What refreshing encouragement I’ve seen in God’s word this morning!!
Just after the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus, Peter, James and John come down the mountain to find the other disciples with a large crowd around a man and his son. The mute boy was often thrown to the ground, would foam at the mouth, gnash his teeth and become rigid. His father had brought the boy to Jesus. The disciples tried to help. Chronologically this event was after “[the disciples] drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them” [6:13]. But no healing this time.
The word Mark uses when he says “they could not” heal the boy means
to be strong
to have power
to have power as shown by extraordinary deeds
to exert, wield power, to have strength to overcome
to be a force, avail
to be able, can
It is clear that they didn’t have the power, could not be a force, could not avail, and were not able to heal this child.
Enter Jesus. A brief exchange between the father and Jesus ends with the dad clearly at the end of himself; "If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
"'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
To believe is to be persuaded of, to place my confidence in, to trust in Jesus or God as able to either obtain or do something – to be confident in His ability. I love this dad’s response: "I do believe; help me overcome my want of faith, my weakness of faith!" That is just like me. I believe; I’m confident in my Strong God; and then I’m wobbly in my faith and my confidence is shaken – again.
Jesus proceeds to heal the boy. He tells the evil spirit to leave and never return. After much shrieking and violent convulsing the spirit leaves and the boy looks like he has died. Then my fabulous word from today…
“But Jesus took (Krateo) him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.” No big deal, right? Until you know Krateo means:
to have power, be powerful, to be chief, be master of, to rule
to get possession of, to become master of
to hold in the hand, not discard or let go, keep carefully and faithfully
to continue to hold, to retain, like death continuing to hold one
Jesus also ‘took by the hand’ Peter’s mother-in-law and the Pharisee’s daughter who had died and raised them up to health and life respectively. The same word is used when the religious leaders were planning to apprehend Jesus and also when the soldiers came to arrest Him.
I was intrigued to see much earlier as Jesus explained to the Pharisees, "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men," krateo used again. I’ve known ideas and thought patterns to be powerful in my life before. If a thought has possession of me it quickly becomes master of so much more than just thoughts – that was my undeniable prison 2 years ago – thoughts retaining me in a cell of lies and darkness.
I pretty much laughed out loud when I read, "But God raised [Jesus] up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.” No kidding!! Like death would ever be powerful, master or get possession of the Author of Life!
These last four verses were like the icing on the cake for me. The words used to translate “Krateo” are in bold:
18-19Don't tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They're a lot of hot air, that's all they are. They're completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us. [Colossians 2 Msg]
15With all these things in mind, … stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you ... [2 Thessalonians 2]
14So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. [Hebrews 4 NLT]
18So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. [Hebrews 6 NLT]
This is crucial for life, wellness, health of soul and mind:
keep a strong grip,
get possession of,
become master of,
do not let go or discard,
keep carefully and faithfully
our connection to the source of life [Jesus],
the truth we’ve learned,
the teaching that has brought us life,
and the hope that lies before us.
This will bring life to us and send the enemy of our souls scurrying away – he has no claim on anything Jesus has taken hold of. That’s what I want: Jesus to take hold of me and me keeping a strong grip on truth.