See, only three disciples went up with Jesus. That meant there were nine left waiting for them. And while Peter, James, and John were having a mountaintop experience, the other guys were faced with a father who wanted them to cast a demon out of his son while the teachers of the law argued with them about it.
Top of the mountain seeing Christ lit up and hearing the voice of God. Or foot of the mountain in a heated argument.
Just so you know, I'd chose the mountaintop.
Anyway. We don't always have a choice about our position, but we DO have a choice over the arguments we'll enter into and the voices we'll listen to and believe. The disciples had sat at Christ's feet. Listened to his teachings and watched him perform miracles and healings. They knew what he was capable of. They also knew what he'd given them authority to do:
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases. Luke 9:1 (also see Matthew 10:1 and Mark 3:14-15)
And they'd exercised this power before:
They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. Mark 6:13
Yet look at what happens. While Jesus is at the top of that mountain, this man shows up with his son. In fact, he brought his son to see Jesus specifically for healing. "Teacher, I brought you my son..." he says to Jesus later. But when the father arrives on scene, Jesus isn't there, only the disciples are. So he asks them. Yet they were unable to drive out the demon from this man's son.
Why? They had the authority and they'd done it before. What was different this time? They actually ask Jesus later on in the chapter, and he replies it was because they lacked faith. So what had shaken that faith?
I can't be sure, but I found it very interesting that when Jesus came off the mountain, he sees his disciples in the middle of an argument with the teacher's of the law. I think they let that argument chip away at what they truly believed. That they allowed the voices of those teachers to be louder than the voice of their Teacher, and it shook their foundation. Suddenly the questions raised and arguments given became their own until they no longer stood on a firm foundation of the authority God had given them.
They listened to the wrong voice.
And it didn't only shake their belief, it shook the boy's father's as well. He came seeking Jesus for healing, but by the time Jesus showed up, look at what the man says. IF you can heal him...This father had arrived on scene so sure, and now is reduced to shaky faith.
What got me about the story is that the disciples aren't the only ones to ever encounter a situation like this. If we're not careful, we can enter into arguments that soon become the truth we believe. Did God really say that? Did God really give me this ability? Can God really do that? And once our faith is shaky, satan can strike, preventing us from not only believing God's truth but acting on it. He can paralyze us until that lie becomes a distorted reality.
This is why it's so important to know God's Word. When another voice rises and challenges your belief, it's so important to haul out the Truth and fight for your faith. Don't allow yourself to be drawn into an argument that will speak louder than God's voice. Stand firm. Know who you are in Christ. Know who He is. And speak those truths out loud. So that when an argument rises, you can fight it with a faith that only comes out stronger.
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