Sunday, February 11, 2024

Nothing Impossible (1)

By Clifton Angel

    Jesus comes down from Mount Hermon (see Matthew 17:14–21; Mark 9:14–29; Luke 9:37–42). Peter, James, and John are with him. They witnessed the transfigured Christ talking with Moses & Elijah of his coming death (Matthew 17:1–13). It was so magnificent that Peter wanted to worship all three of them, but he was quickly corrected by God the Father. Jesus charged them to tell no man of the occasion until after his resurrection.
    At the base of the mountain, the other nine apostles were surrounded by a multitude and were being questioned by scribes. Mark says, “straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him” (Mark 9:15). Imagine school children on a playground. One large group is surrounding and bullying a smaller group. When the teacher arrives, the bullies immediately turn to the teacher surprised and act as if they are in her good graces. Jesus asked the scribes, “About what are you questioning my disciples?” (Mark 9:16). The scribes remained silent. “There came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water” (Matthew 17:15). Mark tells us the man’s son is possessed by a demon that has caused him to have fits like epileptic seizures, to be convulsed, foam at the mouth, to grind his teeth, and wither all of his energy. “And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him” (Matt 17:16).
    Jesus’ twelve apostles went to the lost of Israel: “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils” (Matt 10:7–8). Their miracles confirmed that their message was from God. On this occasion, they failed; they were not able to cast out the demon.
    Further investigation reveals there was a malignancy. The cancer, or malignancy, of the scribes, the multitude, the man, and the disciples was: lack of faith. The scribes’ lack of faith is evident in the fact that they were “questioning” or “arguing” with the disciples. The multitude’s lack of faith is seen in the exclamation of Jesus: “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?” (Matthew 17:17). The disciples’ lack of faith is bluntly revealed by Jesus when after all was over they privately asked him, “Why could we not cast out this demon?” Jesus responded: “Because of your unbelief” (Matthew 17:20). The epileptic boy’s father’s lack of faith is seen in his words to Jesus, “If you can.” Jesus’ response was, “If you can.” There should be no question about Jesus’ ability; rather, the burden was turned on the father’s ability to believe. This man’s reaction is the most honorable because he recognized his unbelief. “Straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Have we examined our own faith deficiencies and turned to Jesus for help?

- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website:

No comments:

Post a Comment