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I don’t really know a lot about spiders’ webs, so I just leave the Morning’s Reading untouched. But the text for the Evening’s Reading is one that should give us hope.
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things [are] possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
I believe that Mark 9:23 has been misinterpreted by the “word of faith” movement. They say this text shows that we can have whatever we want if we have enough faith. And stripped out of its surrounding context, it might be possible to read it that way. But within context (reading both before and after the verse) we see differently. We can see from Mark 9:28-29, that the disciples were having trouble casting this demon out of the boy. And the boy’s father was likely having some doubt about these disciples’ abilities. Then Jesus comes along and the father in essence says to Him, “They cannot do it, can You?”
Jesus responds (in the JIMv paraphrased version), “Yes, I can. All things are possible, under the condition that you believe.” You see I think Jesus is saying it is My will to heal this boy, but I am going to use you as an example. If you believe, I will do the humanly impossible thing, and heal the boy. Sometimes Jesus healed people and faith was NOT a condition. He just did it…because He wanted to do it that way. Other times, He asked people to exhibit some exercise of faith. But always, the power to heal came from the person of Christ, based upon His will.
I believe this is an example of Jesus showing His will in a person’s life and asking that person to call upon Him for the power to follow His will. Jesus ask us to pick up our cross and follow Him.
Then He said to [them] all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)
We cannot due that in our own strength and power. We need God’s empowerment to do it. This episode, with the father and boy, was as much about the father as it was about the boy. What I am encouraged by is the father’s response,
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
I believe Jesus…but please help my unbelief. There is a kernel of faith, a mustard seed. But there is also unbelief, please dear God, help me in removing my unbelief. Clearly, it wasn’t this man’s great show of faith, for simultaneously, he declared his faith to be small. It was his small faith in our GREAT LORD. The miracle…the power is in our LORD and in His willingness to help us when we call upon Him.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I [will be] with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. (Psa 91:15)