Saturday, March 15th, 2014
Skeptics (Part 12, Conclusion)
And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. And He asked the scribes, 'What are you discussing with them?'
Then one of the crowd answered and said, 'Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.'
He answered him and said, 'O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me...
Jesus said to him, 'If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.'
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, 'Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!'...
And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, 'Why could we not cast it out?'
So He said to them, 'This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.'
Mark 9:14-19, 23-24, 28-29 (NKJV)*
Apart from its original meaning of inquiring and reflexive, skepticism can be fatal. Do we avoid the skeptically afflicted? Or do we try to help? But how can we reach into hardened hearts? We can't, but God can.
The story of the father and his demon-possessed son gives us a key. Consider what preceded it: Jesus and His inner circle (Peter, James and John) had just descended the mountain of His transfiguration: an illuminating miracle.
Immediately, they encountered an angry mob: a desperate father, his mute son, skeptical scribes, confused disciples and a multitude of onlookers. Although nine disciples wanted to help the boy, they could not deliver him. Why? They were surrounded by a faithless generation.
This massive skepticism created an almost impenetrable barrier--except by our King.
In this age of media, an age of unprecedented decadence, skepticism abounds. Hit by hype and hucksters, people grow hard. They build walls of defense. From small openings called mouths, they hurl words of offense. From keyboards, they shoot missiles of fire.
Meanwhile, we're here and Jesus is there--in Heaven, permanently transfigured in radiance. Without His Physical Presence, can we deliver the goods--as in hope and freedom from evil?
Yes! But when evil is especially resistant, we must do what believers did in many of the Bible's historic emergencies. 'This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting' (Mark 9:29).
We need to humble ourselves before God. Into the humility of our emptiness comes ultimate strength. Because desperate people are ready to say, 'Lord, I believe,' and real enough to add: 'Help me believe.'
Actors, models and talent for Christ: you are agents of change for this generation. You understand the reason for skepticism, and you carry the Cure: Jesus. When you need extra power to fight the good fight, look back on the miracles of old for the answer: prayer and fasting.
* Full account of the boy who was healed: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+9%3A14-29&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Skeptics series.