Out of Matthew, Mark, & Luke telling the same story about the healing of a boy with a demonic spirit, only Mark mentions this powerful verse. It’s a neat little insight into the audience for which Mark intended. By most accounts Mark’s Gospel was primarily pastoral, targeting a people who’ve already heard the Good News of Christ but needed to be reminded of its power and purpose for everyday life.
And just as early Christians needed this reminder, modern Christians do as well, and even more so.
Everything is possible! We hear it in songs, catch phrases, church chants, maybe even from the Tony Robbins gurus of today. Everything is possible! But there’s a big – but – in the middle of that possibility.
The father of this boy brought his son to the disciples for help. He needed something significant to happen – now! Jesus had earlier taken Peter, James, and John up a mountain for prayer where he was transfigured as he met with Moses and Elijah. The remaining disciples were at the foot of the mountain where this father met them. They prayed for the boy – but nothing happened.
Jesus came down and noticed the commotion. The father desperately approached Jesus for help. And the boy’s father said something that really made a lot of sense to a man who desperately needed help but disappointed at every turn, “IF you can do anything, help!”
Haven’t we’ve all been there? We need and need and need. We seek and seek and seek. When we don’t get the help we want. We don’t get the answer we seek. We become discouraged and more desperate. We’ll almost take anything, any glimmer of hope or help we can get.
So, we say IF, grasping for the possibility, pushing believability to the side.
IF you can. IF it’s possible. IF there is a way. IF there is anyway. Searching and hoping.
But Jesus repeated the father’s IF, in order to turn it into IS.
Jesus repeated the father’s own words to get his attention. As to say, “Do you understand what you’re saying?” You know, like what our parents and teachers do to us when we make a mistake or say something grammatically incorrect. (Still happens to me a lot)
Our desperation and need should draw us closer to Christ, not away. When we need help, we ask and pray. But when we don’t receive the answer we think we should, we start to drift and disbelieve. Then we begin to question. The IF’s become more of a reality than faith in the power of Christ.
Jesus said, “If you can?” As in, “Yes I absolutely can!” – “Yes I can, don’t doubt, don’t question.”
Jesus said, “Everything IS possible for him who believes.” Don’t turn that IS into an IF.
Christ’s CAN is my IS.