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Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Place of Faith

I’ve been noticing the place that faith has in the miracles and healings of Jesus. Faith played a big part in whether or not people were healed or experienced miracles in their lives. One example of a lack of faith was when Jesus returned to his hometown in Mark 6:1-6, it says,

“And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief.” Mark 6:5

Then also there is the lack of faith of the disciples themselves. When Jesus and Peter, John and James were on the mount of transfiguration, the disciples had a man bring his son to them. The disciples attempted to cast out the demon, but were unable to. It says in Mark 9:17-18

“And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him to the ground and he foams at the mount and grinds his teeth, and stiffens out, And I told your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.” Mark 9:17-18

Jesus response to this is to call them the “unbelieving generation”. He wonders aloud how long he is to put up with them. It sounds like he is getting tired of the immaturity and the doubt.

I can really relate to the disciples because many times my faith is small. I struggle to understand why God answers some prayers and allows others to linger for months or years. I wonder at the evil in the world and why he allows people to do such horrible things. I wonder at the haphazard and chaotic world we live in and the randomness of tragedy. Before I am too hard on the disciples for not being able to cast out this boy’s demons, I need to admit that the results probably would have been near the same if I had been there. They often have been in different circumstances.

To those of us who are more pessimistic that optimistic, Jesus gives us these words in Mark 11:23-24

“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him. Therefore, I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them; and they shall be granted you.”

I think one of the keys of this is to meditate upon and focus not on the mountain, but on the size of God and his omnipotence. For many of us, we see the size of the mountain and realize how big it is and begin to feel overwhelmed. We think about all the times we have failed in the past and get our eyes off of God and on to ourselves. We know that we are weak and often fail. The old tape begins to play that says, “You won’t change. You can’t change. Everything will stay the same.” And we make the mistake of believing it. Instead of replacing that tape, getting our eyes off of ourselves and on to how great and awesome God is. If our eyes are there, then our faith will grow. If our eyes are on the mountain, we will get discouraged and bow again to hopelessness.

Some examples of faith in miracles and healings

The leper believed Jesus could heal him Mark 1:40-41

The woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years Mark 5:25-34

The woman whose daughter was near death Mark 7:28-29

The father who brought his son to Jesus Mark 9:24-25

Bartimaeus receives his sight Mark 10:51-52

The Centurion’s servant John 7:6-10

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