“Oh faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I going to bear with you? Bring him to me.” v. 19
There are times in the Gospels when it seems Jesus is about to lose it. Much of the time his frustration is seen when his followers aren’t getting it. Like the school teacher who has gone over the lesson five times only to hear someone from the back of the class say again, “but I don’t get it?”, Jesus seems here to be on the ragged edge of patience. Just the day before, he was on a mountain top, having a heavenly meeting with Elijah and Moses, and now he comes down to the bottom only to find his disciples drawing a crowd for all the wrong reasons. They had spent, heaven knows how long, trying to cast a demon out of a young boy, and nothing was working. No doubt they tried every trick they could think of; Loud voice of command, quoting Old Testament scriptures, maybe even singing, you name it. But still the demonized boy remained in turmoil and his father was having a fit. When Jesus appears, the boy’s father explains that his son is possessed and the disciples are unable to cast out the evil spirit. That’s when our Lord shows his ability to identify with every parent, teacher and pastor who has ever lived. He says, what we all say sometimes; “Oh faithless generation, how long will I be with you? how long will I bear with you (or put up with you)? Bring the boy to me.”
Why was Jesus so frustrated? And does he become frustrated with me for the same reasons?
- Jesus expected his disciples to have the faith to handle this. Remember he had already sent them out on one mission to cast out demons and heal the sick (see chapter 6). They went out and did exactly that, and it worked! They had done this before. They knew how it worked. But here they were living as if they had never seen anything like it. I wonder if Jesus gets frustrated when I live beneath my experience with him. He has taken me through many things and my faith has grown. But sometimes I don’t live up to where he has brought me. I’m living beneath what he knows I’m capable of.
- Jesus had given them authority and was frustrated that they weren’t using it. He had placed his authority in them (Mark 6:7) and expected them to walk in it. He wanted them at some point to be able to do the things he was doing (John 14:12). But although they had the power, they weren’t walking powerfully. This frustrates the grace of God. So many of his followers today have no idea of the supernatural authority they have. Some even deny it completely. “They have an appearance of godliness but deny it’s power.” (2 Timothy 3:5) Do you realize the authority you have in Christ? Are you walking in it?
- Jesus knew the root of the problem, prayerless disciples. For this one we have to go down to verse 29. They asked Jesus why they were unable to cast the demon out. He replied, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” In other words, “You guys aren’t praying.” Friends it’s simple. A prayerless disciple is a powerless disciple. You and I have no excuse for being prayerless. A follower who isn’t praying isn’t following. A true disciple of Jesus realizes that prayer is the lifeline of faith and power. Read the book of Acts and see how much time was spent in prayer by the early church. There is a direct link between the prayerlessness and the powerlessness of our churches today. Is your church ineffective? Don’t blame the Atheists, the False religionists, or the immoralists. The true culprit is prayerless, and therefore powerless, Christians.
I don’t want to frustrate my Lord. I want to walk in the faith, power and authority he has already given me. In Christ there is an inexhaustible supply of everything I need to bring glory to his name and set the captives free. I have been adopted, redeemed, anointed and called. I am seated in the heavens with Christ my Lord. My life has supernatural power to destroy strongholds of evil and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. I don’t have to feel it. I just have to believe it and live it. I can preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons. His power is real and my life is proof that he is risen from the dead. Lord, help me today to live powerfully in you.