Faith, by earthly standards, is simply believing in someone or something. Christian faith is more than just that. It’s having a complete confidence in God that compels you to change how you live.
Faith, in Jesus' time, looked a lot like 12 men who knew nothing willingly following Jesus, knowing that He knew the truth. It looked like men leaving their life behind to do anything that Jesus asked. It looked like Peter walking on water, knowing that Jesus had him. Its looked like a women weaving through a crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe, knowing that he was able to heal her. It looked like Mary watching her son die on the cross, knowing he would raise again. It looked like Jesus risking his life to do everything he saw the Father say and do. And ultimately, it looked like Jesus being beaten and crucified, knowing that the Father’s promises would come to pass.
Faith is bold, and it calls people to rise up. To be changed because of the reality of Jesus and what he calls us to do. It is demonstrated in so many of the stories we read in the Bible, even through some surprising people.
For example, in John 6:1-14, Jesus is planning on feeding a huge crowd of people. The disciples don’t know how this is possible, as they don’t have any food. Suddenly, Andrew says:
“There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”
From here, we read on and see that the impossible is made possible. All the men, women and children were fed. They even had 12 baskets of leftovers. But what about that young boy and his faith?
Get this: they’re in a crowd of 5,000. The Disciples don’t have any food. Apparently, neither do the 5,000. They were following, but in some ways you could say that they didn’t prepare for the journey. This boy was prepared. He had the food he would have needed to sustain himself physically on this journey of following Jesus. He was ready. So when it came to feeding the masses, can you imagine what it would have felt like to know you needed to give up your only food?
If he was a young boy of little faith, he probably would have fought to hold onto what was his. Like many of us, he probably would have been selfish, trying to keep himself from being inconvenienced; but that isn’t what happened.
The fact that the boy was able to surrender his food makes me think that he must have had great faith in Jesus. It wasn’t without risk on his part. Giving that up meant that Jesus had to come through in order for him to be able to eat or to be able to sustain himself over the course of the journey.
Or how about blind Bartimaeus, the blind beggar we read about in several gospels?
In Luke 18, it says:
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
“Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him.
But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord,” he said, “I want to see!”
And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.”
Now, to me, this screams faith! Think about it: the guy was blind! Unlike many others, he wasn’t able to witness any miracles with his own eyes. Not only that, but he wouldn’t have known what Jesus looked like or who was coming or where they were going. But he shouted even louder after being told it was Jesus. Why? Because he had faith in Jesus through what he heard. The testimonies he had heard of were enough to have him convinced that Jesus could do something to help him.
How’s that for faith?
I think a lot of us try to base our faith on what we can plainly see, when in reality, what we can see has little to do with the faith we are capable of having. Yes, seeing breakthrough or miracles does empower us, but what we see can’t be the only reason we have faith. There has to be something more valuable and important than just what we see.
So what do you have faith in? What do you have faith for? Who do you have faith in? And ultimately, what limitation do you need to break past in order to keep your faith growing?
Let's be a people who are known for having great faith; just like the men and women we read about in our Bibles.