Matthew 17:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 17:19, NIV: "Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, 'Why couldn't we drive it out?'"

Matthew 17:19, ESV: "Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”"

Matthew 17:19, KJV: "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?"

Matthew 17:19, NASB: "Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, 'Why could we not drive it out?'"

Matthew 17:19, NLT: "Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, 'Why couldn't we cast out that demon?'"

Matthew 17:19, CSB: "Then the disciples approached Jesus privately and said, "Why couldn't we drive it out?""

What does Matthew 17:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus has cast a demon from a boy (Matthew 17:18). It was causing symptoms like epilepsy, including seizures and foaming at the mouth. Unlike "normal" epilepsy, however, these events frequently happen in crucial moments, throwing the boy into fire and water. Jesus was not available when the boy first arrived with his father. He was up on a mountain with Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1). The remaining nine of the twelve disciples (Matthew 10:1–4) attempted to cast the demon out themselves, as Jesus had given them the power and authority to do (Matthew 10:8). They failed.

Jesus responded to their failure with exasperation, lumping them in with a "faithless and twisted" generation (Matthew 17:17). Now, the disciples want to understand what went wrong. They sincerely attempted to cast the demon out, and they don't know why they were unable to do so. They come to Jesus privately, after they are away from the crowd, and ask Him in all earnestness why they couldn't do it. He will explain the heart of the issue in the following verse.