Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.
Esther Bates-Baker favorite scripture
What is the scriptural or historical context of this scripture:
A man brought his son to Jesus. The son was possessed of a evil and self destructive spirit that caused him to do harm to himself and caused his parents and family much trouble keeping him from serious harm. He must have been very desperate and had probably tried everything available to help his son.
Jesus had already received some notoriety at this point and scribes and others had come to meet him in a multitude. I'm sure this man had a mixture of both hope and fear as he begged for help. Hope that his son could be healed, and fear that he was unworthy to ask such a blessing so that his son would remain afflicted and he would feel guilt for not having greater worthiness and faith.
Thus when Christ says to him, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible" as a statement and a question, the father declares, "I believe." Then he also recognizes that his belief and faith are not perfect and may not be pure, he asks more of the savior as he says, "help thou my unbelief."
We are all in this position when we put forth our petitions to God. We have faith, but we are not perfect and pure in our belief. Or out faith. We all fall short.
But there is still hope, as Jesus helped this man's unbelief, he can help us and make up for what is lacking in our faith, and belief and worthiness if we are humble and bring as much faith to him as we can.
I have always thought of this story in conjunction with the story of the centurion that doesn't bring his afflicted servant to Christ, but asks for his blessing saying, "neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed." And Christ observes, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." Luke 7:1-10
Thoughts about this scripture:
What is the relation of our faith and the blessings we receive from the Lord? When the hands of the servants of the Lord are laid on us, how much faith do we need to have to receive the blessing?
I think we never have a perfect faith, but like the man in this scripture, Christ can make up the difference for us.
How does this strengthen my testimony
Even though I consider that I have a strong testimony of Christ, and I strive to live in a way that would be pleasing to him. I know that I am imperfect in many ways. I know that I don't have the faith to move mountains or walk on water. I wish for this strength of faith, but even doubt in this wish.
So I can put myself in this man's shoes and also beg the Lord to help my unbelief and make up the difference in my lacking faith as I petition him for the blessings of protection for my family.