Faith Allows Us to Look to God
Translated by Allan Liang
Today, we read of a passage that uses the miracle of exorcism and healing to point us to the saving message of the gospel. When the disciples were unable to dispel the evil spirit from the boy, the teachers of the law began to argue with them. As the hearts of the disciples were filled with the desire to prevail in an argument over the teachers of law, they lost their faith and their power to love God and man, and so, their attempts at exorcism were fruitless. As the argument became heated, a crowd gathered, just as Jesus came back from the glory of the transfiguration, seeing the disciples and the teachers of law locked in an argument that had become the scene of a spectacle: the disciples at this point, neither displayed the power of the kingdom of heaven nor displayed the humility bestowed upon them by that heavenly kingdom (Mathew 5:1-12). Though the teachers of law did not prevail completely in the argument, they had succeeded in causing the disciples to stumble. The sin of competition stole the hearts of the disciples away from Jesus Christ and the provocative comments of the teachers of law successfully drew their hearts to self-righteous arguing, which resulted in the demon residing in the boy as before and the father helpless to do anything about it. However, Jesus at this time began his teaching and guidance of faith, as well as his work of salvation, demonstrating the greatness of the gospel. Before this group of people who were of little faith, Jesus came among them and asked, “what are you arguing with them about?” The father who loved his son dearly was the first to give an answer, becoming the first person in the crowd to look to Jesus. The almighty Lord was certainly able to save the boy, but he came so that he would save all those who believed in him (from perishing to eternal life), and began the following conversation of faith. He asked to the child’s father, “how long has he been like this?”, almost a diagnostic question, yet with the intent of entering the father’s grief and pain, drawing the father to himself. The faith of the father was tested through all this. Jesus said in verse 23, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” and the father replied, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” When the father of the child turned his eyes toward the beloved Son of the Heavenly Father, he found the hope of liberation for his own dearly loved child from the grips of the evil spirit. In this hope, he laid his lack of faith before the Lord, asking him for help, for mercy, for salvation, knowing his own powerlessness, and trusted in Jesus alone. Through his humble submission before the Lord, he went from an impoverished state of faith to an abundant state of faith and ultimately saw the triumphant outcome of his faith - his son healed and the evil spirit gone. Not only did Jesus grant a new life to the boy, he gave faith to the father; not only did Jesus direct the people to the gospel, he gave his wavering disciples the power of prayer. The disciples were able to cast out demons (Mark 3:15), but were capable only when they trusted in and relied on the strength from the Lord. Whenever they strayed from this, they lost their abilities. Dear brothers and sisters, when our faith is weak, our eyes will naturally turn away from Jesus and our strength will become frail, so that everything around us - the people, the places, the things- will become the focal point of our attention. We may try hard to justify our own ways, our own thoughts and our own behaviors, yet lose the precious faith which renders all things possible. May God have mercy on us, and strengthen us so that we may not waver and stumble. Please meditate and pray: Do we allow the gospel to again and again triumph over our hearts and restore us of the hope that will never put us to shame? May God lead us and rebuke us so that we may set out eyes on Jesus and live in the light of his salvation, being wholly transformed into his likeness.