For a moment let’s travel back in time to a desert town called Bethsaida. Jesus had just given his disciples power and authority over devils, and to cure diseases. After sending His disciples into the various towns with this power and authority over devils and diseases, the disciples met back up with Jesus to go over everything they had seen and done while they were away.
Jesus takes His disciples privately into the desert of Bethsaida, but when the crowd see it they follow them. And Jesus receives them, and heals all of them who were in need of healing.
Perhaps the disciples grew weary of the people. Maybe they wanted Jesus all to themselves. Or maybe they wanted to continue boasting about all the devils that were subject to them because of the power and authority Jesus had given them.
Whatever the reason, Jesus’ disciples told Jesus to send the crowd away so that they could go into the towns and villages to buy food for themselves. But Jesus, being Jesus, and being full of Holy Ghost power and faith, told the disciples to give the crowd something to eat.
And the disciples, being disciples, said, “We don’t have enough food to feed all these people!” (There were about five thousand men, excluding women and children.)
But Jesus, not batting an eye, told them to have the crowd sit down. Jesus took the food that they had, which was five loaves of bread and two fish, and looked up toward heaven, blessed it and broke it into pieces, and handed it to his disciples to distribute to the hungry crowd.
All five thousand men were fed that day with the two fish and five loaves of bread which Jesus had multiplied into enough to feed a crowd. And the leftovers from that meal were enough to fill twelve baskets.
About eight days after the feeding of the multitude, Jesus took Peter, James, and John and went up into a mountain to pray.
During prayer, the glory of God shone down from heaven and Jesus’ countenance changed, and his garments became white and glistening.
Moses and Elijah suddenly appeared on the mountain in a ray of light and talked with Jesus about His impending death. And they strengthened Him for the task.
Peter, James, and John being heavy with sleep, woke up to see and hear this heavenly encounter. They were amazed and fearful at the same time.
After Jesus’ transfiguration, and after coming down from the mountain, they were met by a company of people. And a man in the company cried out to Jesus to deliver his son. A spirit had taken over his son, causing him to foam at the mouth, throw himself to the ground, and tormented him and the people around him.
The man told Jesus that he had sought help from Jesus’ disciples, but the disciples were not able to help his son. They were not able to cast the demon out.
Jesus, being annoyed by this said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither.”
As he was bringing the son to Jesus, the demon, knowing he was about to be cast out, threw the boy to the ground, perhaps in an attempt to scare the people.
But Jesus was not afraid. He rebuked the devil and cast him out of the boy, delivering him again unto his father.
We should note here that this is the kind of thing Jesus had given His disciples power and authority over. And they had just come back from a mission where they went through the towns healing sick folk, and casting out devils.
But this particular devil stumped them. And it probably frightened them. This devil was demonstrative in throwing the boy down and causing him to foam at the mouth and roll around on the ground.
The disciples’ fear rose up over their faith, causing the power and authority they had been given to become powerless and ineffective.
The problem wasn’t in the power. It was in their faith.
And Jesus was displeased by this and called them a faithless and perverted generation. They had the power but they rendered it powerless by their fear and lack of faith.
The disciples had seen Jesus’ power time and time again. But when it came time to feed a crowd, their immediate response was, “We don’t have enough food, or money, to feed all these people!”
And Peter, James, and John had just come down from a mountain with Jesus where they saw the glory of God overshadow them, and heard an audible voice from God say, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.”
The disciples walked every day with the power. They experienced the power. They were granted access to the power, and yet, they were still filled with unbelief. And this unbelief rendered them useless and ineffective to God.
I hear today many Christians repeatedly say that God is a healer. “God is a healer.” “God can do anything!” “There’s nothing too hard for God!”
Christians today sing about God’s healing power. We preach about it. We teach it to our kids in Sunday School. We say it, but yet we don’t believe it.
How do I know they don’t believe it? As they say, the proof is in the pudding.
The proof is in the many Christian lives that are walking around with all manner of sickness and disease. You name it, you’ll find it in the church: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, crippled, blind, deaf.
We see many Christians today walk into the church with the aid of walkers and canes. Some being pushed around in wheelchairs. Some carrying oxygen tanks. Many having some deformity or another. And these are Christians! I’m not talking about unbelievers here.
Today’s Christians are just as sick, or even more so than the world.
I’ve talked about this on this blog before, but there are many instances in churches today where someone will have a medical crisis of some sort in the church, and the church folk will freak out, pull out their phones and call 911. (Read about this here.)
And let me tell you, there’s nothing more offensive to God than to have His people not have faith in Him. To the point where they have more faith in the paramedics, the doctors, and medical science than they have in Him.
This is what got Jesus so fired up with His disciples over the demon-oppressed boy.
The disciples diminished God’s power by not having faith in it. Not having faith in God. Oh they were fine walking around with a big ‘S’ on their chest when it came to conquering small matters. But when a big case was presented before them, their puffed out chest got smaller and smaller, along with their faith, and the fear and doubt that lied beneath the surface, rose up and reared its ugly head.
Fear and doubt exposed them for who they really were. When challenged by a hard situation, the disciples crumpled and folded. Their faith was deflated along with their ego.
Church people, we are that faithless and perverse generation Jesus spoke about in the Bible. Whether we like to admit it or not, we don’t have faith in God. In His power. And in His authority. We are a faithless and spiritually weak generation. (Ask God to restore the power.)
We know God is a healer, but we don’t believe it.
It is for this reason that we will set up “Deaf Ministries” in the church.
We will sign up to help support cancer research to find a cure for cancer. We will sign up to run in a local “Race for the Cure” event, again, to help support cancer research.
We will douse ourselves with a bucket of ice cold water to raise awareness of and to fight ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
We sit week after week, month after month, and year after year with the sick among us, and will not raise a finger, or lift a voice in faithful prayer to deliver them.
We talk about our ministry. We get business cards with our ministry’s name and logo on them. We set up a Facebook page for our ministry. We send out smoke signals letting people know we are available for preaching and speaking engagements.
The church knows how to do “ministry.” We will set up a new ministry in a hot minute and start recruiting to staff this ministry.
I’m just afraid that we have made ministry into something God never intended it to be: Titles, Position, Prestige, Notoriety, Affluence, and Visibility. (What Does Ministry Mean to You?)
We talk a lot about “my ministry.” And get upset when the church doesn’t recognize our ministry. And some go from church to church seeking recognition for their ministry, which, unfortunately, usually equates to a pulpit to preach behind.
We are so filled up with our personal definition of “ministry” that we can pass by ministry opportunities (real ministry) every day and not recognize them. Because they don’t fit our definition of ministry. So sad. No wonder God is fed up with us in the church today.
We have become distracted. We’ve gotten off track. We’ve forgotten our purpose, or perhaps we’ve never known our purpose in the first place. (Read my book: The Purpose of Man).
How do you grab the church’s attention?
How do you get them to understand the concept of, and walk in faith?
How does God turn a faithless and perverse generation around?
We know God is a healer. But we don’t believe it.
It’s time for the church to come out of faithlessness and start walking in faith. It’s time for us to use the power and authority Jesus has granted us through His name. And it’s time for the devil to stop throwing up around on the ground, walking all over us, and leaving us bloodied and bruised.
It’s time to stand up and be the church Jesus died for us to be. We must not only know that God is a healer. We must believe it.
(The Scripture referenced in this post is Luke 9)
Jeanita Jinnah is a Christian blogger and Freelance writer. Follow her on social media on Facebook and Twitter @OnOurWay2Heaven. Read Jeanita’s books, which are also available on OnOurWay2Heaven/shop. God has a message for the church. Will you listen?
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