Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Faltering Faith of a Fearful Father

No doubt, he had spent countless hours attending to his son; his only son. The spirit had sought to destroy the boy many times. This father was not new to the sufferings of his child, for they had been since childhood. Often he had rescued his son from being burned by fire or from drowning in water. The nights must have been long in that home. "We can't sleep, if we don't watch him every moment, something will happen to him." This father had been stretched and pressed. His faith was weak and he was tired. In another attempt to save his boy, he brings the child to Jesus. The disciples had not been able to cast out the demon. A rebuke comes straight from the mouth of our Lord. Literally, "O unbelieving generation, how long with you shall I be? How long shall I endure you." Luke puts it this way, "O generation unbelieving and having been perverted, until when shall I be with you and endure you?" This was a rebuke and it was not without warrant. The crowd had been listening to a debate between the disciples and scribes. The debate must have been regarding the issue at hand, concerning the boy with the evil spirit.

Looking a little closer, we see a sharp rebuke to everyone involved in the story. The disciples should have understood by now. They had seen Jesus heal people, cast out demons, do miracles, and they themselves had been sent out and done similar things. Yet here they fell short. How about the scribes? It is important to remember who they were! They were the ones who knew the scriptures. They were well educated, knew the original languages, the customs of the Jews, they were the literal interpreters, and were the authority concerning the scriptures or writings. It seems fitting that the disciples and scribes were rebuked, but we may not expect a rebuke on the father. However, it seems as though this man receives the sharpest rebuke of them all. Jesus questioned the father regarding the boy. The father makes an interesting statement, "If you can do anything, help us, have compassion." Jesus says to the man, "If you can, all things are possible to him that believes." I find much encouragement in the greek here. Literally, "All things possible to the believing." The belief is active. We see a quick reception of the rebuke by the father. He immediately cries out to Jesus, "I believe, help my unbelief." The greek word for unbelief here carries an "a" in front- (apistia). No faith; "I believe but I don't believe, help me."

I need this rebuke today. I woke up this morning in anxiety. Not believing that my Lord is able to handle all things. I was weighed down by life. Life is hard and sin is terrible. I was meditating on the words of God, "In the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die." We know that Adam died when he ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and that all his offspring died too, that means you and me. We don't know how depraved we are. Even after the Lord opens our eyes and we are free from the burden and sickness of sin; we still find ourselves weighed down by it. It is good to fight for our lives. "If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness." I woke up in unbelief this morning, God by His grace helped me, He led me to Mark 9, I am now crying out, "Lord I believe, but I don't believe, help me." O, how precious is Jesus' love! He endures with us everyday. His promise is true, "I will never leave nor forsake you," "My peace I give," "I will not leave you as orphans." I hear the call once again, "Come to me all ye who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." I know I am justified by the shedding of Christ's blood. I don't always remember that I am sanctified and being sanctified. Press forward in hop of the glory of God. Fight the good fight of faith and look to the author and finisher of your faith!

Here are a couple of videos to help the fight of faith:


Again, my pastor has said it really really well:

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