“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”Mark 9:23 NIV
A demon possessed boy. A frantic father. Ineffective disciples. And a wondering crowd. This is what greeted Jesus when he came down off the mountain. Then the father came to Jesus and asked him to do what the disciples were unable to do. But could Jesus do it? That was the question the father had.
Jesus response is instructive, although easy to misunderstand. The first part of his response is directed at the father’s “if you can do anything“. This statement expresses doubt in Jesus ability to heal his son; and Jesus challenges that doubt. He tells him that, to the one who believes, and does not doubt, everything is possible.
Jesus is not telling the father that belief would enable the father to do whatever he wanted to do, that there would be no limits. Instead, he is telling this man that Jesus is able to do anything for the one who believes. The father then sought to have that belief in Jesus, and Jesus responds by casting out the demon.
Belief in Jesus is not a free pass to a life of ease and luxury. If it was, you have to wonder what the apostles were doing wrong. There is no indication that they had much in the way of material goods or an easy life. But this group of mostly uneducated fishermen did the impossible, turning the world upside down with the gospel of Jesus. With belief, nothing that God calls us to do will be impossible. So, trust in the one who can do all things (Mark 10:27).