Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"O you of little Jesus"

The Word for today:
Matthew 8:23-9:8

mark this: Matthew 8: 25-26
Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

Faith in and of itself is nothing.

Faith is only as valid as its object. The classic example is Sally, who had great and sincere faith in thin ice. Sally took a walk one day in late January and nobody has seen Sally since.

Sally had big faith in small ice. This is not the recipe for success, or even survival.

Jesus told about faith the size of a mustard seed. A mustard seed is tiny. Faith as big as a mustard seed, Jesus said, could move mountains. (1)

Q. Big faith fails, while small faith moves mountains? How does that work?
A. It can be confusing. So let's take a couple of well-known statements about biblical faith and re-phrase them to make more sense.

When the disciples are frightened for their lives because the storm was tossing the ship, Jesus said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (2)

What the disciples had was a little Jesus. He wasn't little, of course--as he shows by calming the sea. But their concept of him was little. So in this case, "little faith" means "little Jesus."

In another instance, a father brought his child to have a spirit cast out of him. Jesus told him that "Everything is possible for him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (3)

Q. 'Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!' What does that mean?
A. What that means is "I've got a little Jesus; help me to have a bigger Jesus."

These re-phrasings should help us to understand that faith is as big--or as small--as its object. That's why tiny faith in a big Jesus will move mountains, while big faith in small ice drowned Sally.

So don't try to ratchet up the size of your faith. It can't be done. What we need is a bigger Jesus.

Q. How can I magnify Jesus?
A. Well, put no limits on Him. Look up at the stars. If He can make the sun, can He heal your disease? I think so. He who holds together the atom by His power--the little atom which, if split, will blow up an entire city--can He bear your burden? I think so.

The best way to grow Jesus is to do what you are doing right now--'Stand in the Rain' every day and acquaint yourself with him. Look closely at our reading for today: bigger than the natural realm, he calms the sea; bigger than the supernatural realm, he casts out a legion of demons.

But always remember, it's not Jesus who is getting bigger, because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (4) What gets bigger is our understanding of just how infinitely powerful and wonderful he already is!

Q. So how big is 'big' ?
A. Bigger.
Q. How big is 'bigger' ?
A. Bigger.

(1) Matthew 17:20; (2) Matthew 8:26; (3) Mark 9:23-24; (4) Hebrews 13:8

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