Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Smart Aleck Jesus

Every now and then, we get a glimpse of another side of our Messiah. It doesn't happen very often, but it's there. I'm not saying he was all the time, but I have found a few places where Jesus was kind of a smart aleck. I can respect that, and it makes me feel a little better about myself.

Maybe smart aleck isn't exactly the right word, but if not, then certainly sarcastic would be a good description at the very least. We had a hint of that in yesterday's blog where he and the disciples were in the boat talking about bread, and I found another place this morning. It's in Mark 9.

This is the story of the demon possessed boy that Jesus healed right after coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration. In this story we hear a father's concern for his child, his plea for help, and then he says something that must have taken Jesus back a bit, at least enough for the smart aleck Jesus to kick in. He said, "If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." To which Jesus replied, "If you can?"

It's almost as if he's saying, "'If you can?', what do you mean 'If you can?' Of course I can, I'm the Son of God. There is nothing I can't do." And then he goes on to heal the boy.

Ok, confession time. I don't know that Jesus was being a smart aleck here. I just brought that up to get your attention and make myself feel better about my own sarcastic ways. I don't think the father was questioning Jesus' ability to heal his son. I think Jesus' question to the father was about his own faith, but I admit that I have a problem with that.

This passage is a very difficult one for me, especially if Jesus was asking the father if his faith was strong enough to heal his son. I won't go into the details, but this one is personal. I would love to think that Jesus was being a smart aleck in this story because that would make it so easy for me to laugh this one off, and say, "Good one Jesus, you really got him." Then we could knuckle bump and go on.

But the question still haunts me, "If you can?" I must admit, this one has me a little stumped. I may have to dig a little farther into the history and context of this particular passage and see if I can figure out what is going on underneath the story. Its one redeeming quality, however, and the one thing that I don't question, is what the father says next..."I do believe, help my unbelief." It shows his humanity, and I'm glad we have those stories in the scriptures. He was struggling. He knew, I believe, who stood in front of him. He knew his power. Yet, there was something in him that wasn't 100% sure yet. And if we're honest we all have those moments.

May God show you this week that you can.


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