Do You Believe That I Am Able To Do This?

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As we continue this series looking at questions Jesus asked, we come today to the question “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

We find it in Matthew 9:28 where Jesus asks this question of two blind men who have come to him for help.  Jesus has just performed two miracles- healing a woman who has suffered bleeding for twelve years, and raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead.  As Jesus leaves Jairus’ house the blind men follow him, calling out, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”  When Jesus reaches the house where he is staying they follow him inside, and that is when he asks the question.

Like many of Jesus’ questions, at first glance it seems a strange thing to ask, because it seems obvious that the blind men have faith.

  • They have witnessed Jesus’ power in the other miracles he has just done.  Of course they haven’t seen this for themselves but they would have heard the reaction of the crowd and they obviously believe in his power.
  • They show amazing persistence and determination.  I don’t know how far Jairus’ house was from the place where Jesus was staying, but they follow him all the way!  That can’t be easy when you’re blind, but they persist in following him and shouting for help.
  • Their words indicate that they have faith.  They call Jesus “Son of David,” a title which refers to the Messiah, so they clearly believe he is the promised deliverer sent from God.
  • They follow Jesus right into the house where he is staying.  They are clearly not going to give up.

All of this makes me wonder why Jesus asked the question.  Surely he already knew the answer.

It had me puzzled until I discovered some helpful insights in a sermon by Charles Spurgeon.  You can read the complete sermon here.

He suggests placing the emphasis on the last word of the sentence: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?

Jesus was asking more than whether they believed in the power he had just shown in other people’s situations, or even than whether they believed in theory that he was the Messiah.  He was asking whether they believed that he had power to do this…now…for them.

I think sometimes it can be easy to believe the theory of who Jesus is, and maybe to believe that he has worked in other people’s lives, but it can be harder to believe that he wants to work in my life, in my situation.

This is the kind of faith Jesus is looking for though, and it is the kind of faith the blind men display: “Yes, Lord, we do,” they reply, and Jesus touches them and heals them.  “Because of your faith, it will happen.”  (Matthew 9:29 NLT)

This is a challenge to me.  Do I believe that Jesus is able to do this (whatever “this” is) for me?  Do I trust in him for my salvation, for my healing, for my forgivness, for him to answer my prayers and work in my situation?  It is one thing to believe in theory and another to place our lives in his hands, but this is the kind of faith Jesus is looking for.

It’s one thing to believe in theory.  It’s another to believe in Jesus’ power now, for this, for me.   (Click to tweet.)

God is the one with the power to heal and transform, but sometimes our faith is a necessary part of it.  I wrote here about a time when God challenged me with this question, and I believe the healing that resulted only came because I was willing to step out in faith.  By contrast, in Nazareth, Jesus’ power was limited by a lack of faith: “Because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.”  (Mark 6:5 NLT)

There is another side to this though, which we can’t ignore.

There are times when we have faith.  We believe with all our hearts that Jesus can do “this,” or at the very least we have “faith as small as a mustard seed” which Jesus said was enough to move mountains.  (Matthew 17:20)  We are willing to step out in faith and play our part.  We show every bit of the same persistence and determination that the blind men displayed as we plead with God to help, and yet the miracle doesn’t come.  I have been there too, and I think most of the time, in these situations, we can’t understand why.

If I was to honestly answer the question, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” most of the time I think my answer would be: “Yes, I believe you are able.  I have seen you transform situations, I believe in your power and I know that nothing is impossible… but I’m not sure if I believe you will.”

Maybe that’s okay though.  God rarely gives any guarantees about how he will answer our prayers. I think there are times when faith is believing that God can and will move mountains, but there are also times when faith is trusting in God’s goodness and continuing to place our hope in him, even when the mountains refuse to move.  Ultimately our faith has to be in him rather than it resting on a particular outcome.

Faith is trusting that God can move mountains but it’s also trusting when the mountains don’t move. (Click to tweet.)

“I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand,
But even if You don’t,
My hope is You alone.”

Do you believe that I am able

This is part 6 of a series reflecting on questions Jesus asked.  Click to read the other posts:
What Do You Want Me To Do For You?
Do You Want To Get Well?
How Much Bread Do You Have?
Who Touched My Robe? 
Can Worry Add To Your Life?

Embracing Every Day  “God-Sized  Holly Barrett     purposefulfaith.com             

    

 

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44 thoughts on “Do You Believe That I Am Able To Do This?

  1. How wise of Spurgeon to suggest that we ask ourselves, ““Do you believe that I am able to do this?”” The question will move our hearts from theory to faith. I recently heard the song by Mercy Me as well and it is beautiful! Wonderful way to start off my week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My ears perked up when you mentioned Spurgeon — he almost always looks at matters in a way that surprises me. This time, I’m convicted of the same emphasis. With all that God has done in the past, I should be looking at new challenges with the certainty that God can do THIS.
    Thanks so much for this encouragement for my Monday.

