you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus instructing and charging Peter, James and John to tell the vision unto no man until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. This would now be the second time the Lord Jesus would charge His disciples with the previous charge being centered around His identity as the Christ. Jesus would charge His disciples not to tell any man that He was the Christ and He would now charge the disciples Peter, James and John to tell no man the vision which they saw atop the mountain until after He had been risen from the grave. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for directly linked and connected to this is Jesus once more speaking unto the disciples concerning John the Baptist. After charging the disciples to tell no man the vision until after He had been risen again from the dead on the third day Jesus would declare unto them how that Elijah truly would indeed first come and restore all things. With this being said Jesus would also declare that Elijah is indeed come already and they knew him not but did unto him whatsoever they desired and pleased. What makes these words all the more intriguing when you take the time to consider them is when you consider how the Lord Jesus would also declare concerning the Son of man—concerning Himself—that he must suffering many things of the same ones who had exercised their will, their authority and their power of Elijah. The Lord Jesus Christ would indeed speak unto the disciples concerning John the Baptist and how men destroyed him from the midst of the earth and how the Son of man would suffer at the hands of the same individuals.

 

As you continue reading within this passage you will find that when Jesus and the disciples Peter, James and John came down from the mountain they came unto a multitude. In the midst of the multitude would be a certain man who came kneeling down before Jesus and pleading and interceding on behalf of his son. This man would come unto the Lord Jesus and would fall down kneeling before Him entreating the Lord to have mercy on his son for he was lunatic. Not only was his son lunatic but this father would go on to describe how his son was sore vexed for ofttimes he would fall into the fire and oft in the water. What makes this even more intriguing when you take the time to consider it is when you read how this father would go on to declare unto Jesus how he brought his son unto His disciples and yet they could not sure him. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that this father had brought this son unto the disciples of Jesus that they might help his son and drive the unclean spirit from him—something which they had already been given power and authority to be able to do. This father brought unto the disciples his son that they might do something they had already been trained and given authority and power to do. What we must realize and understand concerning this particular occurrence is that despite the fact the disciples had been given power and authority to cast out unclean spirits Jesus would tell them that this kind would come out not but by prayer and fasting. The Lord Jesus would speak unto His disciples after He had expelled the unclean spirit and brought deliverance and freedom to this young boy and would declare unto them how this kind comes not out but by prayer and fasting. Despite the fact the disciples had been given power and authority over unclean spirits to cast them out this particular kind would come not out but by prayer and fasting.

 

If there is one thing I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated by when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s how the disciples had already been given power and authority to be able to cast out unclean spirits in the name of Jesus and yet on this particular occasion there was something they were not yet able to do. It was indeed true they were given power and authority to cast out unclean spirits and demons from those who were oppressed and possessed, however, Jesus would reveal something to them on this particular day they were not yet aware of. It would be on this occasion the disciples could not exercise authority and power over this unclean spirit to cast it out. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder whether or not the disciples were frustrated when they recognized and realized they could not cast out this unclean spirit. I can’t help but read the words found within this passage of Scripture and consider the tremendous truth surrounding disciples who had indeed been given power and authority to cast out unclean spirits and yet they were unable to do so. The disciples themselves were unable to cast out this particular spirit which sore vexed this young child and would learn and discover from Jesus that this particular kind would and could not come out but by prayer and fasting. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words found withing this passage of Scripture and to encounter the Lord Jesus declaring unto the disciples that there was a particular kind of unclean spirit that would and could only come out as a direct result of prayer and fasting. Although the disciples had indeed been given power and authority to expel unclean spirits there were some that would and could not come out but by prayer and fasting. What we must needs recognize is that while it might indeed be true we have been given power and authority to be able to cast out unclean spirits there are things which do in fact require prayer and fasting on our part.

 

I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the disciples being given power and authority over unclean spirits to cast them out. The disciples were indeed given power and authority over unclean spirits to cast them out in Jesus’ name and yet there were certain things that would require more than power and authority. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and realize it’s that power and authority must needs be met and matched by prayer and fasting. There are countless men and women who might very well have been given power and authority to cast out unclean spirits who desperately need to mix and match that with prayer and fasting. There is a tremendous need for us to recognize the language that is found in this passage of Scripture for the language we see here brings us face to face with the awesome truth surrounding prayer and fasting being needed in addition to power and authority. Oh would it shock and surprise you to consider the fact that power and authority are at times not enough and need to be meted and measured with prayer and fasting? Would you be surprised if I told you that there were times when power and authority alone aren’t enough to accomplish and fulfill that which you have been called to do and that prayer and fasting must needs be exercised within your heart and spirit? Perhaps the greatest truth we find within this passage is centered upon the fact that the disciples had indeed been given power over unclean spirits to cast them out, however, on this particular occasion they encountered something that was bigger and greater than themselves. On this particular occasion the disciples encountered something that would and could only be accomplished by prayer and fasting.

 

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the tremendous truth surrounding power and authority needing to be meted and measured within our hearts and lives by prayer and fasting. There are countless men and women who fail to understand the tremendous need for prayer and fasting and how prayer and fasting provide the ultimate manifestation of the power of God within our lives. I am absolutely and completely convinced there are countless men and women among us who may very well want to see the power of God demonstrated and manifested within their lives and the one thing that is desperately missing is prayer and fasting. There are countless men and women who might very well have been given power and authority over unclean spirits and to accomplish things for the kingdom of heaven and yet they are not giving and have not given themselves to prayer and fasting. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that we have indeed and have in fact been called to be those who are committed to prayer and fasting. The disciples had in fact been granted power and authority over unclean spirits to cast them out and yet on this particular occasion they would encounter one that could not be cast out by power and authority alone. Perhaps the single greatest need we have within this passage of Scripture and within our own lives is for us to be a people of prayer and fasting. There is a great need for us as the people of God to be those who are passionately committed and devoted to prayer and fasting. We might very well have been called to accomplish and fulfill certain things for the kingdom of heaven and yet there is a need for us to be those who are committed to prayer and fasting. There is a great need for us as the people of God to ask ourselves whether or not we are indeed willing to be such who are committed to prayer and fasting knowing that both are absolutely critical and vital to our stepping into, walking in and fulfilling that which the eternal God has called us to.

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