Monday, February 6, 2017
Obtaining Powerful Faith
“And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.” (Mark 9:14-15)
When Jesus came down from the Mount of Transfiguration, with Peter, James and John, he found the other nine of his disciples surrounded by a crowd, with the scribes interrogating them. When the People saw him they came running to greet him.
“And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?
And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. “ (Mark 9:16-18)
When Jesus asked why they were interrogating his disciples, one of the men explained that his son had a demonic spirit that made him unable to talk intelligibly. He had brought him to the nine and they had not been able to heal him. They were questioning why some were healed and others were not. Perhaps it was just some kind of scam. Every time someone claims they can heal and then fails to heal someone, it casts doubt on God’s power.
“He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him?
And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.” (Mark 9:20-22)
Jesus asked How long he would have to put up with their lack of faith. The demon was afraid of being cast out and cause the boy to have a seizure in an effort to keep from being cast out. Jesus asked how long they had been living with this situation, and was told it had started when he was just a little child. The father asked Jesus to do whatever he could for his son.
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 23-24)
Jesus told the father that with faith, anything is possible, and the father asked for help in believing. Unfortunately, many motivational teachers today use this verse to convince people that you can make things happen by just believing in them. It is a false teaching. Positive thinking will not make anything happen. What Jesus was saying was that if we could believe, God could make it happen, because as Matthew 19:26 tells us, “…with God all things are possible.” It is not man’s faith that makes things happen, it is God’s power. Faith in his power inspires God to act.
“When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.” (Mark 9:25-27)
Jesus ordered the evil spirit to leave and not bother the boy any more. Just as a tenant who doesn’t pay his rent and is evicted may get angry and trash the house, the evil spirit tried to trash the boy before he moved out, leaving him unconscious. Jesus took him by the hand and he recovered completely.
“And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. “ (Matthew 9:28-29)
Many have interpreted Jesus’ statement as meaning that if we want a certain result, we need to spend more time fasting and praying about it. Isaiah 58:4 tells us, “… ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.” Fasting and prayer where we try to pressure God into doing what we want is sin. Isaiah 58:6-7 tells what kind of fast pleases God. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Fasting that pleases God is about eliminating sin from our lives and getting to know God and whathe wants. When we do so, Isaiah 58:9 promises, “Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. …” Proper fasting leads to our listening to God, and as Romans 10:17 tells us, “… faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”