The wisest are the most annoyed at the loss of time. —Dante Alighieri
We don’t think of Jesus as impatient. Yet as we read the Gospels, we see impatience is a (holy) attribute of His personality. If you’re like me, then what you really want to know is, “What makes Jesus impatient?”
In Luke 9:28-36, Peter, James, and John had just seen Jesus light up like an LED Christmas tree on a mountainside with Moses and Elijah. As they headed back down the mountain, “A man in the crowd called out, ‘Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams…. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not’” (vv. 38-40).
The Gospel of Mark tells us the disciples weren’t up to the job, and it cost the boy additional time in bondage.
Now, this is peculiar because we read in Luke 9:1 that Jesus had given His disciples “power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases”—100%. And the disciples experienced incredible success throughout the villages.
Until this little boy and his demon. They were weak and unable to help him.
Jesus’ response to the father’s pleas for his son: “You unbelieving and perverse generation… how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here” (9:41).
Two things make Jesus impatient: unbelief and perversity. And that’s what is going on here. We all run the risk of thinking that because God did something yesterday, last week, a year ago, or five years ago, He’ll do it again. This assumption can cause us to bypass extending an invitation to Him to do the work through us. We can easily confuse self-confidence with God-confidence.
Jesus knows it can be better, and this produces a holy impatience.
Jesus, I do love to be good at things. It feels good to know I accomplished something that is helpful to others. But my strength is weakness compared to Yours. I choose to rest in Your strength instead of my own. Amen.
Learn more from Pete’s teaching on Luke, What Will Jesus Do?