This will be short, and it may morph into something more as I have several drafts that could connect to a larger story in the near future…but for today, I just want to write about a scene I pictured as I read a story. The story takes place somewhere in Israel during the time of Jesus, and it can be found in the Book of Mark, chapter 9.
The story begins with Jesus taking three of his closest friends, Peter, James, and John and they climb a mountain by themselves. It is here that we read of the Mount of Transfiguration where Jesus is illuminated and his clothes look like lighting. As I read this story, I’ve often wondered why Jesus just took the three and left the other nine somewhere below.
Today, as I continued to read the story, I saw a picture of Jesus returning from the mountain to see the other disciples surrounded by a large crowd and arguing with certain scribes. The controversy had to do with the fact the remaining nine disciples could not cast a demon out of a boy who continually had seizures…ineffective religion.
The Gospel Jesus preached was the word accompanied by the power of heaven. These poor disciples that missed the field trip with Jesus were apparently trying to minister to people…but their message lacked the power of God…at least in the only situation I am able to read about.
Without the power of God, without us bringing “on earth as it is in heaven” through the leading of the Holy Spirit, it seems like the Church is a lot like those nine disciples…left with only arguments and debates, but no real solutions to the pains of this fallen world. We’re left preaching a message about something we fail to possess and demonstrate. Like in the story I’m referencing, we become embroiled in controversy with a hurting world surrounding us hoping for something real, but being disappointed by a counterfeit message. All we have left are arguments.
When the Real Deal Shows Up
Then, the real deal shows up and sets everything straight. The boy is healed and the disciples are left saying, “What happened?” Jesus’ response to His followers is this: “O unbelieving generation…”
I’m not a scholar here, but I’m pretty sure He wasn’t addressing those in the crowd. It appears to me He is addressing His own followers. Had they been paying attention, had they been allowing every encounter to change how they saw God, discerned how God desired to move upon this earth, allowed all those encounters to change their heart, they may have been prepared for the encounter with that demon who had taken control of the young boy.
Bill Johnson teaches through his book “The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind” that Jesus specifically caused supernatural feats to take place through the disciples in the feeding of the 5,000 and again in the feeding of the 4,000. He challenged the disciples for not taking control over the circumstances in the boat when the storm came against a directive they were given to go to the other side of the sea, and now here they are again with the nine remaining disciples who weren’t present at the Transfiguration, embroiled in a conflict because they were not bringing heaven to earth.
It seems to me that the picture of chaos in this story that Jesus walked into could be a picture of our present day faith, although now, we’ve learned to avoid going out into the streets where we’ll be faced with controversy. Now, we simply build churches and hide within the walls.
That’s it…no fancy picture at the top of this story…just some thoughts about what I just read. Like I said, maybe more on this later.
Addition: (Added on 11/23/17)
Thought I’d add an example of what the authentic Gospel looks like:
Mark 6:53-56 “Healing at Gennesaret”
Jesus and the boys arrive on land at Gennesaret and the people there recognized Jesus. Apparently some had run into Him in different places perhaps and remembered what they saw. How did they respond to the authentic Gospel arriving before them? People began running throughout the country, bringing the sick to the place where He was at.
No fancy marketing strategy needed when the authentic shows up. The supernatural takes place. People are healed and made whole…power comes in with teaching. It’s more than just words, its more than arguments and presentations…it’s a real demonstration of bringing Heaven onto Earth.
The people run, spreading the word and bringing those who have needs. The result was that “as many as touched [His cloak] were being cured.”
A favorite verse of mine:
1 Corinthians 2:4: The Apostle Paul says this: “And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”