John Piper Shares Bible Passage That He Struggles With, Finds ‘Baffling’

While taking a listener’s question on the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, influential author John Piper admitted that he struggled to fully understand a certain scene in the Bible where the disciples could not heal an epileptic boy.

In a podcast posted Monday, Piper, who founded, was asked:

“A question always arises for me when I read about Jesus’s exorcism of the epileptic boy possessed by a demon in Matthew 17:14–20, Mark 9:17–29, and Luke 9:37–43. What does Jesus mean by ‘because of your little faith’?” inquired Scott.

“What is it exactly that the disciples lacked? It seems like Jesus’ answer gives easy fuel to suffering Christians who might be told that Jesus suggests that if they just had enough faith they could be healed. How is that not the takeaway?”

Piper responded by saying he finds the words of Jesus in these passages “in part baffling.” But he wanted to “struggle out loud” with listeners as he attempted to answer the question.

He first assured listeners that this type of struggle doesn’t undermine his faith “because Jesus has done so much and said so much that the glory of God in Him has won me over to trust Him and treasure Him because of what I do see and I do understand even if there are aspects of what He says that sometimes I don’t understand.”

Moving on to respond to the question, Piper looked closely at Matthew 17, where a man brings his son, who has been suffering from seizures, to Jesus after His disciples could not heal him. Piper believes when Jesus said “O faithless and twisted generation,” He was referring not just to the crowd but also to the disciples.

“Here’s what’s baffling to me about these words. First in verse 17, Jesus says to the disciples that they are ‘faithless’ — that is have no faith, at least no faith for this healing. And then in verse 20 when the disicples said why couldn’t we cast it out He says you have ‘little faith.’ Now see, scratching my head — no faith, little faith, why does He say both?

“And then to make matters even more perplexing He says if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed (identified in the Bible as the smallest of all seeds) you can move mountains. … If that’s true, why is it that their small faith was the reason they couldn’t cast out the demon. Small faith is what a mustard seed-sized faith is. … You see why I’m confused?”

Trying to make sense of the passage, Piper came to this conclusion:

“In saying that we all need a mustard seed of faith to move mountains, it seems to me that Jesus is saying quantity of faith is not the issue.

“Why else would he refer to mustard seed faith if quantity were the issue? Size of faith is not the issue. That’s the point of mustard seed.”

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Source: Christian Post