(In Mark 9) This is one of the greatest New Testament accounts we have probing the complexity of faith and the degrees one experiences in its development. The man's inital faith, by his own admission, is limited. But he has some faith. He did, after all, approach the disciples but, of course, met dissapointment there. With whatever remaining faith he has, he turns to Jesus and says, "If thou canst do any thing," please help us, hoping perhaps Jeus might be able to succeed where all others have failed.
Christ, ever the teacher, seizes on the man's very language and limited faith and turns it back on him "If thou canst believe," Christ says, "all things are possible to him that believeth." In that very instant, in the length of time it takes to have that two-sentence exchange, this man's understanding begins to be enlightened. The look in the Savior's eye or he tone of His voice or the majesty of His bearing or simily the words He spoke -something touches this man spiritually and an inexorable change begins. Up to that moment he had thought that everything depended on others -doctors, soothsayers, priests, the disciples, or, here at the very last, Jesus. Only now, in this exchange, does he grasp that a great deal of the answer to his quest rests upon his own shoulders, or, more accurately, in his own soul.
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