"After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high
mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His
clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach
them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with
Jesus." (Mark 9:2-4, NIV2)
Peter, James and John had witnessed an out-of-the-world mountain experience. They had heard the following words from God the Father: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" (Mark 9:7, NIV2); but moments later, after they went down the mountain, they were completely puzzled.
Before going into this dilemma, let us remember the commission Jesus had given to each one of his disciples: "Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness." (Matt 10:1, NIV2) They had received power that could cure anything: disease, sickness, heart breaks and even driving out demons. They should be able to face anything! They had experienced that power and healed so many people that it would have made our heads spin. However, now the disciples were left wanting. A father had begged these disciples to heal his boy who was possessed by demons, and though they had tried, they were without success.
The dad, frustrated, told Jesus: "I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not." (Mark 9:18b, NIV2)
If we were in their situation, would we have been able to do any different? Would we have even tried? Would we decide it wasn't worth our time, as this was truly impossible? Why try the impossible?
Jesus' reaction is our wakeup call: "You unbelieving generation!" (Mark 9:19a, NIV2) The source of this fiasco was unbelief, and that very source of unbelief has rooted itself in many of us. If you don't believe me, where are the wonders today that the first century Christians experienced? Didn't Jesus declare firmly: "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father." (John 14:12-13, NIV) Do we truly believe that this is possible?
Interestingly enough, the father of that demonic child had a problem with faith as well. That poor man had witnessed his son's suffering for such a long time that this became his only reality. No wonder he exclaimed in frustration to Jesus: "If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." (Mark 9:22b, NIV2)
Jesus replied: "If you can? Everything is possible for one who believes." (Mark 9:23, NIV2)
How many among us pray that way: "If you can . . .", "If it is your will . . ." Does our Father really want to see us suffering in pain? If that is what we truly believe, we have the wrong assumption about our God. Do we truly believe He is a sadist? No wonder our faith is floundering. We either believe or we don't.
May we always remember Jesus's reply: "Everything is possible for one who believes." This is where we are lacking: belief!
The father acknowledged his unbelief and declared something subliminal: "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24b, NIV2)
Most of us, we too, have a lot of unbelief. Only Jesus can give us this kind of faith. Unbelief hinders us from experiencing our Heavenly Father fully. We have to set aside our hardened hearts and hunger to experience Jesus fully, for He is the only One who can help us truly believe.
The son was healed, but something was bothering Jesus' disciples. "After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, 'Why couldn't we drive it out?'" (Mark 9:28, NIV2) After all they had been commisioned to heal others!
How often do we hear that from others, as well as ourselves: "I prayed! Nothing happened!"
The solution is quite simple: "This kind can come out only by prayer." (Mark 9:29, NIV2)
Wait a minute! Didn't the disciples pray big time? In fact they were desperately praying! After all, their reputation was at stake!
They truly didn't know how to pray, however, even though they had been with Jesus for so long. One day they asked Jesus: "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." (Luke 11:1b, NIV2)
Many of our prayers are to-do lists. "God heal so and so, and grant me favor at work. A new car would be nice as well and maybe a new house, it wouldn't hurt you know!"
Are we showing any love towards our Father? Are we appreciating Him and hungering to experience Him fully? Do we have any thirst to worship Him?
Maybe that's our problem. How is it even possible to believe when we do not know how to pray to our Heavenly Father? May we start praying in full gusto: "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24b, NIV2)
I had no choice but to buy a new car. Against my wishes, I had to give up my beloved Sienna that I had driven for more than 13 years. The catalytic converter had given up the ghost, and the price of replacing it was more than the car was worth. In the end, I traded it in on a diesel Volkswagen. Unlike my former vehicle, however, this one has a manual transmission, and with it, a clutch.
Never have I experienced such a powerful vehicle. Wow! It can outrun any gas vehicle and will attain 55-60 miles per gallon. Unheard of! This powerful engine is powerless, however, if I don't use the clutch. No matter what I do, the vehicle won't move unless I use the clutch.
The same is true with faith. We have a lot of power from heaven at our disposal, but without using our heavenly clutch, we will remain powerless. We are left wanting.
Next time we will discover how powerful prayer and faith combined can be, and how this can truly move mountains. In other words: Let's start using our spiritual clutch!
The Illustrator: This daily newsletter is dedicated to encouraging everyone to look towards Jesus as the source of all the solutions to our problems. It contains a daily inspirational story, a Bible verse and encouraging messages. HTML and plain text versions available.
The Nugget: Published three times a week, this newsletter features inspirational devotionals and mini-sermons dedicated to drawing mankind closer to each other and to Christ.