Once a believer understands that Jesus actually knows what He is talking about when He said, “Whoever believes in Me will do the works that I have been doing and even greater because I go to the Father,” (Jn. 14:20), the adventure of walking in the fullness of Jesus Christ begins in earnest.
Now you believe that Jesus can do His works through you. So, if you don’t see those supernatural works that you were believing for, questions arise, such as, “Why didn’t we get what Jesus paid for in that situation? What is wrong? Is it me? The devil? God?”
Thankfully, in the Word of God, we have Jesus’ very own response to this very question from His disciples. Recorded for us in Matthew 17 and Mark 9, we have the story of a father who brings his son to Jesus’ disciples for healing. The disciples were unable to get the boy free but Jesus was able. So they asked Jesus, “Why were we not able to cast the demon out?” In Jesus’s response to this situation and the disciples question, Jesus lays out to us the path to see manifestations of the Kingdom tomorrow that we didn’t see to day.
Here are several keys that lay out the path to grow in the supernatural manifestations of the Kingdom.
1) Don’t get it twisted! When Jesus was approached by the poor boy’s father to learn that His disciples did not get this boy set free, Jesus groaned at the state of the hearts of His disciples, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you?” We are so quick to get things twisted around when things don’t easily go our way. We can quickly assume that God is the reason for delays and hindrances to healing. We twist things around. We overestimate our faith and underestimate God’s goodness. We wrongly assume that God has become the ally of sickness against us. We make ourselves the victims, and in so doing, we make God the villain. That’s twisted! So Jesus groans. Even today inside of us, the Spirit groans.
2) Watch Jesus to see God. Jesus didn’t allow Himself to stay frustrated. The groaning of the Spirit moved Jesus into action. Do you see how quickly Jesus moves on to heal the boy? That’s God. The disciples would have messed up if they had assumed that “it wasn’t God’s timing” for healing, or “sometimes God says no when we pray”. No! God’s not our problem. He wants to use us to set people free. He’s not the source of the hindrance for healing. God is never our trouble. He’s our help in times of trouble. God wanted the boy healed, but God must do His work through a person. In Jesus, we see what God is able and willing to do through any person.
3) See the path forward. When the disciples asked, “Why could we not cast it out?” this implies that the disciples had actually tried to cast it out unsuccessfully. Then they saw that Jesus had done it without much of a problem. But why not them? What was the difference? Was there anything they could do to see victory in the future, or was this just beyond the limits of what God would do for them? Jesus’s answer was intended to bring hope, not condemnation or shame. We should take His instruction in that light. He is not rubbing our nose in the failures of the past. He is calling us forward, into His greater works.
4) Learn to release God’s power and act in God’s authority with confidence. Jesus said that their faith was too little, but then He says that faith the size of a mustard seed is enough. So which is it? Do we need more faith or just a little faith? In a way, faith is like gasoline in a car. If the car has gasoline, the engine works powerfully, but once it runs out, you’ll know. Nothing moves. The car doesn’t care whether there is a full tank or just some fumes. If there is any gas, the engine will work. When faith is flowing, God’s power is released. Just a little will do, but it has to be real.
We don’t need more of what we think is faith. We need just a little bit of what Jesus calls faith. In this situation, they reached the limits of their faith. It had been enough to get plenty of other people free, but in this situation, the “mountain” wasn’t moving. Why? This is the point where most people assume the issue is God, which Jesus has already shown us is not the right way to look at this.
According to Jesus, faith actually releases the power of God. Faith speaks with authority and mountains actually move. There is a spiritual reality to faith that is evident. There is real content delivered that impacts the situation. Faith allows you to act in oneness with God and God to act in oneness with you. It’s more than acting on your belief system. When faith is really exercised, there is an actual spiritual release of God’s power into this world. This is the way forward for us.
5) Eliminate impossibilities. Jesus knew that the disciples had reached their limits in this situation. Their faith was too small. I’m sure they believed that God could do it. After all nothing is too difficult for Him. But this isn’t this issue. According to Jesus, faith would allow them to eliminate what seemed impossible to them. Faith brings us into union with God, so that what is possible for God is also possible for us because we actually see that we are one through Jesus Christ. While it’s easy to agree that this is true because we see this truth in the Bible, we still need the reality of operation of the Holy Spirit in us. How? If the path forward is this kind of faith, how do we get that?
6) Adopt a lifestyle of eternal communion with God. In Mark 9:29, Jesus gives the disciples instruction about how to remove their unbelief, to untwist their heart, and eliminate the impossibilities that kept them from seeing the Kingdom manifested. “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.” I don’t believe Jesus was telling them how to drive out a demon as much as He was showing them how to drive out unbelief and the things in them that were blocking the Kingdom. Demons don’t block the Kingdom. Twisted disciples do. Twisted? Yes. They had made their problems bigger than God. They needed eternal things to be more real to them. They needed more exposure to the radioactive power of God’s glory. Then they would glow. God wasn’t able to work through them to the degree that this situation required until God was more to them. They didn’t need “more of God”, but God needed more of them. He needed to occupy more space in their hearts and minds. These guys were all twisted up, doubtful, hesitating, defeated.
But the good news for them and for us is that no one has to stay there. There is a solution; prayer, real prayer, spiritual communion with God in eternal realms, gazing upon His glory, listening to His Word, being absorbed with His heart. Wasn’t this the source of Jesus’ works? “The Son can do nothing apart from the Father.” “The Son can only do what I hear from my Father.” etc.
Brothers and sisters, we can learn to release God’s power by exercising faith. We can adopt God’s confidence in every situation. We can give ourselves over to God in greater ways. We don’t have to let what defeated us yesterday whip us ever again! When we give ourselves over to God in greater ways, then we will see greater works take place in our lives. This is the path forward that Jesus has laid out for each one of us. May God give us the grace to walk it. Amen!