The Building Blocks of Faith

Posted by

This week, we’ve been camped out in Matthew 8, discussing two very different stories about faith. One story was when Jesus identified the disciples’ low faith level. Another story was about an unlikely man who had immense faith in God. The more that I’ve thought about this topic of faith, the more I’ve wondered how these stories might be connected to each other.

So let’s walk through Matthew 8 together and put ourselves in the story for just a moment. When I imagine how I would react in a Bible story, I always learn more about myself and about the character of God.

The Centurion

The centurion was encouraged by Jesus for his faith—this man was #1 in the faith rankings. Jesus didn’t deliver this message to him privately or quietly. He didn’t slip him a note or send him a DM, he marveled at the man’s faith out in the open and in front of the disciples.

If you were one of the disciples, how might you have felt in that moment?

Would you have gotten angry at not being called #1? Or would you have felt sad or disappointed? Would you want to compete or earn that place?

Peter’s House

After the centurion incident, Jesus heads over to Peter’s house where he heals Peter’s mother-in-law. Jesus heals many sick people and frees people from demon-possession. He shares the cost of following him with those who claimed they would follow him anywhere.

If you were one of the disciples, how might you have felt in that moment?

Would you be feeling encouraged at the power of God displayed? Would you be amazed that Jesus had chosen you as one of his closest followers? Would you feel proud that you were committed enough to count the cost and follow him?

The Storm

Then Jesus and his friends get into the boat and a storm hits. This wasn’t a light rain or a little choppy water—these experienced fishermen were terrified by this storm. We don’t know what they did between the time they became fearful and the time they woke Jesus up, but we know what Jesus did after he woke up: he commented on their faith level.

If you were one of the disciples, how might you have felt in that moment?

Would you be grateful that Jesus stopped the storm? Amazed that he was able to cease the wind and the waves? Would you have been certain Jesus was talking about someone else’s “little faith”?

What it Means for Us

I believe that Jesus knew this particular storm was going to come. I wonder if, in addition to displaying his vast love to the Jewish people, Jesus wanted the disciples to be encouraged and their faith strengthened before the storm hit. I wonder if they squandered some of the faith-building opportunities Jesus had provided to them during their time together.

If I’m being honest, had I been one of those disciples, I think shame probably would’ve started its work the minute after the storm had ceased. I probably would replay the events of the day over and over again on a loop, analyzing every word and action for what else I could’ve done or said to not have gotten that analysis from Jesus. The words “you of little faith” would’ve felt crushing to me, instead of kind and loving. I likely would’ve looked at the faith of the centurion and felt worthless as a result—I had been traveling with Jesus all over the country and this man (who was an agent of Rome), was commended for his faith. I probably would’ve been devastated by that assessment.

I’m grateful that even in moments where shame, pride, or selfishness are my first response, that Jesus is still loving and kind to me. When I overlook miracles in my own life, focusing on myself instead of him, he redirects me back to what’s important. When I beat myself up over past mistakes, he takes me by the hand and points me to the cross, where his love for me was fully displayed.

While the disciples had little faith at this point in their journey, their faith didn’t stay that way. These men allowed themselves to be healed and set free by Jesus, and after his death, burial, and resurrection, they were empowered by the Holy Spirit to take the gospel around the world. Their faith level wasn’t stagnant or set in stone, but grew exponentially over time. They shook off those things that so easily entangled them so they could run after God and encourage others along with them. And I’m so glad that we are empowered to do the same.

How do you think you would have reacted if you would’ve been in the disciples’ shoes?

How have you seen your faith grow over time?

To go Deeper: Read Woman with the Issue of Blood,
Putting Yourself in the Story

3 comments

  1. I’ve never noticed that juxtaposition of the Roman soldier having faith and the disciples not having faith–wow! The stories of unlikely people used by God, ironic twists, etc. throughout scripture amaze me and also challenge me.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s