The Gospel of Matthew

This devotional is written by Barn Shaw. Barn is a musician and plays on the worship team.

Matthew 17:14-27

Jesus heals a demon-possessed boy

14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 'Lord, have mercy on my son,' he said. 'He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.'

17 'You unbelieving and perverse generation,' Jesus replied, 'how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.' 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, 'Why couldn't we drive it out?'

20 He replied, 'Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.'

Jesus predicts his death a second time 22 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, 'The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.' And the disciples were filled with grief.

The temple tax

24 After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, 'Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?'

25 'Yes, he does,' he replied.

When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. 'What do you think, Simon?' he asked. 'From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes - from their own children or from others?'

26 'From others,' Peter answered.

'Then the children are exempt,' Jesus said to him. 27 'But so that we may not cause offence, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.'


As I write this, I'm amazed we are approaching one year of the whole Earth going into lockdown. And despite this, we've seen the Holy Spirit is not restricted and nor suffer degradation because of these social restrictions. The message of Jesus has never been more needed. I've been working with different churches over this time, helping set up livestreams and make them sustainable. Paraphrasing one pastor I worked with, last year they very honestly said to me "This is such a strange time. Long term, I don't know where God is leading me or us [church]. But God always reveals a message week by week for us." They then, with regards to worship, continued to say "If you're really struggling to know what God is saying to you or you're struggling to know what to sing about...sing about the cross. Sing about the message of Jesus. The message of Jesus is unchanging, set on a firm foundation and can't be shaken". In this passage we see 3 stories that truly reflect the message of Jesus. A story of healing the sick, the story of the cross and a story of provision. 3 messages that couldn't be more appropriate for the time and require a great deal of faith and trust. When I look back over this last year, I've had to rely on faith and trusting in God every day. Where I've not had the same community as before lockdown, I've needed to press into my personal relationship with God more. So I encourage you that, when you find hearing God's voice a challenge, when these tough times diminish your spirit and energy, read or sing about the cross. Sing about God's provision and healing hand. He is unchanging and trusting in Him sets you on a firm foundation.

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