Summary: We know from previous passages of scripture that Jesus had given them the authority to heal and they had been successful many times. But this time they seem to be in over their heads. They pray and nothing happens.
"The Intersection of Faith and Doubt"
We find in the scripture that nearly 40 times Jesus performed an act of healing. Water to wine. Fed 5000 without very little food. He healed the blind, the deaf; the lame. And the reason was simple: it was never just about the healing…it was always to teach a lesson. And that was certainly the case in this passage we look at tonight.
We know from previous passages of scripture that Jesus had given them the authority to heal and they had been successful many times. But this time they seem to be in over their heads. They pray and nothing happens. When we face this sort of dilemma our faith is tested. And it brings us to the question….is it possible to believe but to have doubts as well? Or are there only 2 options? I believe! I don’t believe?
It’s hard to tell exactly what is happening here….some kind of argument going on here…but seems to me it is related to their inability to heal the young man. Probably went something like this…hey if you can’t heal him and YOU represent this man named Jesus then why should we believe that He can do it? In verse 19, listen to what Jesus says to them. V. 19. Now it is a common belief that this young man had epilepsy. Look at the signs. A spirit seized him. Threw him to the ground. He foamed at the mouth. Gnashed his teeth. Became rigid.
It seemed to be a faith issue. We pray. We hope. But we don’t 100% believe. The truth is many of us are just like the boy’s father….The boy’s father says in verse 21b, “if you can, please help us. Jesus says what do you mean if I can? Is the Pope catholic? Of course I can. Which prompts the father to make this statement. “I do believe, Lord help my unbelief.”
So we see now there are 3 options…I believe! I don’t believe? I believe but I have doubts. All of us fall into this category at one time or another. If you haven’t experienced this yet, it’s only because you haven’t lived long enough. We often question our faith. After all, an unquestioned faith is not worth very much.
Tonight I want to ask you where you are. We are closing out another year and where is your faith? What kind of year has it been for you? None of us are immune from tragedy, pain, heartache. You may have in your own home, in your job, with your friends or with your family someone who is creating division right now….a crisis perhaps and your faith has collided with your fear and you don’t know what to do. I hope this will be a piece of good news for you tonight…When we face up to our doubts, when we allow faith and fear to sort of intersect, to collide, that is when we actually give God room to do what only He can do. Notice what happens here.
• Several things Jesus did not say here. He didn’t say, sorry nothing can be done here... you don’t have enough faith.
• He didn’t say, why don’t you come back later and in the meantime try to muster up little more faith. Once your faith hits a certain level, then I can do something.
Instead, Jesus just reached out and healed the boy.