Summary: What happens when we won't or can't believe? Who and what should we believe in?
Let Go of Your Unbelief
(begin with video clip from Frozen Elsa and Ana in the palace discussing it becoming like it was, ends with Ana being struck.)
You ever find it difficult to believe? In the clip that we just watched Ana is trying to convince her sister the queen that everything will be all right and they can return to what was. She sees the future for what it could be and perhaps what it should be, her sister on the other hand just can’t believe that things can ever be right again. There are times that you see that Elisa wants to believe but there is just something in the way.
In the story that was read earlier we read of a different type of unbelief. This story happens right after Jesus returns from what is often referred to as the Mount of Transfiguration along with Peter, James and John and they discover the other apostles in a fairly heated dispute with a crowd that has gathered. It seems that one of the men had brought his child to the disciples to be healed, because he heard that’s what Christ followers did. Specifically according to the boy’s father the child had been under the influence of an evil spirit since his birth. Not sure what we would call it today but that’s what they called it two thousand years ago, sound a little bit like epilepsy. Whatever or whoever was causing the young man’s problems the disciples were unable to heal him.
And the family was disappointed and the religious leaders seemed a little testy. And it is here that Jesus steps back into the story and asks what’s going on. And it is from the boy’s father that we get the narrative.
And it is from his account that we get the details. His son had been like this from birth, and so he brought the boy for Jesus to heal and when he discovers that Jesus wasn’t with the group he asks the remaining disciples to perform a miracle for him, but apparently they weren’t up to the task.
It’s interesting that man doesn’t say that he came looking for a heavenly miracle, a touch of the divine. He wasn’t looking for a touch from God, he just saw Jesus as someone who could fix his son. And when Jesus wasn’t there he went to the B team and asked that they heal his son.
I think the most telling part of the story was when he gets done bringing Jesus up to speed he says Mark 9:22 “. . .Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” How often do we pray that way, even if we don’t verbalize it? God help me, if you can. God heal me, if you can. God forgive me, if you can.
And Jesus looks at him and says “Let Go of Your Unbelief”. Well not in so many words but close. What he says is Mark 9:23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
Through the years one of my lines has been “Faith will never ask more than that you believe.” And while most of the world will tell you that they won’t believe it unless they can see it Jesus reminds us that we won’t see it unless we can believe it.
And the father responds with this awesome statement of complete honesty. Mark 9:24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
How often have you felt like that father? You know, your prayer is “I believe, help my unbelief.” We say we believe but deep in our hearts we aren’t entirely sure that we do. This morning I would challenge you to “Let Go of Your Unbelief”. And in letting go of our unbelief there are things that we will by default have to believe in.
We Must Believe in God The rest of the message hinges on this one. It there is no God there is no reason to believe. And we are given the very essence of belief in Hebrews 11:6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. And what is faith? Well that same chapter in the bible begins with a definition of faith, Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. I can’t make you believe in God. If you don’t see God in the wonder of creation you won’t see God in my messages or my arguments. (barber video)
And for some folks that is enough, to believe in God. But there are more things that we need to believe in.