Twentyfirst sunday after Trinity.
Jesus said to a man who could not believe that Jesus is able to heal his son: "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." Mark. 9: 23.
We hear of these words of the Savior that he requires faith of those who want to be helped. But there are not many who can believe when they are distressed. Certainly all have faith when there is no trial pertaining the body or the soul, but when there is a trial and the intellect does not more understand where help could come from, then it is not so easy to believe. Even that man to whom Jesus said: "If thou canst believe etc." was unable to believe that his son will become released from the claws of the devil. And he felt even himself that the faith became weaker and weaker. "Lord, I believe: help thou mine unbelief!"
The sorrowful and penitent ones must often feel and experience that their faith is lacking when they see nothing but death and hell, and do not see any hole through which they could escape from there. In this distress many penitent and sorrowful souls have fallen into doubt just like Jesus' disciples who wept and lamented, and were not more able to believe that Jesus will become living anymore. The thieves of grace who have no distress certainly have a faith that is firm as a rock. But the disciples of Jesus have nothing to hope neither in heaven nor on the earth, because they feel that Jesus dies in their hearts. What the servants of selfrighteousness say, that they have no faith, it is only an imagination that they will not become saved in that state (of soul). But they have indeed no distress in their unbelief, as the disciples of Jesus had, but they are satisfied in their unbelief. And at this time there are many prisoners of unbelief who do not become sorrowful of Jesus' death. And some people do not feel at all that Jesus has since long ago died in their hearts. Some people think that Jesus is not more alive but however they are satisfied when they remain in that dead state (of soul). This dead state (of soul) when Jesus is lying in the grave of the dead faith is not the real unbelief, but it is a spiritual death of which the eternal death follows soon. If the disciples of Jesus do not become sorrowful because of Jesus' death, Jesus does not resurrect.
Now Jesus is already died in many Christians hearts. And now all the disciples of Jesus had to become sorrowful. You had to weep and lament when you feel and see that Jesus dies in your hearts. You do not have refuge in the world when Jesus dies. You do not have hope to (come to) heaven when Jesus dies, but you must begin to weep and lament so that the voice is heard in heaven. This moves the heart of the heavenly Father to pardon so that he wakes up his only begotten Son from the death and brings him living to you again.
We hope that the dear Parent hears still in the grave the miserable voice of lamentation of the orphan children when they cry with sorrowful heart. Our Father etc.
The gospel: John. 4: 46.
We heard that the kings' servant believed, because he saw that his son was released from death through Jesus' word. But of Jesus' words - Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe - sounds also that the kings' servant would not have believed in the Son of God if this wonder had not happened. Of this servant of the king the prisoners of unbelief may now take an upbuilding example for themselves and examine themselves according to it, first in his unbelief and secondly in his faith.
For sure there is reason to rebuke the parents because they do not believe in the Son of God before they see some wonder happen. When they come to pray Jesus (asking) that he would come and help their children from spiritual and eternal death. They are not able to believe that their son will be healed in this world before they see that the son will be snatched like a firebrand from the shackles of the death. When they by their prayers carry their sorrowless children to Jesus, they can not believe that the great Lord of life and death has still power by his word to wake up those sorrowless children from the grave of the spiritual death before they see the great wonder happen.
I know that the Christian parents who have that blessed desire that they soon will see the Great Crossbearer and thorncrowned King face to face, have such desire that even their children would become released from the death into life, so that even they would become resqued from the eternal death. The parents desire to see their children sitting in Jesus' lap and lean their heads to Jesus' breast. That is why the parents carry by their prayers their children to Jesus hoping that He would put his hands on them and bless them.
But in this time the parents scarcely can believe that Jesus by his word is still able to wake up their children from the spiritual death. Jesus rebukes you, parents, because of that unbelief and says: Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. And as you have been like the kings servant in unbelief, be also in faith as the king's servant when you see your children be saved from the eternal death. When you see that the spiritual ague has left your children, believe also that the Son of God has power to save by his word your children from the spiritual and eternal death.
If you would believe it, you would have more powers to speak to, advice and exhort your children to become Christians. Oh what a joy you would have, dear parents, if you were able to cather all of your children in your lap and carry them in front of God and say: Here I am, and the the children You gave me. Oh, what a joy the parents might have had, when Jesus took their children in his lap and blessed them! It is pleasant to the parents to see that their children are sitting in the lap of the Heavenly Parent. It is almost impossible to believe that the Son of God is able to heal such children who have newly died in sin, or hardened so that they do not any more listen to their natural parents at all, but go head along to hell.
But the kings' servant had the lack of faith, and the other parents maybe have the lack of faith, too, because they want to see wonders happen in their children before they believe that the Son of God is able to heal them. Pray now, all parents, that the Lord would increase your faith when you come to Jesus to pray that he would heal your children before they die eternally. Pray that you would see your children sitting in the lap of the Creator and leaning their heads toward Jesus' breast and receive his blessing. Then you can with joy and rejoicing come to the judgement and say: Here I am, and the children You gave me. Amen