Friday, March 23, 2012

Faith Part 2: The Gospels

Carrying on with faith mentioned in the Gospels. I noticed there was no reference at all to faith in John!
incidentally, my search was done using the ESV version of the Bible.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
(Matthew 6:30)
The first mention of faith in the gospels, and Jesus is using it as a rebuke for having such a small amount. Not the last time that phrase ‘little faith’ will be heard.

When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.
(Matthew 8:10)
Jesus almost gobsmacked because of the Centurion's faith. He only needed Jesus to say the word and that was good enough for him. Job done.

And he said to them, Why are you afraid, O you of little faith? Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
(Matthew 8:26)
Again, ‘Little faith’, but notice this time when faith comes it also comes with peace. Peace incidentally doesn’t mean an absence of crisis.

And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.
(Matthew 9:2)
This is really interesting. How can we recognise faith in others? James says proper faith is accompanied by actions, but I don’t think that means every action is faith filled. There is a spiritual element involved. Our antennae in the Spirit needs to be functioning well to recognise it.

Then he touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it done to you.
(Matthew 9:29)
It’s not popular to say something has or hasn’t happened because of our faith. I have to say I agree with that. In thinking about this verse and also the verses where Jesus rebukes us of ‘little faith’, I can only think it was Jesus who said these things. He is never wrong.

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
(Matthew 14:31)
It might be obvious, but I guess this shows ‘doubt’ as the opposite to faith.

He said to them, Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.
(Matthew 17:20)
Do you get the feeling faith is more powerful than nitroglycerin? just a tiny amount can accomplish so much.

And Jesus answered them, Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and thrown into the sea, it will happen.
(Matthew 21:21)
I think if this was a sum it would look like this: Faith - Doubt + Speak = Accomplished

He said to them, Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?
(Mark 4:40)
Fear also kills faith.

And he said to her, Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.
(Mark 5:34)
Can we do this too? yes, Jesus said we would actually do even greater things than Him, but this cannot be done with presumption!!!! It must be done ‘in Him’, moving when He moves, speaking when He speaks or we will certainly cause a LOT of grief, as those who have zeal but not much knowledge.

And Jesus answered them, Have faith in God.
(Mark 11:22)
Trust Him. Believe what He says about you. Know who you are before Him.

The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith!
(Luke 17:5)
I think if I had been a disciple I too would have asked this question. But look at the reply next.

And the Lord said, If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it would obey you.
(Luke 17:6)
There’s no ‘Yes, OK’, but rather again a rebuke. Jesus is continually pushing his disciples to exercise what they have rather than think it isn’t sufficient enough.

I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?
(Luke 18:8)
What a question!  This is said after Jesus tells the story of the persistent widow and the judge. Persistence is good, Faith is better. Is that how you read this?

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