Wednesday, July 30, 2008

INCREASE OUR FAITH

Mark 4 relates a story of Jesus and his disciples in a boat, being tossed about on a stormy sea. As we pick up the scene, Christ has just calmed the waves with a single command. Now he turns to his disciples and asks, “How is it that ye have no faith?’ (Mark4:40).

You may think this sounds harsh. It was only human to fear in such a storm. But Jesus wasn’t chiding them for that reason. Rather, he was telling them, “After all this time with me, you still don’t know who I am. How could you possibly walk with me for this long, and not know me intimately?”

Indeed, the disciples were astonished by the amazing miracle Jesus had performed. “They feared exceedingly, and said to one another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (4:41).

Can you imagine it? Jesus’ own disciples didn’t know him. He had personally called each of these men to follow him and they had ministered alongside him, to multitudes of people. They’d performed miracles of healing, and fed masses of hungry people. But they were still strangers to who their Master really was.

Tragically, the same is true today. Multitudes of Christians have ridden in the boat with Jesus, ministered alongside him, and reached multitudes in his name. But they really don’t know their Master. They haven’t spent intimate time shut in with him. They’ve never sat quietly in his presence, opening their hearts to him, waiting and listening to comprehend what he wants to say to them.

We see another scene regarding the disciples’ faith in Luke 17. The disciples came to Jesus, requesting, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). Many Christians today ask the same question: “How can I obtain faith?” But they don’t seek the Lord himself for their answer.

If you want increased faith, you have to do the same thing Jesus told his disciples to do in this passage. How did he answer their request for faith? “Gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken” (17:8). Jesus was saying, in essence, “Put on your garment of patience. Then come to my table and sup with me. I want you to feed me there. You happily labor for me all day long. Now I want you to commune with me. Sit down with me, open your heart, and learn of me.”