“If you can?”

Oh Gracious Father, but if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Jesus said, “If you can? Everything is possible for the one who believes.” Mark 9:23 “It is not, if I can, but if you can.” Spurgeon

Jesus replied “You unbelieving generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to me.”

“I suppose our Lord’s rebuke was meant especially for His disciples. Christ does not speak as if He were tired of His life and wished to get away from His disciples, but this is His way of saying how disappointed He is that these learners have learned so little. Unbelief is a great trouble to Christ. I never read that He said to the poor or to the sick, “How long shall I be with you?” I never read that He expressed any weariness of human ignorance, or scarcely even of human sin, but when it is a matter of unbelief, then it stings Him, and He cries, “you unbelieving generation, how long will I be with you?” Often He must derive more pain than pleasure from communion with many of His people. How grieved He must often be to see their slowness to learn, their readiness to forget, and the difficulty with which they can be brought to live the lessons He so carefully imparts to them. “Have compassion on us and help us.” The father identified himself with his child. When fathers and mothers pray, they should use the plural, as this man did. That is the way to pray for every sinner we bring before Christ. We must join ourselves to the poor soul for whom we are pleading. The father of the boy cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” Here was faith, even though it was mixed with unbelief. It was a faith that made him pray, and the Lord Jesus Christ found that faith. When Jesus saw that a crowd was quickly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “you mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again. Then it came out, shrieking and throwing him into terrible convulsions.” The devil knew he had to go out, so like a bad tenant, he did all the mischief he could before he left. Satan often acts in this fashion – just when Christ has come to cast him out, he drives the poor soul into deeper despair and, perhaps, into greater sin than he ever fell into in all his life. “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” Faith alone will not accomplish everything. Faith must be accompanied by prayer, and prayer must be, at least sometimes in special cases, attended with fasting.

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