Continued from Part 2…
We find a clue in the following verse:
And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. Mark 9:14
Aha! Now why would the scribes be questioning them? The scribes were the lawyers of those days, well versed in the Mosaic laws and quite intimidating to the common Jew of that day. Most Jews would have to go to the temple to be able to hear the word read to them. They did not have a copy of the scrolls in their home since these were sacred and kept at the temple. The scribes had the scriptures at their fingertips and on the tip of their tongue at all times and unlimited access to study them day and night. They were the doctors and experts of the law and were revered by the common folk. They were also the ones who would step in at trials to quote scripture and verse in condemning a trespasser of the law. But they were also the ones who honored God with their lips but their heart was far from Him.
They exalted themselves and considered the common people as ignorant and cursed, not knowing the law as they self righteously believed that they did. Jesus called them hypocrites, fools, blind guides and children of hell. He accused them of shutting up the kingdom of heaven against men. This meant that they were withholding the truth from the people and teaching them the false doctrines of men as commandments instead. They neither went in themselves, nor did they suffer them that were entering to go in (Mat 23:13). Like some of the overinflated attorneys and judges of today, they were self-righteous, pompous, arrogant and one did not start a dialogue with them lightly. So when the scribes caught the disciples off guard without Jesus to rebut them, they saw a chance to interrogate them and try to get to the bottom of this Jesus movement that irritated them to no end and which they could not tolerate simply because they did not understand.
So just imagine these intimidating authority figures questioning the nine poor, left behind disciples who had to answer their direct and pointed questions all by themselves without Jesus to step in and put these lofty scribes in their place. No doubt their questions were about Jesus and about the miracles He was performing contrary to the law and on the Sabbath, or so they claimed.
It must have shaken them to their core and taken all the wind out of their sales. After all, these scribes were the revered and honored men of their religious society, whom they had been taught all their lives to respect and hold in high regard. They must have been quaking in their boots trying to defend by the law what their Master was doing.
In the midst of this interrogation, a man steps up to them with his lunatic son and asks them to cast the demon out of his son. Was it a coincidence that the man just happened to pass by or did the scribes fetch the man and his son to put the disciples to the test? Or was he simply in the crowd of people who had gathered to watch the disciples being taken down by the scribes? We don’t know because the scripture does not reveal this but it seems unlikely that this man would simply be walking around with this boy in his lunatic condition or that he would have interrupted a conversation between the revered scribes and the disciples especially with such a multitude of people gathered around them.
But we do know that the disciples tried to cast out the demon at the father’s request while under the gun and under scrutiny of the watchful and critical eyes of the scribes. That would have been enough to make any disciple cringe and lose his nerves unless he was grounded not to be a respecter of persons as they had yet to learn. If we would have been one of these disciples, how would we have behaved under such pressure to perform? Probably no different at all.
So they tried but they failed because they wavered and did not do it in faith but in unbelief. Jesus said so. Could their thoughts have been something like this? “The scribes are watching every move we make and they know the law! Oh boy, will they accuse us of doing something unlawful? Now that the scribes are watching, I sure hope this works! What if it doesn’t work? What if the demon will not come out? What if the boy is not healed? We will look like fools! We will make Jesus look bad and give Him a black eye! They will accuse us of blasphemy like they accused Him. And if it does work, will they accuse us of casting out demons by Beelzebub? Oh, I wish Jesus were here!”
This is a similar mindset I see all the time in brand new believers. No, not new believers in Jesus, but new believers in John 14:12, Luke 10:19 and Mark 16:17-18, having just come into the knowledge and realization that Jesus gave us the power, both authority and ability, to cast out demons and to do the same works that He did. They have heard the message and wanting to believe it, they now step out and ‘try’ it by laying hands on a sick person. Then when they don’t see instant results because of their wavering in unbelief, they feel so foolish that they either quit or become so determined that they will not be denied and push through until they overcome their doubts, fears and unbelief and see the results they command.
They either put their hand to the plow and do not look back until they get results or they quit, walk away from the plow and claim that it is not their ‘gift’. Or, even more sad, just like the Pharisees, they claim that the people who are doing it, are either faking it or do it by the power of the enemy, unknowingly heaping the judgement of blasphemy upon themselves.
These judgmental scribes were most likely no help at all and must have only aggravated the situation. Did they perhaps enter the scene just as the disciples were casting out the demon and interrupt them by questioning them? Or did these scribes hinder the disciples with their complete disdain and contempt of what they were trying to do? Did the scribes humiliate them and laugh them to scorn when they could not cast out the demon? Did these same scribes then ridicule them blasting away every bit of confidence left to destroy their faith? We don’t know. But we do know from scripture that the scribes were present and that they were indeed questioning them.
Franciscus M. Dartee
Grow in Faith | Walk in Power
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