“Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove from here to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. But this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:19-21)
Get the picture. A man brings his convulsing son to the disciples for healing, but they could not heal him. Jesus rebukes the demon and the child is cured immediately. The disciples were puzzled. They were sure they had faith to heal the lad, but it didn’t work.
Sometime earlier, Jesus had sent out the 70 and they came back with testimonies of healing and deliverance. They knew “this stuff worked”. But it didn’t this time. How was it possible that men who had been walking with Jesus for some time now, who had seen miracles mass produced and on a frequent basis and had faith for this, would end up disappointed?
If the story were to stop there, or be something that happened in your church, you might well hear that obviously it wasn’t God’s will for the child to be healed or God would have healed him. You might have heard that somehow the child who was often thrown into the fire or into water to destroy him was suffering these horrors to teach him or his parents something. How cruel and damning to suggest that!
Or perhaps you might hear that the child wasn’t healed because of sin, either his or his parents. Tell me, who did Jesus ever heal that was sinless? Fortunately, the story doesn’t stop there. We know exactly why the child was not healed, because the disciples asked Jesus directly and He responded with “Because of your unbelief”. You can have faith and unbelief at the same time.
Unbelief neutralizes faith. In fact, your unbelief can neutralize the faith that Jesus has. (“And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Matt 13:58) Now some would argue that because the child was demonized by a particularly tenacious demon that the only way it could be cast out was by prayer and fasting. I don’t think so.
Jesus didn’t reply with, “The reason the child wasn’t healed was because you haven’t been praying and fasting enough.” He told them flatly it was because of their unbelief. Period. So how do you get rid of unbelief? With prayer and fasting. And may I suggest that you not only fast food, but also everything that feeds your unbelief. That might be the fear based news media. It could be the info you get on the internet or in conversations with negative people. Fast whatever it is that feeds your unbelief. It will lose its power and your faith will have effect. To be continued…