Today’s reading: Luke 23-24.
“Why is my faith so small?”
Faith is putting all your eggs in God’s basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch. – Ramona C. Carroll
We struggle with our weak faith and think the disciples must have had it easier. They walked with Jesus, saw his miracles, and heard his words. Surely their faith was strong. Yet following his death and resurrection, Jesus found his disciples quickly failing in their efforts to keep believing in him. On the day of his resurrection, he secretly walked with two disciples on a road out of Jerusalem. Not recognizing him, they opened up about their disappointed hopes that Jesus was the Messiah.
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Luke 24:25-27
The small faith of the disciples began with some significant misunderstandings.
The men on the road to Emmaus called Jesus a prophet. They saw him as a man, and sent by God, but not as the son of God.
They thought he was bringing immediate political change. Their hope that he would redeem Israel wasn’t a belief in spiritual salvation, but in his ability to overthrow their oppressors.
They didn’t know God’s promises concerning Jesus. He had to teach them everything the Law and the Prophets foretold about his life and death.
You and I make some similar mistakes that hinder our faith. We identify Jesus incorrectly, emphasizing his role as teacher or the one who forgives our sin, but neglecting his role as son of God. If he is God’s son, and we are God’s children, Christ’s brothers as he said, then (beyond doubting) all the resources of the King of Heaven are ours.
Like the disciples we mistake Jesus’ purpose. We focus on how his gift of salvation saves us personally, but forget that he saved us in order to make disciples of others. He said he would be with us to the end as we go and make disciples. It was the main mission he committed to us, and you can be sure (full of faith) that he equipped us for it.
Too often we forget the prophecies concerning the Messiah, though for us the important ones are those that are yet unfulfilled. Those are the ones we need now to strengthen our faith. In the present Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be with us to comfort, guide, and empower us. In the future he warned of extremely difficult times, but he said not to worry because he would give us words that none of our enemies could resist or contradict. He also promised to return and put an end to wickedness when he reigns as the king of kings and lord of lords. Though the problems of the present may trouble us, and possibilities of the future may worry us, our faith will grow stronger if we practice learning the promises of the Bible, promises such as:
- He will never leave you nor forsake you.
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- All things work together for good to those who love the Lord.
- He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.
The happiest moments we have ever had have been spent in Jesus’ company—and we are never so blessed as when He opens the Scriptures to us and opens our hearts to receive them. But we are in danger lest in the press of worldly cares; lest in our frequent conversations with our fellow men; lest, even, in our attendances upon the domestic concerns of our own little home, we may forget to invite Jesus to abide with us! Communion with the Lord is more often broken by lack of thought than by lack of heart, though, alas, when the lack of thought has let Him, “go further,” then it has cooled down into that rock of ice which we have called a lack of heart. Therefore, Brothers and Sisters, let us charge our hearts that we never forget to entertain the Savior. – Charles Spurgeon
Image, “Christ with two disciples,” by Rembrandt