June 26, 2019
by Becky Hall
Laity of Scenic South District
Jesus' joy from the transfiguration experience with Moses and Elijah and from God's blessing on the mountain was a great experience, but when he came down the mountain he faced disappointment once again. A father said, "I begged your disciples..., but they couldn't do it." This text is the story of Jesus healing a boy from a demon. The disciples had been unable to cure him. After their great mission trip where they preached and healed, after their experience in helping feed 5000, once again they were suddenly limited and lacking. Bottom line: Just as Jesus' disciples disappointed him. However, Jesus didn't give up on his disciples when he was discouraged with them. While he rebuked them, he remained faithful to them. His goal was to make them into God's servants. He would not let his discouragement with them keep him from his task!
What kind of faith does the Lord expect of us, especially when we meet set-backs and trials? Inevitably there are times when each of us disappoint others or disappoint ourselves when we suffer some kind of set-back or failure. In this gospel incident the disciples of Jesus fail to heal an epileptic boy. Jesus' response seems stern; but it is really tempered with love and compassion. We see at once Jesus' dismay with the disciples' lack of faith and his concern to meet the need of this troubled boy and his father. With one word of command Jesus rebukes the evil spirit that has caused this boy's affliction and tells the spirit to "never enter him again". God's works reveal his majesty and power. The miracles of Jesus revealed the majesty of God and displayed his grace and favor, especially towards the lowly. When you encounter trials and disappointments do you turn to the Lord with confidence and trust in his mercy?
I am encouraged with this passage. Here we have these disciples and they are such a work in progress. They lack faith. They lack understanding. They lack humility. And they lack tolerance. But these are the ones that Jesus would take with him to Jerusalem. These are the guys he would ask to pray for him in the garden. These are the guys he would commission, saying, “Go into all the world and make disciples.” That’s encouraging because we know how we’re the same way. We’re a work in progress and God doesn’t cast us aside because we fail in the same way the disciples did. But let’s not leave it with this: Don’t let his patience and his kindness with you in any one of these areas make you less committed to improve. If we listen to God, because of his love for us, he will poke and prod us to progress. God is so kind and forbearing and patient with us, but for what purpose? God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance, to be faithful. God will encourage us to support those whom we serve, wherever they’re found. We’re a work in progress. The operative word is “progress.” God is so kind to us and so patient with us. But he is not content to let us stay the way we are. Praise God for his love and faith in each one of us.
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for your love and care for each one of us. We know that we fall short in so many areas, but you never give up on us. Help us to be open to your prodding and listen to your guidance in each of our lives and ministries. We thank you for all of our blessings that you give us each day. We ask that you continue to grow our faith.