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  3. I love how you’re helping me dig deeper into Jesus’ questions, Lesley. I think I often carry the question in my heart – “Lord, I believe You can, but will You for me?” I love the song, too. And how true this is – “Faith is trusting that God can move mountains but it’s also trusting when the mountains don’t move.” Sometimes it is better for us that He doesn’t answer in the way we want, isn’t it? I’m thinking that if Jesus didn’t help the blind men to see, He would have even greater things for them. It makes me think of how we don’t need to understand, but we just need to hold His hand. Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Thanks, Trudy. I’m glad this series is helping you dig deeper- it’s certainly doing the same for me.
      I think we’re never going to understand it all so we have to trust God however things turn out and believe that he can work things for good even when it doesn’t seem like it. Love and hugs to you!

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  4. Yes! So much harder to remember He is good when He doesn’t do the good we know He could. I’m facing that with a friend now and it is breaking my heart! Thanks for these words!

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    1. Praying for you and your friend, Liz. I have been in a situation like that with a friend and it is so tough. It’s so important to hold to God’s goodness and faithfulness even when we struggle to see what he’s doing in our situation. The song “Blessings” by Laura Story helped me a lot in keeping that focus.

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  5. This question is one that has been haunting me recently. The timing of your post is perfect. I say the words, “I believe” but most of the time it is not in reference to myself but someone else. Spurgeon wisely emphasizes the word “this” because I also like you question whether I believe for me. Thank you for convicting me to allow God to teach me over and over the power of His love for me and that He has things just for me.

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    1. Yes, Spurgeon’s emphasis really brings the question alive and makes it personal. Praying for faith, for both of us, that we really believe God can, and wants to, do “this” for us.

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  6. What great insight… it’s so often easier for us to believe big things for other people –this is why we need the Body! I love that these blind men were together… believing with and for each other. I will never read that verse again without emphasizing that last word!

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    1. Thanks, Karrilee! Yes, it’s so good that we can encourage one another and have faith for one another, especially when we’re struggling to believe for ourselves.

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  7. I love your emphasis on the word “this.” I so often think like you mentioned: I believe he is able, but is he willing? I want my trust to be in him, too, not in the outcome. Great insights here. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Oh, my word, Lesley! I am sitting here typing this through streaming tears. Only God knew how much I needed this right now. “This” is different in all of our lives, and I can totally see why Jesus asked the blind men this question, even though it seemed that the answer was obvious. And, this song! I heard the end of it one day, then later, the Lord let me hear the whole song on the radio, and it hit a nerve like you wouldn’t believe. I really appreciate you and your writing…it has a spiritual depth that always stirs my soul and challenges me in my walk with the Lord. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks, Cheryl. I’m so glad God ministered to you through the post and the song. Praying that you know God with you and see him working in your situation. I appreciate you too- thanks for all your encouragement!

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  9. I’d never considered this perspective either but it’s a reflection of my faith. As you said, yes I believe he can, but do I believe he will? For me. To articulate it in that way really hits me. Thanks for sharing this. Spurgeon has some great insight.

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    1. I don’t know why we find it harder to believe for ourselves but I loved Karrilee’s comment above that that’s why we need one another. We can take turns to believe for one another.

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  10. Lesley, this is wonderful. I love your insights, and also the song is one of my current favorites. Isn’t it so kind of God to give us specific examples of how to pray when we’re in this kind of situation? “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.” He knows our finite human minds have trouble believing at times, and He gives us a way through. So true, that our faith needs to be in Him rather than a certain outcome!

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  11. Hi Lesley,
    I love how you examined this story since it’s one I’ve often puzzled over. Jesus’ questions are curious but obviously he had a very good reason for asking them and for us to consider them today! These are good words to ponder as we consider what we ask Jesus to do in our lives — even the seemingly impossible! xo

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    1. Yes, Jesus’ questions often seem strange at first but we can learn so much when we dig deeper into them. I love how they can still speak so powerfully to us today.

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  12. Hi Lesley! That song by Mercy Me is so touching. I often think that Christian singers have the deepest of faiths, to be able to come up with such soaring music and lyrics. But they are human too, and have hard times on their own faith journeys. Very powerful song.
    Yes Lord, you are able, but you will do what’s best for me. Help me to trust whatever you decide, and not to feel rejected or dejected. Your way is perfect.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ceil. Yes, I love MercyMe’s music. Several of their songs have been special to me over the last couple of years. They’re honest about things being hard but also always point to hope in Jesus. This song is a great encouragement to trust God whatever the outcome.

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  13. Head nodding with you here: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” most of the time I think my answer would be: “Yes, I believe you are able. I have seen you transform situations, I believe in your power and I know that nothing is impossible… but I’m not sure if I believe you will.”
    The same thoughts often fester in my mind as well. It seems the more we trust Him in the little things, those daily, moment-by-moment situations, the more we see those thoughts quiet. Visiting via #chasingcommunity. Blessings!

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    1. It is easy to get so hung up on a particular outcome and to feel like our faith rests on that but when our hope is in God and his faithfulness it is much more secure.

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