Out of order
Feb. 26, 2022
My apologies, once again. It seems no matter how diligently I double check myself as I prepare an entry, I still make mistakes. When it comes to finding the day’s New Testament reading in the Lectionary of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, it doesn’t seem to matter that I don’t trust to my eyes, my glasses, nor the bright overhead light in my office but use a magnifying glass as well to ‘make sure’ I’ve got the right reading for the right day. Sigh. This reading should have been yesterday’s and yesterday’s was meant for today. Sigh. I beg your forgiveness.
Verse 19 is a rather scathing indictment against the disciples; had they been doing their fastings and prayers, they would have been able to cast out the foul spirit. Jesus just casts it out. Yes; He’s Jesus, Emmanuel – God with us. But more than that, Jesus has been modeling the behavior the disciples should have been following – we often read how He went aside somewhere to pray and although nothing in the Bible specifically says so, I’m certain that Jesus fasted regularly. He was able to immediately cast out the spirit because He was always praying and fasting.
‘O faithless generation …’ isn’t directed at the people around Jesus – it is directed at the disciples. Consider this, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt 25:21). In both these verses, Mark 9:19 and Matt 25:21, ‘faithful’ means being constant in one’s work or endeavors, not about faith in Jesus. The disciples convicted themselves when they weren’t able to do the exorcism; Jesus knew exactly why and He makes it very plain to them in verse 29, pretty much telling them if they’d done as they are supposed to do, they could have cast out the foul spirit.
How constant am I in my work? In my prayer life? In fasting? In living my life in the manner directed by Jesus? These are things we must judge for ourselves. If Jesus were a thermometer, would I be on the cold end or the hot end? Where should I be? Where do I want to be?
How constant are you?