So how was the beginning of your week as you came down the mountain to face the reality of the world that was waiting for you? Funny how the work we didn't finish on Friday is still patiently waiting for us on Monday. Did you encounter any screaming bosses, unforgiving deadlines, annoying co-workers? How about some inept disciples and a demon possessed boy along with a desperate father looking for your help? That's what Jesus had to face as he came off the mountain.
I know you can relate to this because we have all had that experience. We have an incredible moment when the whole world fades out and nothing else matters but that moment. In that short space of time everything is almost perfect, everything feels so right, you are lifted above everything else as you are bathed in the reality of the Father's love. However, as we considered yesterday, we are not permitted to build a house on that mountain and dwell there. All of us must leave those moments and face the reality God has us in to serve him. The difference can be like day and night, just like it was for Jesus. One moment he was conversing with Moses and Elijah and the next he was facing a simple problem that his disciples did not have enough faith to overcome. Sense a bit of his frustration:
“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?" (Matthew 17:17)
When his disciples asked him why they were unable to cast the demon out, Jesus gave them a more gentle rebuke:
“Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20-21)
Now I am going to turn this around on us somewhat and apply what Jesus was saying to us. We are happy to have the mountaintop experiences with God. He welcome the encouragement he brings to us as we worship and pray. We love to receive such blessings from him and are tempted to stay there, to consume all that we can consume. But when it comes to practical application of faith in order to do his work in the face of the reality of this dying world, we are lacking. Do you understand why Jesus was rebuking the disciples? It was lack of faith that caused them to fail in the casting out of the demon. When was the last time you cast out a demon? When was the last time you had enough faith to do anything Jesus said we would do? We claim to be a people of faith but are defeated by simple daily tasks like paying bills.
Honestly now, when someone asks you to pray for their cold do you pray believing for healing or do you simply ask God to sustain them in their illness? Are you frightened of something or do you simply not believe? What worth is your faith if you fail to believe that Jesus' healing power flows through you? What worth is your faith if you do not believe that God has you facing the ugliness of this world's reality so that he can glorify himself through you? We step out from our mountaintop experience so we may demonstrate the love, power and authority of Jesus Christ but we can't do that if spiritually we are afraid of our shadows.
My apostle tells a funny yet sad story of a group of ladies who claimed to be prayer warriors. They were covering him and the church in prayer, praying down the strongholds of the enemy. They decided to meet in the church and all arrived together, determined that much would be done in the Spirit that day. They entered the church with much enthusiasm but instead of meeting the enemy head on they encountered a mouse. All the women went running out of the church, refusing to go in until someone did something about the mouse.They thought they were ready to take on the enemy but they did not even have the courage to face down a mouse. This is often the reality of our faith as well. In our mountaintop experience we are ready to take on the enemy but in facing the reality of the world we choose not to believe.
Let the weight of Jesus' reality rest on you. He said, plain enough for us all to understand, that with faith nothing is impossible for us. Nothing.Not because we are capable but because Jesus is. Not because we have any authority but because Jesus is the authority. Not because we are professionals but because Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Even the most foolish and simple man in this world can move mountains through faith but we get frightened off by the little mice of life like bills, discouragements, health, other people's actions. We get discouraged, lose our focus on Jesus and end up faithless. We have enough to believe for our salvation but not to complete our mission today, to do the impossible.
“You unbelieving and perverse generation.” Those words were not provoked by the sin Jesus saw but by the lack of faith. Such a lack that the disciples were unable to complete the task Jesus had given to them. My friends there is much more to the tasks he has given to us than simply doing good deeds, as important as they are. We have been called to great works of faith so that Jesus will be glorified in what we do. How is he glorified in us doing what is possible in the natural? We have been called to the "impossible". Don't clip your wings. There are mountains to move in this world, mountains that are standing in the way of people believing. We are in the mountain moving business so lets get to it. Movers need muscles and yours come in the form of faith. Nothing is impossible! "Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few."