Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mustardseeds & Mountainmovers

Matthew 17-18 includes an odd assortment of pericopes (stories). I'll pick one of them to explore. A man approaches Jesus for help, his son is demon-possessed and Jesus' disciples were unable to help him. Would Jesus help? And what is Jesus' response? An odd, curt, almost harsh reply that is aimed like buckshot at whoever is listening: "You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." What is that all about? Does Jesus have too high expectations for his disciples? Is he embarrased at their failure? What is Jesus so frustrated about?

The story continues with Jesus healing the boy with the seeming ease of a flick of the wrist. He makes it look so easy. Personally, every time I try to exorcise somebody, I usually mess it up. I can never flick my wrist quite right. Apparently neither could the disciples, because later that day they inquire of Jesus what is the secret flick.

Jesus gives another seemingly cryptic response: "Because you have so little faith." How much faith do you need to cast out a demon? To heal a little boy? The fact that the disciples attempted to heal the boy attests to the fact that they have some faith. How can faith still exist and still be smaller then a mustard seed? Jesus goes on to say: "Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

There are so many sick people today. Why aren't Christians more successful in healing them? Do we even believe we have the skill, power, mission to do so? Even though there are documented cases of outright demon possession, there are a million cases of people placing themselves under the influence of some kind of substance. This experience often leads to some kind of "falling into the fire, or drowing in the waters", of "seizures" and "great suffering". And Christians seem so inept as a whole in healing/helping these possessed/addicted/habitual offenders.

And yet you find Christians who are able to heal, one way or another, in the name/way of Jesus.

So how do we move from "so little faith" to "faith as small as a mustard seed" so that through our life, others may get healed?

Jesus lamented this "unbelieving and perverse generation". So what do we believe about God and the kind of work he is doing? In what ways do we "pervert/twist/taint/pollute" our minds/bodies and thus render our contaminated lives from helping heal others? Maybe the disciples didn't take the healing work very seriously? Maybe they didn't take themselves seriously enough? Maybe they didn't serioulsy believe Jesus's belief in them?

So maybe a way to move forward in mustardseed faith is to begin believing that we can be a source of healing for others, and begin decontaminating our own lives in order to help others get free from what ails them - mind, heart, body and soul.

No comments: