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Faith for Action
Bible Passage Matthew 17: 14- 27
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & book Matthew.

Faith for Action

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached July 12, 2023

14 As they approached the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, knelt down in front of him,

15 and said, “Sir, have mercy on my son because he is an epileptic and suffers terribly. Often he falls into fire and often into water.

16 I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”

17 Jesus replied, “You unbelieving and perverted generation! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to me!”

18 Then Jesus rebuked the demon and it came out of him, and the boy was healed that very hour.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

20 He told them, “Because of your lack of faith. I tell all of you with certainty, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.

21 But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.”

22 While they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.

23 They will kill him, but he will be raised on the third day.” Then they were filled with grief.

24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came up to Peter and asked, “Your teacher pays the temple tax, doesn’t he?”

25 He answered, “Yes.” When Peter went home, Jesus spoke to him first and asked him, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings on the earth collect tolls or tributes? From their own subjects, or from foreigners?”

26 “From foreigners,” he replied. So Jesus told him, “In that case, the subjects are exempt.

27 However, so that we don’t offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, open its mouth, and you will find a coin. Take it and give it to them for me and you.”


Jesus had taken away to the Mount of Transfiguration three of the disciples; Peter, James, and John. While the faith of the three on the mountain was being strengthened, the faith of the other nine disciples on the plain below was failing. They were unable to cure a boy who suffered from sudden fits that made him uncontrollable (Mark 9:14-18).

The reason for the disciples’ failure was their lack of faith. What they needed was not a large amount of faith but the right kind of faith. They needed a faith that relied completely upon the unlimited capacity of the all-powerful God and that expressed itself through sincere prayer.

Jesus spoke about His death again in verse 22. This is the second time that Jesus spoke about His death. He also spoke about the time after His death. He said that someone would ‘hand Him over to the authorities’. We read that Judas handed Jesus over to the chief priests (Matthew 26:15). The chief priests handed Jesus over to Pilate (Matthew 27:2). Pilate handed Jesus over to the soldiers who killed Him (Matthew 27:26). The disciples did not understand how Jesus would rise from death ‘on the third day’. They only knew that God would be the judge on a terrible day after death.

Every male Jew who was over 20 years old had to pay an annual tax to the Temple. The tax was half a ‘shekel’ coin (Exodus 30:13), and it was equal to two days’ wages. This tax provided the money that the Temple in Jerusalem needed. The men usually collected it in the towns and villages from March 15th to March 25th. After that date, people had to go to the Temple to pay the tax.

Jesus was staying at Peter’s house in Capernaum when Jewish officials came to collect the annual temple tax of a half-shekel per person (Matt 17:24; compare Exodus 30:11-16). Jesus told Peter that He and His disciples no longer needed to pay the temple tax. Now that the Messiah had come, the Jerusalem temple had lost its importance. God now dwelt in a new ‘temple’, the disciples of the Messiah.

They were God’s people, and just as a king does not collect taxes from his family, neither does God. However, the Jewish officials would not understand this, so rather than create misunderstanding, Jesus agreed to pay the tax.

They wanted to avoid offending other people. They do not want people to misunderstand what they believed. Peter was instructed by Jesus to go catch a fish and open their mouth to pick a coin to use to pay the tax. There is a fish in the Sea of Galilee that has a very large mouth. People call it ‘St Peter’s fish’.

🔷 Faith is required more in order to do things

🔷 Consistent prayer and fasting must be on the radar of every believer because they serve as the energy and source of power

🔷 Death is inevitable, just as judgement

🔷 Christians must avoid trouble by all means, but not compromise on the Christian virtues or standards

💥 Pray for the faith that professes the mind and the power of God
💥 Ask for the ability to overcome troubles or misunderstanding

Deep faith is the first thing that all believers require. That faith in God will make them honour God and leave everything in His hands to control, while they pray unceasingly.

In series Bright Morning Reflections