And these signs shall follow them that believe…
Jesus tells us that “these signs shall follow” believers. He then tells us what those signs are:
“In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)“
Let’s take a closer look at the word “follow”. The dictionary tells us it means “go or come after a person or thing, move or travel behind”. This does not seem to indicate that something will follow us if we are sitting at home in a prayer closet!
Please notice what this verse tells us in the interlinear:
“Signs now those having believed these will accompany…”
This provides us with further insight. I believe that Jesus was telling His disciples that “these signs” will “accompany”, or “follow” those who have first believed.
I once heard a minister define a belief as a “firm persuasion based on knowledge of the subject under discussion”. If this is so then it doesn’t seem likely that we will be able to develop a “firm persuasion” with just a cursory glance at Scripture when we can squeeze them into our busy schedule.
Many Christians sit in their “prayer closets” day after day begging and pleading with God that He send revival. The Bible tells us in Romans 10:17 that faith comes by hearing Scripture. It does not come through prayer.
Please understand that I am not minimizing the importance of prayer. It is how we fellowship with our heavenly Father. The issue seems to be that many Christians have replaced their time meditating in the Word of God with prayer. Prayer that is not founded in Scripture will never be successful!
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Isn’t it interesting that God told Joshua his key to success would be found through meditation in the Word? Notice that He did not mention prayer!
Jesus said that “these signs” would “follow” “them that believe”. He did not say they would follow them that pray. You cannot believe without Scripture.
Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Here we have an account in which we are told that the disciples failed to cast out a demon. They went to Jesus and He told them their failure was rooted in their unbelief.
In one sense it seems that we’ve become confused about the place of prayer. Jesus did say that “this kind” would go out by prayer and fasting and He was speaking about their unbelief. On the other hand Paul told us in Romans 10:17 that faith (i.e., belief) comes by hearing the Word of God.
It seems that there are two ditches. One side is focused solely on studying Scriptures and the other is focused solely on prayer. I believe Paul and Jesus were in harmony. It seems that “these signs” will follow those who give themselves to prayerful meditation on the Word of God.
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