We were taught not to call anyone idiot or stupid. Insults hurt, never solve anything, complicate relationships, and communicate arrogance by the user.
So what is Jesus doing by speaking these words?
Jesus answered, “You unbelieving and perverse generation! How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I endure you? Bring him here to me.”
Matthew 17.17 NET
Worse yet, this time he speaks these words to his own disciples. Before, he spoke this way to the Jews who refused to believe in him (Matthew 12.39). But the disciples had failed in their attempt to expel a demon from a boy. Somehow, they had stopped trusting in Jesus and depending upon the power he had given them. Perhaps their tendency to compete among themselves had surfaced, in Jesus’ absence, while he was up on the mount of transfiguration.
So Jesus, instead of insulting, reproves. And takes care of the situation. But he will not always be near, personally, to clean up their messes.
When the disciples failed to fulfill their mission received from the Lord for the good of others and for the coming of the kingdom of God, they deserved the censure that he also spoke to the scribes and Pharisees.
By means of this reproval, Jesus hoped that the disciples would wake up, repent, and act in faith. Because the time was short.
At times we deserve the same censure, when we fail to fulfill our mission of preaching the gospel to the entire world. Will we wake up in time?
Forgive me, Lord, when I try to act without faith, alone, in fulfilling your mission, without trusting fully in the Spirit’s action in me and in the power of Scripture to save.
Hold this thought: Far from Jesus, our power fails.