In Luke 9:28-36 Peter, John and James were privileged to see Jesus in all His true glory. As Jesus was praying to His Father secluded on the top of a mountain with the three, his face became altered and His clothes transformed to a dazzling white. If that was shocking enough, Jesus starts having a conversation with Moses and Elijah. As the disciples started asking if they could just stay in this moment, God encompasses them with a cloud and tells them that Jesus is His Son, the Chosen One, and to listen to Him. They were shaken. And after this spiritual high, seeing Jesus in all His glory hanging out with His homeboys, Moses and Elijah, the disciples get rebuked by Jesus a few verses later. And you thought you’ve had emotional extremes? After coming home from the mountain the next day, a great crowd found Jesus and the disciples and a man from the crowd cried out and begged for Jesus to cast out a demon out of his son. He says that he pleaded with the disciples to do it but they couldn’t. To that statement Jesus says this:
“O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.”
I can only imagine what the disciples were thinking when hearing this after the transfiguration of Jesus the day before. However it doesn’t take much imagination because Jesus calls them out over the exact issue we still struggle with and are rebuked for. We get more clarity on that issue from the Gospel account of Mark who gives greater details of this encounter in Mark 9. Jesus is disappointed in their lack of faith along with the father of the son’s lack of faith. I’m always amazed at my lack of faith at times after experiencing saving faith through salvation and I should not be surprised that they displayed the same unbelief, even after seeing Jesus in all His glory. After the father describes the demonic attacks to Jesus, the man says “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus points out the big “BUT IF” in that father’s statement with this… “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” And then verse 24 of Mark 9 says: “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!'”
I BELIEVE; HELP MY UNBELIEF.
Talk about a cry of my heart and many others. I believe in the Gospel. I believe that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me, will never leave me and Has a perfect will for me. I believe He desires for the lost to be found, the broken to be restored and for marriages and families to be reconciled back to each other. I believe He cares for the suffering and He is sovereign over the darkness. I believe, but help my unbelief. Help me in the times I pray “IF IT’S IN YOUR WILL” not because that’s how Jesus prayed but because I’m using it as an excuse when I don’t have faith that you’ll do it. Help my unbelief in certain counseling situations when I’m treading lightly because I don’t have enough faith in your miraculous intervention or true life change. Help my unbelief when I say “Well, I know God CAN do it BUT let’s also be realistic here.” Let us know that each time we do this, Jesus could be saying to us the same thing He said to the father of the demon possessed child—”If you can?!?! All things are possible for one who believes.”
One thing that can help our unbelief right now is taking heed to what Jesus says to the disciples when they ask why they couldn’t cast out this specific demon when they were able to do it to previous demons (Mark 9:29). Jesus tells them “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” Prayer is so interlinked with our faith AND lack of faith that Jesus is implying and encouraging them to spend more time in communication with their Heavenly Father because He knows it will lead to growth in their faith. May we truly live out our faith as well.
Where are you struggling with a lack of faith? How can we pray for you?
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor