Summary: The consequences when we have a power failure in our Christian lives.
“Power Failures” never come at a convenient time. They usually come in the middle of a good movie that you’ve been waiting to watch or you’ve really gotten into. I remember one time I was watching a movie that was like four hours long and three and a half hours into the movie the cable company had a power outage. I was so frustrated and I never did find out what happened in the end. If there is ever a good time for a power failure it’s when you aren’t there to know you’ve had one. Obviously if a power failure last long enough it can have some consequences that are not pleasant. I remember when we had the power outage with the tornado that hit a couple of Easters ago. I was beginning to worry about the food in the refrigerator and freezer. That’s always one of the things you worry about when a power outage seems like it’s not going to be a short one. They always tell you to make sure you open your refrigerator and freezer only when necessary during an outage. Of course you have to be careful with your appliances. They advise you to turn off or disconnect appliances that will go on automatically when the power comes back on. Power failures can do some serious damage in some cases. And of course when the old power failure strikes when you are sleeping and you don’t know your alarm clock has now been disabled that makes for a crazy morning when you awake. Power failures just aren’t a good thing.
Today in our text some of the disciples had a power failure. I believe their power failure brought some negative consequences. This morning we are going to look at those consequences and how they can apply to our lives when we experience a power failure.
To set the stage for our text today, Jesus had been up on the Mountain with James, John and Peter. It was a tremendous time of them experiencing the power of Jesus as He transfigured before them. While they were there Elijah and Moses even made guest appearances. Peter wanted to build shelters for them all and never leave there. As they were coming down the mountain Jesus had told them not to tell anyone about this experience until He had risen from the dead. They still didn’t know what that meant. When they got back to the other disciples they were surrounded by a crowd and they were arguing with teachers of the law.
I like the way the book of Mark describes this incident because it gives much more details than the other gospels. Jesus is asking what the argument is about. A man in the crowd, the father of the boy, steps forward and says,
“I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of his speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit but they could not.” It’s interesting to note that many commentators say the boy symptoms seem to suggest epilepsy. But the scriptures seem to suggest demon possession so I’m going to go with that. Maybe it was demon-induced epilepsy. Jesus responds by saying, “Oh unbelieving generation, how long must I stay with you.” I believe Jesus’ words here were aimed at his disciples whom he was very disappointed with. Now Jesus’ words here seem to suggest that the disciples had a lack of faith. But according to Mark that wasn’t the full story. The disciples were baffled. It wasn’t that long ago that Jesus had given them the power and authority over demons when he sent them out into the towns and villages. They successfully drove out demons from people. It was evident that they had been given the power. But in this one case they had a power failure and they could not drive the demon from this boy. Maybe with each attempt their faith began to lessen. So when Jesus went inside away from the crowd they asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” Jesus replied, “This kind can only come out by prayer.” It seems that the disciples had taken the power that they had been given for granted. They no longer depended prayerfully upon God for it, and their failure showed their lack of prayer. To keep the power you must stay connected to the power source. The disciples seemed to think that once they had it they should just keep it. But their power to do the work of God and break down the strongholds of the enemy were tied to their prayer life and their relationship with God. Unfortunately we as Christians I believe get caught up in that same trap. We go through that time where our devotion life with God is strong and we can feel his power working through us. We begin to feel good about that. Then when our time and connection with God begins to slip it never occurs to us that when that happens we are destined for a power failure. Because when you do not have the connection you need with God then it becomes something done in your power and not Gods. We are left scratching our heads and saying, “What’s going on?”