There have been times (once in Church, when the congregation was told to stand) when my father really believed he could still use his legs.
How can this be true, and why would Jesus say it?
Amen, I say to you, that whosoever shall say to this mountain: Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, and shall not stagger in his heart, but believe, that whatsoever he saith shall be done: it shall be done for him. Therefore, I say to you, all things, whatsoever you ask when ye pray, believe that you shall receive, and they shall come unto you. (Mark 11:23-24.)
I also remember reading about a 19th “prophet” who set a date for the second coming, and had his followers take him to the top of a mountain (I believe he was elderly and in a wheel chair at the time) where he pushed himself off expecting to meet Christ in the air.
How can it possibly be true that anyone who really believes he can defy the laws of nature will be able to, or that any prayer will be answered affirmatively if we just believe hard enough that it will be answered affirmatively?
Will dad really stand up and walk if I can just ask God to give his legs the strength, and really believe He will (without doubting) for the brief length of time it takes for me to make that request?
How can Christ’s words here in Mark 11:23-24 (and in Matthew 21:22) be taken any other way?
And if He said this (and that’s the only way to take it), and it’s not true, does our whole religion fall to the ground?
If there is some other way of interpreting these passages, have any of the Church Fathers commented on them?
How did they understand them?