ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE?
Date: December 28
Category: Divine Healing
"And He answered them, O unbelieving generation [without any faith]! How long shall I [have to do] with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to Me."
This is quite a rebuke that Jesus gave to his disciples. At the time, a man had brought his son to Jesus because his son had a dumb spirit (verse 17). This dumb spirit was dashing him down and causing him to convulse, foam at the mouth and grind his teeth. His son was falling into a motionless stupor, and was wasting away (verse 18). This man had asked the disciples to cast the dumb spirit out but the disciples were unable to, so he brought his son before Jesus.
Then in verse 19 we read that Jesus rebuked His disciples. Jesus called them an "unbelieving generation [without any faith]." The reason they couldn't cast out the spirit was they didn't have any faith. They were full of doubts and questioned whether or not their prayers would work. Then Jesus said, "How long shall I [have to do] with you?" In the German translation, Hoffnung fuer Alle, (which means, ‘hope for all'), this part of the verse says, "When are you finally going to begin believing?" That was the disciples' key problem. They had not begun to believe in the power that Jesus had invested into them. Instead, they were trying to cast out this demon in their own strength.
Jesus was quite unhappy with the disciples because they had not begun to believe, and that was the decision that they made. The disciples' belief did not depend on Jesus. It depended on them. Faith is a choice. The choice to have faith in order to drive out demons in Jesus name, to declare health over people in Jesus name, and to perform signs and wonders in Jesus name is ours to make. God will not make that decision for us. He has already pronounced His Word and given us the power we need. But we are the ones who choose to open our mouths with faith. The Word has been declared; now it's our job to believe that Word. That's how miracles happen in our lives.
In verse 23b Jesus said, "All things can be (are possible) to him who believes!" If we believe that means we are persuaded that something is true, and we place our confidence in that truth. It means we have full trust, dependence, and reliance upon that which God says. So here God is saying that all things are possible to those who believe. He doesn't say that some things are possible. He says that everything is possible to those who believe, those who decide to place their trust, dependence, and reliance upon God and His Word.
So the question is not "Am I going to succeed?" The question is "Am I going to believe?" Half of your success depends on your faith. The other half depends on your actions. When you have faith for something, that faith will move you towards action. So the combination of your believe and your act of faith in the Word will bring you to success.
In verse 25b we read what Jesus did, once the man brought his son before Him. "He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, You dumb and deaf spirit, I charge you to come out of him and never go into him again." In other words, Jesus commanded that deaf and dumb spirit to come out of the boy, and that's exactly what happened. In verses 26-27 we read, "And after giving a [hoarse, clamouring, fear-stricken] shriek of anguish and convulsing him terribly, it came out; and the boy lay [pale and motionless] like a corpse, so that many of them said, He is dead. But Jesus took [a strong grip of] his hand and began lifting him up, and he stood."
Now there are some situations where more time is required before a miracle comes. In verse 29 we read, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything bur prayer and fasting." Sometimes we are required to keep persevering until the miracle takes place. In this case, the disciples needed to keep on praying and fasting. But instead of doing that, they gave up because they had a lack of faith. That's why Jesus rebuked them. So let us learn from this example and let us be men and women of great faith.