(Matthew 9:28-29 MSG) When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!” (29) He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.”
The disciples are sent out to minister for Jesus:
Matthew 10:5-8 NKJV These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. (6) But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (7) And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
They return to Jesus and have been successful in their ministry:
Luke 10:17 NKJV Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
Then they were unsuccessful:
Mark 9:14-28 NKJV And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. (15) Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. (16) And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?” (17) Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. (18) And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.” (19) He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” (20) Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. (21) So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. (22) And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” (23) Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (24) Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (25) When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” (26) Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” (27) But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. (28) And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
Matthew 17:20-21 NKJV So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. (21) However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Notice that the disciples came to Jesus and they were surprised that they could not cast the devil out of the boy. Why were they surprised? Because they had been casting out devils successfully before. It was the first time that they met resistance and it did not work.
- Jesus did not say they did not have enough faith.
- The disciples could not cast out the demon because of their unbelief.
Again, there seems to be the misunderstanding that we simply need more faith when things aren’t working. When in reality we need to address the challenge of unbelief.
Jesus did not say in this story that the disciples needed more faith; He said that they needed to get rid of their unbelief.
It is not the size of the faith but rather the size of the unbelief that causes the faith not to work. Remember, He said that faith the size of a grain of mustard seed is enough to get the job done.
- God is the one that does the work, not your faith.
- Unbelief in your heart can tie the hands of God and keep Him from being able to work in your life like He desires.
Remember, if the faith you received from God at the new birth was powerful enough to cause you to be re-born, death unto life, and to move you out of Satan’s kingdom into the Kingdom of God’s Son, then it is powerful enough to move the mountains that may be in your life.
How did the unbelief enter their hearts?
- The report of their eyes.
Mark 9:20 NKJV Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.
When the child came to them, the spirit probably responded to them by throwing the boy down in front of them just like it did with Jesus.
- The report of their fears.
Mark 9:14 NKJV And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them…
They were trying to cast the demon out in front of a large group of people.
- The report of their critics.
Mark 9:14 NKJV And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them.
Their critics were standing right there disputing with them while they were trying to do this.
They felt the pressure and it allowed the unbelief to surpass the power and anointing that Jesus had put on them to do the work.
Jesus shows up on the scene and Jesus was not moved by the report of His own eyes looking at what was happening to the boy. He was not afraid of the people and He certainly did not care what the critics thought. He was only concerned about pleasing His Heavenly Father and doing the Word of God.
Mark 9:26 NKJV Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.”
Notice that the boy convulsed and even looked like he was dead, so much so that even the crowd said that he was dead.
Jesus did not respond and say, “Wow, he looks like he is dead.”
Jesus had schooled Himself in not being moved by the emotions of the people when ministering to someone.
Smith Wigglesworth had done the same thing. He said, “I am not moved by what I see; I am not moved by what I feel; I am only moved by what I believe. I believe the Word of God.”
How did this unbelief work?
James 1:5-8 AMP If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. (6) Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. (7) For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, (8) [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].
When the disciples were countered with the contrary information, they allowed those doubts to enter in and became double-minded.
Think of the power of God working through us like a water hose. When the water has a clear unhindered path to flow through, then it is able to accomplish what it needs to. But if the hose gets blocked, or kinked, the water cannot flow freely though it and thus nothing gets the water.
The same is true with us. Unbelief is the clog or kink in the pipe of God’s power that He desires to have flow through us.
You are causing that hose to become unclogged and closed off and it will allow the power of God to flow through you unhindered.
- What I starve dies; what I feed thrives.
Just like faith is fed, unbelief is fed.
The way unbelief comes and grows is by listening to the reports of what you can see with your own eyes, the reports of circumstances, and the reports of people.
- If you want to get rid of unbelief, you must starve it to death.
You do not overcome unbelief with more faith, you must drive out and destroy the unbelief.
In other words, you will have to cut some things off that are feeding that unbelief in your life, but that is not enough.
You must replace the unbelief with the food of God’s Word and spending time with the Lord.