Saturday, May 3, 2014

"Low On Faith Or Not?"

So He asked his father, "How long has this been happening?" And he said, "From childhood."

"And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us."

Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" Mark 9:21-24
At this point in this conversation Jesus has come down from the mount of transfiguration to find His disciples in a dispute with the scribes. When He asks them about it the boys father steps out of the crowd surrounding the disciples and explains to Jesus that he had brought his son to Him. When He wasn't there he asked His disciples to cast it out and 'They could not.'

I say this to make note of the fact that as he starts this conversation with Jesus he is in a place of disappointment. The disciples had already tried and failed.  He is not in a place of faith like the woman with the issue of blood who knew in her heart and spoke with her mouth that if, "I just touch the hem of His garment I will be healed." He wasn't in a place of knowing that if He could get him in front of Jesus, even if it meant putting him through a roof like the paralytics friends. That is why I think it is important to understand that as the man says to Jesus, "But if You can do anything, Have compassion on us and help us." If is a pretty important word here. The father, like the leper who dropped at Jesus' feet imploring Him, "If you are willing?" is asking Jesus, If He can and is He willing to help?" He isn't sure. He doesn't know if Jesus can or will help because at this point his question is coming from the place of disappointment and despairing.

Jesus responds with, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Both the father and Jesus started their question and response with an important word in this exchange. IF. "If you can, will you?" The father's if is because he didn't know. Jesus' if is a little less obvious but still very important. Jesus could have said, "All things are possible to him who believes." and taken care of things just that quick, but He didn't, He said, "If you can believe," before He added the all things are possible, (the I can) part of His response. Why? Why would He make this condition, this IF. The Strong's says this word if; is a particle of conditionality. Jesus puts a condition to the father on his helping, not His ability; the all things possible part of His response.

Why? I don't know about you but I can picture this scene in my mind. I can see Jesus looking intently at the father, pointing to him and saying, "If you can believe," and as He finishes with the, "all things are possible to him who believes." He directs his gaze to the son on the ground and the father has a choice to make. Can he believe? Again, Why? Other places throughout the word He doesn't require it. Look at the time He raised the son in the funeral procession. Nobody asked. Nobody else's faith was at work. He did it because He had compassion for the mother. Why this man? Why this condition? You know the verse that says, "He'll do far above all we ask or think..." Look at the man's question again. What did he ask? he said, "But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." He didn't say, "Help my son."  He said, "...have compassion on us and help us."

Jesus was responding in a way that took care of the 'us' part of the man's statement. He may have thought he was just asking for help for his son but the word that came out of the abundance of his heart through his mouth was the word 'us.' Jesus met the boys need for deliverance and the father's need for salvation. The word believe means - to have faith in or upon or with respect to a person or thing; to entrust ones spiritual well-being to Christ. Jesus is saying, "I can and I will. Will you believe in me?" Will you entrust yourself to me? The man's response is, "Yes!"

"Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" He immediately declares Him, "Lord." His confession now is "Lord, I believe." For years I thought that the 'help my unbelief' part was about the fact that there was still a little doubt but the Lord showed me that, You don't go from "If you can?" to "Lord, I believe!" unless there has been a transformation in your heart. I looked up the word unbelief and it means faithlessness, unfaithfulness (disobedience), disbelieving, without Christian faith (spec. a heathen) untrustworthy (person). The thing that the Lord showed me is that the man wasn't being double-minded. He wasn't low on faith. He wasn't declaring belief and unbelief in the same thought. He was doing the same thing you and I did when we got saved.

Today when we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior we say, "Yes" to Him. We declare Him LORD and confess that we BELIEVE that He died to pay for our sins and we ask Him to take care of the sins of our past (our time of UNBELIEF) "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!" Was his declaration and his confession. It was him putting his lack of faithlessness; His unfaithfulness, his heathen nature, his untrustworthiness in Jesus' care. The word help here means; to aid or relieve. It was his declaration that his 'unbelief' was being submitted to the Lordship of Jesus!"

As Christians we often quote this verse, well, at least I know that I do. "All things are possible to him who believes." Why? Because I believe it. I believe that any and all things are possible. I believe that the world came to be as God spoke the words, "Let there be." I believe that you and I can speak to storms, walk on water, and raise the dead. I believe that Joshua spoke and the sun stood still. I believe that the lions mouths will be shut up, and even in the midst of a fiery furnace He is well able. I believe that the waters heaped to provide a way out for the people of God as His presence kept their enemy at bay. I believe manna fell from heaven and that angels minister to and for God's people. I believe! I believe in every miracle, every divine appointment, every miraculous provision! I believe that every word of God is true and that all things are possible!

I believe because Jesus is my LORD and He said, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."

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