Mark 9:23 (NASB) 23 And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes."
I'll start by giving a shout out to my son Adrian and his lovely wife Xuan on the birth of their daughter yesterday. She was 7lb. 6oz. and I would tell you her name but the last time I talked to Adrian she didn't have one yet!! Oh well, when I hear I'll pass it on. Baby Jenkins for now will have to do.(smile) I just thank God all is well. The small details (such as names!) can wait. (smile again)
Ever have someone or something try to steal your joy or bring you down? Yeah, I thought so. It happens all the time doesn't it? As I was reading early this morning when I got home from work, I came across this passage. I looked at the reply of Jesus and started trying to figure out His mood when He said "If you can?" Some translations use a question mark(?) and some use an exclamation point(!)
Looking at that I asked myself "Was Jesus being sarcastic? Was He speaking from anger? Was He frustrated with the doubt expressed in the question?" Or maybe He was responding to an effort to steal His focus and joy. I don't know for sure, maybe it was a mixture of all of them. But, one thing for sure, it was just another effort, intentional or no, to how do we say it today?...pull Jesus off point.
Look at the bigger picture for a moment. Jesus had just been the focus of a "major moment" in His ministry hadn't He. What's that you say Ronnie? Jesus had just "come down from the mountain".
LITERALLY!! The Lord had just taken His closet confidants, His inner circle up on a mountain and had shared His true glory with them. He was transfigured before them. They saw the God in the man. If that wasn't enough, a booming voice from out of nowhere came and proclaimed that Jesus was indeed God's Son. Do you think that He was having a "mountain top" experience? Read the whole ninth chapter to get the perspective.
So, He's coming down off the mountain, spies out a large crowd arguing about something, and joins in. You know the story.. the disciples are unable to cast an unclean spirit out of a son and apparently Jesus is frustrated or irritated or something.
Mark 9:19 (NASB) 19 And He *answered them and *said, "O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!"
There's those question marks and exclamation points again. He then asks the father of the afflicted boy how long it has been going on, and, in the middle of the father's response comes the "if You can." And here is the point of my message. Jesus response. I've got this picture in my mind. See if you can relate.
"If I can?! Listen brother, I just came off this mountain where I was literally changed into my heavenly glory in front of and for the benefit of my closest friends. Not only that, my guys here heard a voice coming down from above. From God..... oh yeah He's my FATHER!! He does anything that I ask Him. Now, you're going to ask me" 'If I can??!!'"
It had to be a jolt didn't it? Well, maybe not, after all Jesus WAS and IS God. But, just between you, me and the fence post, I believe it was a jolt. A reality check. The Son of God was subject to all the "stuff" that we have to deal with. Well, it's the same with us isn't it?
You know how it goes don't you? God does a great work in your life. You have a close encounter with God at church. You get an unexpected financial blessing. A wayward child is drawn back home. A physical healing. An impossible situation made possible. The list goes on and on. It is God being God. You are rejoicing and praising God and all of a sudden here come the boo birds.
A negative reaction or statement and the battle inside you is joined. The object being to pull you off point. To get your eyes and your heart off God.It's the age old battle. God does great things for us and the devil tries to cast doubt in our hearts. It can be very easy to lose sight of just who God is and just how much power He possesses. We, much like the father in the text, can harbor doubt and fear in our heart if we allow all the negative to grab hold of us. We end up short changing ourselves by asking God to help us "if He can."
I read that God never comforts us in our doubt. He expects and demands faith.
Hebrews 11:6 (NASB) 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Yes, it is a battle to stay positive. It is a struggle to not let others pull you down. Whether intentional or not, people will steal your focus and your joy if you are not vigilant.The Bible warns us of this.
Proverbs 4:23 (NASB) 23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
Was Jesus irritated or frustrated? I believe that He was. BUT, He never let it sway Him.It never interfered with His mission. He kept right on going. We get hurt, we get misunderstood, we get frustrated. It's a part of being human. The prescription for all the negative that daily surrounds us is to keep your head down and your eyes straight ahead.
Hebrews 12:2 (NASB) 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
It's not if you can, it's like the wise sage Bob the Builder says "Yes He Can!!"
Psalm 77:1 (NASB) 1