Thursday, August 9, 2018

Feeble and Fading Faith

I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not” (Luke 9:40).

On the day after the Transfiguration, Jesus and His three closest disciples came down from the mountain and were met by a crowd. A man in the crowd called out to Jesus, begging Him to heal his son who was subject to savage demonic attacks. The man said that he had asked Jesus’ disciples for help, but they had been unable to do anything.

Why were the disciples powerless? After all, Jesus had sent out the Twelve with power and authority to drive out demons (Luke 9:1). Nine of the disciples had been waiting for Jesus at the foot of the mountain.

I think we have to see that before the glorification of Jesus, the power given to His people always faded. Remember how Moses was transfigured when he spoke with God, but the glory faded from his face after a while (Exodus 34:29–35). Similarly, Jesus had given power to His disciples, but that power had faded. The Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out, and the kingdom had not been established in permanence.

The sinfulness of man was such that the kingdom suffered and unbelief prevailed. Jesus lamented, “O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?” (v. 41). Then Jesus drove out the demon that had been tormenting the boy.

After doing this, Jesus instructed His disciples, “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men” (v. 44). The disciples, however, did not understand that the kingdom could not be permanently and powerfully established until the problem of sin had been permanently dealt with. And that meant Jesus would have to die as the Lamb of God.

Why didn’t they understand? John the Baptist had called Jesus the Lamb of God, after all. These men knew that Abraham had been called on to sacrifice Isaac. They knew to what the sacrificial system pointed. Once again, it was human sinfulness that was clouding their minds.

The church today is not particularly known for its mighty deeds of faith and works of love. It would seem the church is still beset by a feeble and fading faith, despite the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost. Evaluate whether Christ’s rebuke may have to be levied against you.