Terry R. Baughman
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
It is interesting that the disciples were the recipients of the most critical assessment by Jesus over their lack of faith. Four times in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus spoke the phrase, “O you of little faith!” Each time it was directed to one or more of the disciples.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus addressed the subject of worry and offered nature as an example of stress-free living. The birds of the air, the grass of the field, even the beautiful lilies do not worry about their existence and neither should we. He said, “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30). He challenged them to, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). God is our provision. We can trust Him.
On another occasion the disciples were on the Sea of Galilee when a fierce storm battered their boat to the point they feared for their lives. They awakened Jesus pleading for help. He calmly responded, “‘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” (Matthew 8:26). Their fear resulted from their lack of understanding of the great power of Jesus to speak peace to every storm.
In another storm on the sea Jesus was not in the boat, but He came walking on the water. The disciples were even more terrified that this apparition appearing on the water could be a ghost. Jesus revealed His identity, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). Peter asked if he could join Jesus on the water. Jesus said, “Come!” However, as Peter stepped out of the boat he saw the waves all around him. He began to sink and cried out for help. “Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’” (Matthew 14:31).
In the final occasion, Jesus corrected the disciples when they thought He made a reference to their failure to bring bread. Again He said, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread?” (Matthew 16:8). He reminded them of two miracles where He fed thousands with just a small amount of bread and fish.
Jesus commended great faith when He witnessed it during His earthly ministry. (See Matthew 8:10 and 15:28.) On the other hand He condemned the lack of faith when His followers failed to believe Him. The lesson is clear. To please God we must believe in who He is and in His unlimited ability to do the impossible!
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24).