The ministry of Jesus Christ provides a rich source of information about God and ourselves. On the surface are explicit statements that
reveal clearly what He wants us to know; at a deeper level are implications that are more penetrating and humbling.
When speaking of "faith", Jesus meant a belief based on reality of His deity and the One prophesized by Moses and the Old Testament
prophets. "Faith" was not a hypothetical abstraction.
"You men of little faith" (Matt 8:23-27;
Mark 4:37-41; Luke 8:22-25)
While sailing across the Sea of Galilee, a sudden storm alarms the disciples who, fearful of drowning, awaken Jesus
for help. Jesus rebukes them and calms the sea. Despite demonstrating His power over the natural world by physical healing and the demonic
world by exorcism, the disciples did not fully realize who Jesus was. In stilling the storm, Jesus assumed the authority exercised only by
God in the Old Testament (Ps 89:8-9; 106:8-9;
107:23-32), and caused the disciple to question, "Who is this?"
What do we learn from the faith of people that is worthy of Jesus' comment?
The Centurion (Matt 8:5-13; Luke 7:2-10)
While imploring Jesus to heal his servant, the centurion prevents Jesus from coming to his home, because of his
unworthiness to have such a guest let alone even approach Him. In contrast, Jewish elders appealed to Jesus because they thought the
centurion worthy of Jesus' help!
When Jesus speaks of "faith," it is a belief based on the fact that 1) He is the Messiah and 2) human beings recognize the truth about
Jesus recognized genuine faith when He observed people who understood the true nature of sin, recognized their
unworthiness before God and sought His grace in forgiveness (Luke 18:9-14).
After Jesus' Crucifixion, the gospel points back to this historical event as the basis of faith.
Jesus is real, because He was publicly crucified and resurrected in three days.
God is real, because Jesus is His Son. With Jesus as His mediator of the New Covenant, God partially fulfills the
Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 12:3; 22:18;
Just as in the Old Testament, faith has a basis in historical fact with a view towards the future as God fulfills His covenants.
For deeper study:
What does Jesus say about "faith"?
Does God define what faith means?
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