What is a ‘great’ faith?

Jesus said to two persons that their faith was “great”. One of them was a centurion who came to Jesus and asked Jesus to heal his servant. Jesus answered him: “I shall come and heal him.” But the centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But just say the word and my servant will be healed” … When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to those who were following, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”(Matt. 8:7-13). Despite his high rank the centurion trusted Jesus and submitted himself to Jesus’ authority. Jesus called it a “great” faith.

There is also the Canaanite woman who asked Jesus to help her daughter who was possessed by the devil. Jesus replied: “I have been sent only to the lost sheep of the people of Israel.” At this the woman came and fell at his feet. “Help me, sir!” she said. Jesus answered, “It isn’t right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” “That’s true, sir,” she answered, “but even the dogs eat the leftovers that fall from their masters’ table.” So Jesus answered her, “You are a woman of great faith! What you want will be done for you.” And at that very moment her daughter was healed” (Matt. 15:24-28). During that time the word “dog” was used to refer to pagans in a humiliating way. In this way Jesus tested her faith. But the woman says: “That is true, Lord.” The woman believed that Jesus will heal her daughter. In both instances we see that, to Jesus, a “great” faith means to trust Him in humility.

To believe in God is not the same as to believe that the sun will rise again tomorrow. It is also not to believe that God exists. To believe in God means to trust Him. We don’t put our trust in our faith, but in God. It is not our faith that helps us through bad situations, but God in whom we believe. Faith is no accomplishment of man himself. It is a gift from God: For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it (Eph. 2:8).

To believe in God is to realise that I can do nothing to inherit the kingdom. I can only count on his grace in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sins. To believe in God means that I’m aware of the emptiness within myself, utterly lost in sin, with nothing to offer in redemption. There’s only One who can help – God Himself through Jesus Christ. He is our peace, He is the one on whom we rely.

To believe in God means to trust Him and place myself in his hands. Then I’ll still fall, but never further than the hand of God. If I believe in Jesus and what He had done for me on the cross, He will not only “come under my roof”, but He will come to live in me through his Spirit.

Lord Jesus, teach us to live in dependence upon You and trust You in everything. Amen.

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Gert Berning

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