And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes."Mark 9:23(NASB)
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus of Nazareth went about doing good, healing all manner of sickness, and delivering all who were oppressed of the devil. His object was not simply a 'quick-fix' physical cure for the moment, but a 'long-term' spiritual healing, with eternal consequences. When approached by those who desired healing, the Lord Jesus made sure he addressed the 'faith' issue, and the healing of the demon-possessed boy demonstrates this in a beautiful way.
The Lord Jesus had just been transfigured on the mountaintop in front of three of His amazed disciples, but then descended to the valley where a distressed father had unsuccessfully sought healing for his demon-possessed child. These three had glimpsed the heavenly realm, but returned to the stark reality of a groaning creation, life's seemingly endless problems, and their own limited understanding which depressed their spirit.
A distraught father had come to ask Jesus to heal his son. All Christ's disciples had been given the power and authority to heal the sick and cast out demons, but when attempting to heal this man's son - they failed miserably. Not only did they question God's power to heal in their own hesitant hearts, but undermined the faith of this anguished man causing him to doubt Christ's ability to heal.
It was from the glory of the transfiguration to the desperate situation of a failed healing and the faltering faith of His chosen disciples, that Christ came. The devastated man hurriedly rehearsed all that had happened as Jesus drew near. Out of the crowd, the man approached Him: "Teacher," he pleaded, "I brought my son to You. He has a spirit that makes him unable to speak. Wherever it seizes him, he has convulsions; it throws him down; he foams at the mouth; grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked Your disciples to drive it out, but they couldn't."
What a scene! "But if You can do anything - have compassion on us and help us," was the father's heartbroken request. The very men that were to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and empowered to perform mighty miracles in Christ's name and preach the gospel of the kingdom, were powerless to cast out this dumb spirit and so they received the strongest of rebukes for their lack of faith, from their Master.
But Christ's compassionate heart quickly turned to the man and his mute son and Jesus gently picked-up on his faltering faith and hesitant entreaty: "If You can?" He mildly scolded, "ALL things are possible to him who believes."
It was not Christ's ability to heal that was in question, for He created all things and by Him all things hold together. It was the man's faith in CHRIST that had been severely impacted. It was his faith that Jesus needed to restore. But by God's grace he was able to cry out, "LORD I believe, help my unbelief," and he was rewarded with a son who was healed and a faith that was increased.
Faith sets no limit on God's ability, for the one who is ready and willing to trust Him in all things, submit to His will, and not permit mountainous problems or seemingly impossible situations to adversely influence their faith in God's ability, is the one who will witness great things in their life.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and His ability to heal the broken-hearted, cast out demons, set the captive free, make the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, has never diminished over time. For as Jeremiah reminds us, "Nothing is too difficult for You."
Heavenly Father, thank You for the lessons I can learn from the man who cried out to the Lord Jesus for help and was reminded that "all things are possible to him who believes." May I never forget that You are the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that Your power to heal and help in every situation, is as sure today as it was when You healed the sick and turned water into wine. Thank You that by grace through faith in Jesus, I can come to the throne of grace for mercy to find help in time of need. Keep me from doubting Your Word, increase my faith in the days ahead, and prevent me from being adversely influenced by the mountainous situations I seem to be facing. Lord, I do believe. Increase my love and trust for You. In Jesus' name, AMEN.