Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe…
In My last blog, Lord, Help My Unbelief, we found the danger of unbelief and the consequences it could bring. Through this blog, I want to reach a little farther into the source of unbelief. In the portion of scripture I alluded to at the top, we discover a scene in which Jesus has returned for the first time to Cana of Galilee. This is where, if we can remember, Jesus performed his first miracle, by turning water into wine. As the scripture explains this scene we find immediately there is a Nobleman, whose son is sick in Capernum. Now the Bible doesn’t tell us why this Nobleman is in Galilee and his son is dying in Capernaum, all we can conclude from what little evidence we have is that he must have been here for business reasons. Now when this man heard Jesus was here he sought for him and pleaded with him to come with him to Capernaum and heal his son, who the Bible said was at the point of death. But Jesus responds in a very peculiar way…
Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe…
Jesus was addressing the mentality of humanity. I discussed in my previous blog how Gideon “fleeced” God, and Zacharias sought for a sign to know that the word was valid. Both of those examples prove to me that there is unbelief present in their spirits. See the human mind is skeptical by nature, for whatever reason we are apprehensive creatures. So the mentality of humanity says, “I’ll believe it when I see it”. While God says, “You’ll see it when you believe it”! Before Jesus even acknowledges his issue, he first addresses this man’s mentality. He could sense the unbelief in his heart, and he wanted to give him a chance to shake that spirit off of him. Aren’t you glad that Jesus always gives us an opportunity to receive more than what we’re asking for? All he wanted was for Jesus to heal his son, but Jesus said, first I’m going to heal your unbelief!
In Mark 9, that father who had a demon possessed son, was frustrated and disappointed at what looked to him like a failed ministry. And so when Jesus finally shows up, this man barks at Jesus, “I brought him to you, and you couldn’t do anything. So if you can do anything, just have compassion on us.” What I find interesting is this is the way most people approach God. We think if we come to him with our laundry list of problems and explain to him how bad we have it, that God will be compassionate towards us. So instead of worship, we whine! This method doesn’t work folks! Jesus does not respond to pity, if he did there wouldn’t be any homeless people. But watch what he does respond to… In Matthew 8:2 a leper comes to Jesus and prays this prayer, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean”. What this leper just prayed is powerful, he said God I know you can heal me, I just don’t know if it’s your will. But the most important thing in my life is not being healed, it’s being in line with your will! Then the Bible says Jesus looked on him with compassion! If you want to unlock the compassion of God, start praying like that leper…
Now notice the attitude of this father; he is only focused on the problem with his child, Jesus however is after a bigger issue. This man had been blaming 9 faithless disciples, and then he started blaming Jesus. This is what we do, we want to shift the blame on everyone and everything around us in order to take the attention off ourselves. But Jesus was letting this father know, don’t blame me for the condition of your child, you raised him that way! What did you expect when you raised that boy in an unbelieving home! The issue isn’t with what I can do, the issue is with what you can do! If you can believe all things are possible to him that believes!
Unbelief is never cheap, it cost more than it pays
It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t care about the condition of the child, He just knew that if daddy never addressed the unbelief in his spirit that boy’s chances of living an overcoming life were slim to none. You see unbelief never comes cheap, as Woodrow Kroll explained, it always comes with a high price tag. When Zacharias fell victim to unbelief it made him dumb; but when this dad fell victim to this spiritual disease his boy ended up with a dumb spirit. What’s scary is that the father still knew where to go for help, eventually it got bad enough for him to decide I’ve had enough. But when that child came into the presence of God, the Bible says that he fell to the ground and started wallowing around. Even in the presence of God, this boy was almost unreachable. he couldn’t hear God’s word, because he was deaf, and he couldn’t plead for help because he was dumb and unable to speak! I mentioned in part 1 how Hebrews 12 gives us a blueprint for conquering this spirit.
