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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 13: Matthew 17:10-21, by Kevin M. Williams

Faith can be an ethereal concept around which to wrap one’s mind. Many books have been written on the subject, and many more sermons preached. The question should never be “do I have faith” enough to accomplish this or that. In and of myself I am powerless, and faith inappropriately directed is equally powerless. The question therefore should be, “do I have faith in Yeshua” to achieve this or that purpose (assuming it is in harmony with His will)? If the disciples had been self-focused (i.e. “we’ve done this before, we can do it again”), then it is no doubt that they failed.

Yeshua relied solely on the testimony of others to declare that He is Messiah. In fact, He still relies on the testimony of others to this very day.

This would seem to be consistent with Yeshua’s final instruction, “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” One of the purposes of prayer and fasting is to strengthen the intimacy between the person praying and the Lord. This intimacy often leads to the important realization that it is not about “me,” it is about God: His will, His desires, His purposes, and His authority—upon which no one should presume.

There may be one more indicator here. As has been touched on before, one of the signs the people of Israel were looking in the true Messiah was miracles.

The belief in these self-proclaimed Messiahs and in their power to perform miracles could be so strong that it could override all normal instincts of self-preservation. Thus in about 448 a Jew appeared on Crete announcing that he was Moses and that he would repeat on a much larger scale the miracle performed by Moses at the Red Sea: he would part the waters of the Mediterranean and lead the Jews of the island dry shod to Judea! When the hour he fixed for the miracle arrived, he ordered his followers to jump into the sea, which they did, with the result that many of them drowned in the waves (Socrates Scholasticus, Historia Ecclessiae 12:33, as quoted in Encyclopaedia Judaica, s.v. Messianic Movements). 3

As we have noted on many occasions, one of the attributes that separated Yeshua’s messianic claim from other false-messiahs was that he was not self-proclaimed. He relied solely on the testimony of others to manifest such declarations. In fact, He still relies on the testimony of others to this very day.

Yet here, with the “lunatic” son, Yeshua did what no one else had been able to do—deliver him. For those with eyes to see, this was a miracle of “messianic” proportions and one more proof that this man was no mere mortal, but the Promised One. All other humans up to this point needed to fast and pray. Not Yeshua. His authority stood on its own.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Spring 2004

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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