Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.''
What an incredible statement. If it wasn't said by the lord Jesus Himself then it might be a little hard to swallow, but here it is in black and white for all who will receive.
Let's look at the the entire verses surrounding this scripture and see what was going on starting with vs. 14.
14. And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. 15. Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. 16. And He asked the scribes, "What are you discussing with them?'' 17. Then one from the multitude answered and said, "Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18. "And wherever he seizes him, he throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast him out, but they could not.'' 19. He answered him and said, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.'' 20. Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. 21. So He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?'' And he said, "From childhood. 22. "And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.'' 23. Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.'' 24. Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!'' 25. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, "You deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him, and enter him no more!'' 26. Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, "He is dead.''
27. But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
Leading up to this event we can see the man had found some of Jesus disciples and came to them for help. The disciples were having a bit of trouble with this, and could not cast the demon out. Several things were going on. They had an audience of the Pharisees, the elite religious leaders of the day were there. The disciples were under pressure to do something with this group right there giving them a hard time. They didn't do so well did they? When Jesus showed up the first thing He said was, in vs.19. He answered him and said, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.'' Jesus response to His disciples was to rebuke them. He was fairly blunt about it wasn't He? He didn't mince words, He said it straight out, and to the point, You are a faithless generation. Ouch.
In todays society people don't respond to this type of rebuke so well. Yet, this is the way that the master is. He chastises those who He loves. He loves us enough to set us straight. I've seen people react very negatively to rebukes. So many times, people are offended. Let's learn from our mistakes and go on.
I would like to point out something while we are here in this scripture, the disciples failed to get the boy delivered didn't they? My question is this, did this mean that it wasn't God's will for the boy to get delivered? We have all failed at one time or another, and some of us more times than we care to count, yet our own failures prove nothing more than we failed. It proves nothing concerning God's will.
I've had people tell me me that they prayed for somebody to receive healing and they didn't get healed, therefore it wasn't God's will to heal them. Their whole basis of faith was based on what they saw and not what the word of God said. We always have to base our faith on the Word of God alone, and not on what we see. The disciples failure didn't prove what God's will was, why should it be any different with us. Lets get up and dust ourselves off, so to speak, and find the answers. The disciples later went to Jesus and said why couldn't we cast him out?
The Word of God is the absolute truth. What we see, is simply what we see. The disciples failure, as we later find out, did not prove what God's will was in this particular situation. It only proved as Jesus said that they were faithless. We know that the disciples took this rebuke to heart because they didn't stay that way forever did they? They became the ones who turned the world upside down as was later recorded in the Book of Acts. They learned from this experience. They didn't go around saying, well I guess it just wasn't God's will to deliver this boy because we couldn't get Him set free. They accepted responsibility for their failure and didn't blame God yet received the instruction.
God's Word never fails, it never has, and it never will! I am the first one to admit that I don't have all the answers, I've failed many times, yet the major difference between someone who has failed and a failure, is that the failure doesn't get back up. We all have this choice to make. Jesus wasn't rebuking them to belittle them, but to empower them. If they would not recognize that they were walking in unbelief, then Jesus could not help them to overcome their unbelief and begin to walk in the faith that He required of them. We all have to be willing to admit, I've missed it and don't have all the answers. This is the first step many times in coming to a greater understanding and getting more revelation. Very simply, if you think you have all the answers, you won't seek after the truth. Be teachable always.
The next point I would like to look at is Jesus' response to the boys father. The father said to Jesus in vs. 22. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.''
Jesus response to this comment is the main focus of this study... 23. Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.'' Jesus responded by getting to the core problem. The man said, if You can do anything, and Jesus immediately turned the tables and said, if you can believe. Jesus didn't respond to the mans immediate need but to the real problem that was deterring him from receiving. The man didn't know how to let go of the problem to receive the answer.
This reminds me of a documentary where it showed these men in Africa catching monkeys. They would set out a Jar of peanuts to lure the monkeys in. The jar had a narrow mouth just large enough for the monkeys to put their hand into. They would reach into the jar and grab a handful of peanuts. They could not take their hand out of the jar with a fist full of peanuts. The only way to get their hand out of the jar was to let go of the peanuts. The monkeys would not let go of the peanuts, and the men would sneak up behind them and catch them. The simple answer was to let go. We have to do the same thing. We have to let go of the problem and put our faith and trust in God. We have to let go of our problem before we can receive our answer.
The body of Christ is still calling out to God to do something. God's response was then as it is now, it's not if God can do something, we know God is more than capable and willing to do something, but if we can believe. God has not changed, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and the way He responds to us has not changed. The part we play will greatly determine the part God plays. Jesus went on to say, all things are possible to him who believes.
To him who believes is talking about anyone who will exercise their faith in God's Word. The boys father tried to dump the problem off on Jesus, didn't he? He went to Jesus begging, help me. Yet, Jesus had a harder rebuke for His disciples than He did for this man didn't He? The disciples knew better, and this man didn't. It wasn't just a rebuke but a teaching experience. Jesus took the time to tell him how to receive the answer.
Jesus knows exactly how to help us receive, he went on to tell him to believe. Jesus put the problem right back on the father. The real problem here needed to be addressed before the boy could receive his deliverance, and we can see the end result of this. The father was so focused on the immediate problem that he didn't realize what the true problem was. Yet, this was the thing that was blocking him from receiving the answer he so desperately wanted, just like the monkeys.
There's something else here I would like to look at. The level of this mans desperation is not what moved Jesus to act, was it? If it was, then Jesus would have just delivered the boy and nothing more would have been said about it. Everything in God's Word is there for a purpose. There is a great lesson here for us, if we will just receive it. We have to get to the point where we can realize that what Jesus said was the truth if we are ever going to actually walk in the reality of it. We all have to take first steps sometime in our life.
So many Christians today are in the very same place that this father was in, totally focused on the problem, just hoping God will do something, begging and pleading with God to do something. Many times in His mercy He does. I'm so thankful our God is merciful.
God very much wants to do something, Jesus would not have responded to this boys father this way, and to all of us as well with this kind of response if He didn't want to do something. His whole purpose was to get the man into the place where he could believe, so that God's will could be accomplished. To the mans credit, he did believe. We know this by the end result. The mans responded by saying I believe.
These words of Christ are just as true today as they were then. All things are possible to him who believes. These are the words that show us the way to victory. Lets take hold of them, and begin to boldly declare I believe, and because of this, all things are possible to me.
The Olive Branch