This story about the boy and the evil spirit was important enough to be in three of the four New Testament accounts by the disciples. Matthew, Mark and Luke all give slightly different takes on this event, but the main thought rang true throughout all three…the disciples couldn’t heal the boy on their own. But instead of admitting defeat, giving up, or walking away, they came to Jesus searching for answers. In Matthew 21:21 Jesus replied to their inquiry by telling them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt…” Doubt is being double-minded or having a divided mind. So when we doubt, we sway back and forth between faith and fear…never achieving full confidence and trust in what God can do. But just like the disciples, if we will go to Jesus admitting our shortcomings, He will speak truth in order to dispel our doubt. And if, like the boy’s father we ask Jesus to, ” Help me overcome my unbelief!” He will show us the way.
So why is it that the world is not attracted to the things of God? Instead of being drawn to Him, they’d rather say, “Go away!” The answer can be found in Jeremiah 9:6 where it says, “You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge Me, declares the Lord.” Our carnal nature tells us we are independent self-made people who don’t need anybody’s help. Couple that with all the world’s misleading and deceptive ideas and it’s no wonder we would have no desire to worship God. Deception tells me I’m the center of the universe…the Truth bears witness that I’m not…and I don’t want to admit that.
This verse speaks specifically to those within the Church-body that preach and teach the Word of God. They are to be compensated for their work. But I would like to take this idea of consideration a step farther. When was the last time you thanked that friend who spoke encouragement, hope and prayed for you during a hard time in your life? Or when was the last time you called a long-time friend who had been instrumental in your walk with God and thanked them for faithfully speaking the truth? We could all benefit from reaching out to friends today and just thanking them for sharing the Good News.
The people of Israel and Judah had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. This great assembly rejoiced and praised God for being able to meet together once again. And as their prayers rose to God, revival broke out. For before they even traveled home, it says they went throughout the country-side smashing false idols, cutting down Asherah poles, and destroying other places of pagan worship. Their prayers had been heard, they caught the vision God had for them, and they could not help but act on it. I pray for the same type of revival to break out in us.
The blind beggar was hopeless…his life, a story of misery and suffering…but then he heard about this man, Jesus, who was healing people of all their afflictions. So when he caught word that Jesus was going to be passing by, he seized on the chance that Jesus might heal him. He started yelling, but was abruptly chided and warned to be quiet…and he could have allowed his fear of man to stop his voice…but he didn’t! That’s because the blind beggar’s desperation far outweighed any curt remarks directed his way, and his faith in Jesus far stronger than any words spoken by man. He was not detoured by others or fear…for he knew Jesus could heal him.
What was King Solomon looking for when he gave such a bizarre and brutal order? Before him were two prostitutes seeking justice…both claiming this baby was theirs. On hearing his order, one agreed with it…while the other, filled with compassion for the child, said, “Please my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” That was the visceral reaction King Solomon was looking for…and he gave the baby to that mother. Our God has that same kind of deep compassion towards us. For He looks upon us as a father looks upon his children…with mercy, tenderness and pity.
For most people, when they read this verse, they think it’s all about money or material possessions. But I would challenge you today to be generous with yourself. It means blessing others with your smile and giving them the gift of a cheerful heart. It means seeking out the good in someone, and then of affirming and encouraging that good. For when you sow generously of yourself…others can not help but see the outer reflection of an inner attitude of Christ’s love.