on Matthew 17 :17
O faithless and perverse generation! - These and the following words may be considered as spoken:
1. To the disciples, because of their unbelief, Matthew 17:20.
2. To the father of the possessed, who should have brought his son to Christ.
3. To the whole multitude, who were slow of heart to believe in him as the Messiah, notwithstanding the miracles which he wrought.
Perverse, διεστραμμενη, signifies -
1. Such as are influenced by perverse opinions, which hinder them from receiving the truth: and,
2. Such as are profligate in their manners.
Kypke. This last expression could not have been addressed to the disciples, who were certainly saved from the corruption of the world, and whose minds had been lately divinely illuminated by what passed at and after the transfiguration: but at all times the expression was applicable to the Jewish people.
on Matthew 17 :17
Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation! - Perverse means that which is twisted or turned from the proper direction; and is often used of the eyes, when one or both are turned from their natural position. Applied to a generation or race of people, it means that they hold opinions turned or perverted from the truth, and that they were wicked in their conduct. Jesus applied this, probably, to the Jews, and not to his real disciples.
How long shall I suffer you? - That is, how long shall I bear with you? How long is it necessary to show such patience and forbearance with your unbelief and perversity? This was not so much an expression of impatience or complaint as a reproof for their being so slow to believe that he was the Messiah, notwithstanding his miracles.
Mark adds Mark 9:20-22 that when he that was possessed was brought, the spirit, by a last desperate struggle, threw him down and tore him, and left him apparently dead. He adds further, that the case had existed during the whole life of his son, from a child. This was a case of uncommon obstinacy. The affliction was fixed and lasting. The disciples, seeing the obstinacy of the case - seeing that he was a deaf-mute, wasted away, torn, and foaming - despaired of being able to cure him. They lacked the faith which was necessary; doubted whether they could cure him, and therefore could not.
The father of the child said Mark 9:22, "If thou canst do anything, have compassion on us and help us;" an expression implying a weak faith, a lingering doubt whether he could restore him. Jesus replied to this, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" Mark 9:23; implying that the difficulty in the case was not that he could not heal him, but that he had not the proper kind and degree of faith with which to come to him. That is, this cure shall be effected if you have faith. Not that his faith would give Jesus the power to heal him, but it would render it proper that he should exert that power in his favor. In this way, and in this only, are all things possible to believers.
The man had faith, Mark 9:24. The father came, as a father should do, weeping, and praying that his faith might be increased, so as to make it proper that Jesus should interpose in his behalf, and save his child.
Help my unbelief, Mark 9:24. This was an expression of humility. If my faith is defective, supply what is lacking. Help me to overcome my unbelief. Let not the defect of my faith be in the way of this blessing.
on Matthew 17 :17
17:17 O unbelieving and perverse generation - Our Lord speaks principally this to his disciples. How long shall I be with you? - Before you steadfastly believe?