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Why Could We

Not Cast Him Out?

by Elder Jerry Miller

Washington, IL

(Matthew 17:14-20)

The setting, or scene in which this question was asked is one that we as God's people today need to consider and apply to ourselves.

The following event is what had prompted the Lord's disciples to ask Him that question, why could we not cast him out? There was a man that came to Jesus, kneeled down, and begged Jesus to have mercy on his son. He proceeded to tell the Lord that his son was a lunatic. He said he often falls into the fire or into the water. He told Jesus that he had brought his son to the disciples and they could not cure him.

I believe the disciples knew what was wrong with the man's son, that he was possessed with a devil, but they could not help him, Why?

Jesus had already called them together and gave them powers against unclean spirits, to cast them out. He had also empowered them to heal sickness and disease, to cleanse lepers, and even raise the dead (Matthew 10: 1-8).

Why then had they failed? That is what they wanted to know. Why did we fail? Why could we not cast him out?

Upon hearing this father testify that he had brought his son, his lunatic son, to the disciples and they could not cure him, Jesus said, "Oh faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?" How long will I suffer (bear) with you? Bring him to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil and cast him out, to cure the man's son. The Lord's disciples then came to him with a question, Why could we not cast him out? Well as usual the Lord had a very simple answer for them. He said, "Because of your unbelief."

Now notice, it was not because they were powerless. Neither was it because they were trying something they just couldn't do, but it was simply because they did not place their trust in the Lord.

How many blessings, throughout the years, have we missed out on, which could have been ours to enjoy had we only put our trust in the Lord. How many people have slipped through our fingers that we could have helped, if our faith had not been so weak? Well, perhaps only the judgment will reveal that!

Sometimes we see our failures, but we do not understand why. However, if we go to the Lord, He can tell us where we were deficient, and in His word, He has taught us through lessons such as this one.

Why should the people of God ever believe that we can't do something? Haven't we all heard it said at one time or another, perhaps by an individual or perhaps by a church, we would like to do this or that, but we can't? We do not only hear it said, but we all say it ourselves.

The reason we feel we can't is because we don't place our faith in the Lord! Paul told the Philippians, I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me, (Philippians 4:13).

What did Christ send these men out to do? He sent them out to preach to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Also, to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out he devils (Matthew 10:6-8). What did Christ send His church out to do? Did He not send her out to preach the gospel, and make disciples throughout the whole world? Not only did He send the church out, but He also empowered her for the task ahead.

I have heard people say, well the church just doesn't have any power. Listen, that is not what Jesus said. He told His church, ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost has come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8). Jesus had empowered His church when they labored under a limited commission, and He also empowered His church for a world wide commission. We have His power with us! The reason we do not see His power made manifest among us so often is because of our unbelief. Jesus told them that they could only accomplish these things through prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21).

Why has great revival been experienced at times, and yet at other times we can't seem to influence people? Let's not blame God, and let's not blame lost people, let's blame our own unbelief.

In all fairness, if you believe this to be too harsh, or if you simply do not believe it to be the problem, then I encourage you to search the scriptures, pray, and let God search your heart. If you find a more logical answer, I want to know, because the eternal welfare of immortal souls in at stake, and we simply do not seem to have much effect upon them, especially here in our country.

We need to turn to God. We need revival. God can send it, we need to pray and ask God for it, believing with all of our hearts that He can and will send it.