Study from God’s Word… More selections from the Synoptic Gospels by Dr. Smith revealing Jesus traveling through upper Galilee, teaching his Disciples about their inability to see Jesus’ kingdom teachings clearly ... see passage references on pages 1410 – 1415 of The Daily Bible in Chronological Order … Passage for Reflection: Mark 9: 24 [from the description of Jesus confronting the faith of a father whose boy was demon possessed and epileptic – the father desperate for his son’s healing – see Mark 9: 14-29]… NIV Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed [at Jesus’ inquiry as to his faith), “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
My Journal for Today: Dr. Smith begins his devotional entry for this date with a faith challenge. He writes the following questions (answer each with a simple “YES or NO”) …
• Do you believe that Jesus is The Christ, … the Son of the living God? … YES/NO
• Do you believe in the virgin birth? … YES/NO
• Do you believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God? … YES/NO
• Do you believe that, with enough faith, you could literally move a mountain from one location to another? … YES/NO
Well, if you’re like me – as a Bible-believing, staunch follower of Jesus Christ, you were confident of responding “YES” to the first three of these questions. Then your answer to the fourth question might have been a bit more – if not a lot – more hesitant.
Today Dr. Smith, as the editor of The Daily Bible in Chronological Order, took his readers and students of Scripture through sections of the Synoptic Gospels where Jesus was trying to give His inner twelve Disciples a deeper understanding of how they needed to have a more committed faith in Him as THE Messiah and the Son of God. We see, as Jesus was traveling through the northern regions of Galilee, before He would head back to Jerusalem and to Calvary, the Disciples had come to the place where they really desired to place their faith in this man, Jesus, as their Messiah. Three of the twelve had even been given a walk up Mount Herman and witnessed Jesus transfigured and speaking with Moses and Elijah. The Disciples had been sent out into the countryside and had been empowered, by Jesus, with the ability to heal the sick and raise the dead. Yet, even after this, upon their return to Jesus, the Lord perceived that their faith in Him was inadequate.
Because in the scenario which is presented in the text today from Mark 9: 14-29 [linked here], we read that the twelve inner disciples, having returned from their ministry travels in the countryside, two-by-two, were perplexed that they could not heal a boy who was epileptic and demon-possessed. And so Jesus, showed them, and the boy’s father, that even a small faith in JESUS Himself, was strong enough to heal and cast out demons.
And we read that prayer of the father (above), where he recognized that his faith in Jesus was there, but incomplete; and he honestly responded to Jesus’ inquiry about his faith with a simple prayer to Jesus to help him in his unbelief. Oh, my friends, that’s a prayer we all need to be diligently praying more often, especially in these days which try our faith.
Back to the three questions above: Do we recognize that our faith is not, as some Word-of-Faith teachers claim these days, in our own faith? Our faith, as God’s word clearly states (see Eph. 2: 8-9), comes from God’s enabling/empowering grace. Yes, we must receive, by faith, God’s grace; and it is our own ability to do that which determines whether, in God’s scheme of things, we can or cannot move mountains. As Dr. Smith says in his devotional for today, ”Believing the affirmations of Christian faith is light-years away from having the depth of faith that makes those affirmations fully empowering. Most of us are staunch believers and fearful unbelievers … all at the same time. Were there not so great a gap of faith in all of us, Everest itself would have reason to tremble!”
And that, my friends and reader-followers, pretty well describes my faith – or lack thereof. How about you?
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me today in my unbelief!! Amen