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”
But just looking at him isn’t the solution. Jesus explained in John 3:14, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up.” The serpents were sent into the camp of Israel because God had enough with their murmuring and unbelief, and so the only remedy for this wound was for Moses to build a serpent of brass, put it on a pole, and lift it up. And whoever looked on that serpent would be healed of their wound. Jesus took it a step further in John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”. In comparison to the brazen serpent in the wilderness, Jesus said if I be lifted up, I will draw you to me. That’s beautiful! Look at what happened in the book of Isaiah. The first 5 chapters show Isaiah pointing to everyone else problems. Woe to those who rise early to drink, woe to those who call evil good and good evil, woe to those who exchange light for darkness and darkness for light… Woe, Woe, Woe, Woe! But in Isaiah 6, Isaiah said he saw the Lord high and lifted up! No longer was it everyone elses fault, no longer was Isaiah pointing fingers to everyone else, now Isaiah is looking at the glory of God, and he cries woe is me! I’m the one with the problem! This is why the author of Hebrews encouraged us to look at him, but when you look at him, you better see Him as he is, high and lifted up! Because something happens when He is lifted up! This is what happened to that father in Mark 9, all of a sudden it was as if a curtain was rolled back. He got it, and tears began to pour down his face as he cried, “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief!” What he was saying was, I finally see you for who you are, you’re not just a prophet, you’re not just a teacher, Lord I believe! You are God! And when that man finally saw Him high and lifted up he realized what the real problem was. Lord, I recognize now it’s not your fault, I recognize its not your disciples fault; this is my fault! I’ve been his way for too long, so help my unbelief!
What a beautiful revelation, once you come to that realization Jesus can begin the process of healing your unbelief.
Looking back at our opening text, we can see why Jesus makes this statement. There is a need to address unbelief before he can address the sick child. Same principle as in Mark 9, only this time Jesus gives us a revelation that will help us avoid unbelief in the future. That nobleman seems to ignore the comment of Jesus, and continues his plea for help. “Sir, come quickly”! Jesus proceeds to test him, and to reveal to us an important principle. As the man is pleading, Jesus tells him, “Go thy way, thy son liveth”. Jesus is trying to get us to understand the power of His word, and also reveal to us the faithlessness of man. He knows we seek the signs, but he’s telling this nobleman, if you can believe my word, then the signs will appear. See what happens more often than not, in our zeal for the miraculous we often overlook the word in search of the sign. But the Bible never says we should seek after signs, but it does promise that these signs shall follow them that believe (Mark 16:17). Believe what? The word!
In John 1:1, John tells us “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God”. Then verse 14 tells us that the word was made flesh and dwelt among us. But what I have always wondered is, why verse 14 isn’t verse 2? After all it would be easier to quote John 1:1-2, “In the beginning was the word, the word was with God and the word was God. And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us. Makes sense right? But when you investigate John 1, we find a critical observation. John is stressing the power and the authority of the word.
Verse 2, the word was creative. Verse 4, the word was life, and that life was the light of men. John’s explaining the word, the word was in the beginning with God, He (the word) was in the world, and the world comprehended him not. Verse 11, the creative word came unto his creation, but the creation rejected their creator. But (verse 12) as many as have received him (still talking about the word) to them he gave power to become the sons of God. So after John paints a glorious picture of the power and authority of the word, he explains; the creative word became flesh and dwelt among us. Let’s explain this a little deeper…
In Luke 16:19-31 we see the parable of the rich young ruler and Lazarus. Most of us are familiar with this story, as the rich man is suffering in Hell, he prays that Lazarus would dip his finger in water and touch his tongue. When that request is denied he prays that Lazarus would be sent to his fathers house to warn his family of where they might end up. But again his request was denied, Abraham makes this statement, they have Moses and the Prophets (the word) let them hear them. The rich man pleads with him, No father Abraham, but if someone rose from the dead they will repent. Abraham responds with this…
…If they won’t hear the word, then the resurrection won’t persuade them to repent either!
Ever wonder how people can be unaffected by the beauty of Calvary and the resurrection? It’s simple really, they’ve never accepted the word. Why do you think David wrote these words…“Thy word have I hid in my heart, that i might not sin against thee”? It wasn’t the punishment to sin that caused David to repent after his ordeal with Bathsheba; it was the word. Without a true hunger and desire to fall in love with the word. you will always be subject to unbelief. It’s the word that will deliver you from that isolated prison of unbelief and catapult you into a new dimension of faith. In our pursuit of the hand of God, we have neglected the word of God. It wasn’t the hand of God that healed that nobleman’s son that day, it was His word.
When I am in need of direction and the difficulties of life are trying to coax me into a mode of unbelief… Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalms119:105
If we want to overcome the stronghold of unbelief, we must renew our passion for the word of God!
Let’s dive into the word, and increase our faith with a fresh vision of Jesus high and lifted up!