YOU Have The Ability, If YOU Believe

If I can?” Jesus asked.
“Anything is possible if you have faith.” TLB

What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked.
Anything is possible if a person believes.” NLT

The word for “can” or “able” means ability or power to do something. The word for possible also has a similar meaning of having a powerful ability to make something happen. It appears Jesus is making a play on words. Jesus is in effect saying, “If I have the ability? No, you have it mixed up. You have the ability, if you believe.”

Jesus is doing a play on words in that, one, Jesus is showing that He is offended at the question. “If I am able. Of course, I am able.” The grammar shows Jesus with emotion, “IF I CAN!” The point is that Jesus expects the presupposition that a person coming to Him for help believes He is able.

The second aspect is how Jesus takes what the father says, and uses or puts it back on the father. The father was asking about Jesus’ ability, and Jesus turns around and says there is ability to heal here; however, it lies with you and your faith.

Context. Think about the desperate father wanting his child healed. This is a public place with a crowed watching. What does Jesus do? Does he take the father aside to a private place and correct him privately? No. In front other others, during ministry time, Jesus corrects this emotionally desperate father about a theological mistake.

If someone needs a healing, and there is a theological issue stopping it, then the most loving thing you can do is to correct the mistake, even publicly so that they can correct themselves and receive the healing they so desperately need. If you are easily offended, then do not expect to get healed, for Jesus corrects those He loves. Our heavenly Father disciplines (not condemns) those He loves. Why? Because God wants you healed, prosperous and matured more than you want it.

About the second point, it is important to see how the man tried to put the responsibility on Jesus but Jesus takes the responsibility off of Himself and puts it on the desperate father. Even though the father did not have full confidence in Jesus that He had the ability, yet, it is enough the he thought it possible for Jesus to have the ability. If Jesus has the ability, and a desperate father is asking for help (how does not have the ability) then the accountability is on Jesus to heal. However, Jesus switches this around. He says the father, through faith, can heal his child, and thus, the accountability lies with the desperate father to heal his child, because God desires mercy more than sacrifice. Jesus showed neighbor love helps those in need (the beaten man on the road) and makes the need go away.

The father accepts this accountability and responds in an appropriate manner. If the responsibly is the father’s, because by faith he has the ability, then the father needs faith. Therefore, the father says he has faith, but it is imperfect and so asks Jesus to help his unbelief.  This is good theology. This is how to correctly respond with the accountability God as placed on us. Jesus healed the child.

Many in my day, do not follow this scriptural example. They take the (we will call it a hat) the hat of ability and responsibility and put it on Jesus’ head, saying, “if you will, then you can heal me.” But Jesus’ takes this hat off his head and puts it back on their head saying, “you can heal yourself, by faith in My promise. The responsibility of this healing is on your shoulders, not mine.” Instead of responding to Jesus like the desperate father, they take the hat of responsibility that Jesus put on their head, and they throw it down at Jesus’ feet saying, “I will suffer for the glory of God, by the will of God. We will not have you rule over us, by telling us what we are responsible for. We will decide this ourselves.”

God is the one who decides what man is responsible for, not man. That what it means to be God and in all authority.

Jesus tells us what He will do with people who will not accept His authority to rule over them. Jesus says these predestined reprobates will be slaughtered at His feet. “But these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence!’” Luke 19:27 LEB

The good news is that we are children of God; we are so superior, so loved and so close to God as insiders, we can heal, cast out demons and throw mountains into the sea. Angels and all other created beings do not have this special insider status that the children of God do. Jesus has removed all our sins from us. He has cleansed us and made accepted as beloved in the Father’s sight. He bore all our sins, our sickness and curses. He gave us His righteousness, health and blessings. God has reconciled us to Himself and adopted us into the very family of God. Jesus’ finished atonement has given us the right to wield the authority and power of God so that we can heal, cast out and bless. God wanted this. It was His idea to do this. He wants it. You are not fighting against God to wield this type of power. If you resist this, it is then you will be fighting against God.

Think about how much God loves you. He puts His power in your right hand, and His authority in your left. He wants you to overcome this world, because Jesus your forerunner overcame it. He wants you to be self-aware that you are a child of God, and a co-heir with Jesus Christ. He wants you to look down and see you are wearing sandals and He wants you to feel that are clothed in the best robe from the Father’s wardrobe. God wants you to be aware you are wearing His signet ring on your right hand. He wants you to lift your right with the ring and to order the servants, because you are His child and heir.

If you want to see how much of an insider status you have as a child of God, then consider the viewpoint of an angel. God commands one to go and they go, he tells another to come and they do. They are servants of God. As God’s creation, we will always be bondservants of God, but we also have the addition of being children of God. Imagine an angel seeing Jacob wrestling God for a blessing, when God has commanded Jacob to release Him? No angel would dare to disobey a direct word of God. But as children, God’s first doctrine for us is faith, and no other doctrine after this can contradict it. It is the first primordial doctrine for God’s children.[1] It is their insider status. Imagine an angel looking at Moses standing in front of God, after God said He would wipe out Israel, and say, “Don’t you do it.” No angel would dream to do such a thing, and those who did are now demons. Imagine an angel looking at the gentile woman hijacking Jesus’ analogy, for her own desire, after Jesus told Her it was not her time and it was morally wrong to give what belongs to Israel and give it to her. No angel would do such a thing. However, for God’s children, their insider status (faith), gives them the privilege to do this. Act like the children of God. God wants you to act like children of God, because God re-created you as children of God. He wants this.

You must start somewhere. Today is a good day. Ask for Jesus to help your imperfect faith. Run to win the race. Jesus is the author of our faith. Look to Him, and He will make you a hero of faith. He will strengthen you. Remember faith is not how much you love God, but how much God loves you and has reconciled you to Himself.

This is mature doctrine. Oh Lord, let those who have ears, hear.


[1] These last few statements were influenced by Vincent Cheung’s essay, “Faith Override.”