“And when they were come to the multitude, there came to Him a certain man, kneeling down to Him and saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is lunatic and sore vexed—for oftentimes he falls into the fire and often into the water. And, I brought him to Your disciples and they could not cure him’. . .And Jesus rebuked the devil and he departed out of him—and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could not we cast him out?’ And Jesus said unto them, ‘Because of your unbelief’. . .”
Matthew 17:14-16, 18-20a
The two questions we must constantly ask ourselves are “Do I really believe what Jesus said?” and “Is He able?”
Jesus knew what He was doing when He said “Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein” (Lk. 18:17). He knew a small child is both simple in his understanding and approach to things. . .and also quite trusting of those upon whom he/she is dependent.
In reality, the focus of today’s Manna is more upon the disciples’ lack of faith than it is upon the demon-possessed young man or Jesus’ Power to deliver him. And, if we’re honest, we’ll readily confess that we’re more often than not as powerless as the disciples were that day. That’s why Jesus’ words “Because of your unbelief” are so convicting and piercing even today.
We say we believe what Jesus said—but do we?
We say He’s Lord of our lives—but is He?
We say we’re living by faith—but are we?
Oh, dear Pilgrim, how easily we succumb to doubt and others’ insinuations and accusations. Like the recipients of the Epistle to the Hebrews we’ve “not yet resisted unto blood while striving against sin” (Heb. 12:4), which means we’ve not really suffered that much in comparison to those who’ve died for their faith (Heb. 11:32-40).
Instead, we’re afraid of the “sword of the tongue” (others’ criticisms, verbal attacks on our faith and conduct, differing of beliefs, etc.). A part of this is because of unfamiliarity with God’s Word. But, a lot of it is because of our “unbelief.”
Think of it:
Do we really believe what Jesus said “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on Me, the works that I do shall he do also—and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father” (Jn. 14:12)?
If the truth be known, not very much.
Instead we analyze it. . .debate it. . .try to explain it away. . .when, in reality, the problem rests in the area of unbelief. This isn’t a call to a “name it and claim it” type of faith—for such is rooted in pride and the flesh; however, it is a call to simple faith that’s rooted in Who Jesus is and what He promised (Heb. 11:6) and grows through spiritual discipline and deeper trust in the Master (Mt. 17:20b-21; Phil. 2:12b). It’s not a matter of how much faith we have; it’s a matter of how much we trust Jesus.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna July 26, 2009