By Joe Moore

Retreat on Matthew 17:10-14

This retreat is based upon the the story found in Matthew 17 of an epileptic boy brought to the disciples of Jesus for healing. The disciples were unsuccessful in their efforts. This guide will help you meditatively interact with the text. This passage follows immediately after Jesus’ transfiguration.

Matthew 17:14-20

When they (Jesus, Peter, James, and John) came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, 15and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 17Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you?  Bring him here to me.” 18And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (New International Version)

Reflection Questions

As you read the passage, rather than immediately jumping to analysis, sit with it and engage your initial responses.

  • Note what thoughts it provokes in you?
  • How do you respond emotionally to the passage? What draws that response? Are you comfortable with this response? Why, or why not?

Look at the characters in this passage.

  • With whom do you most identify?
  • Gently place yourself in this character in the passage. What do you sense? How are you responding to the situation? To the other people present?
  • Sit with this character and reflect on what draws you to him/her.

After sitting with this passage for a time, think about how you have responded to Jesus’ interactions. Don’t stop with your first response.

  • Think about what in you is responding to Jesus. What is fueling this response?
  • Are there other feelings that you have toward Jesus below this most easily accessed response?
  • How frequently to you respond to Jesus in this way?
  • Jesus chastises the people for their lack of faith. How would you describe the vitality of your faith?
  • Are there topics in which you have great faith, the mountain moving kind?
  • What are the situations or areas where you have difficulty having faith?
  • What is God working in you today? How is the Spirit leading you? What is Jesus saying to you?

Printable Version: Retreat on Matthew 17:PDF