…and they shall call his name Emmanuel,
which being interpreted is, God with us…
o Matthew 2:1-12
o Mark 1:39-45
I had a lot of Questions about faith. I became a Christian and grew up at a time where there was a lot of baloney being taught about it, (there still is) anyhow, it really troubled me that I couldn’t believe enough to do the things all those books were saying I would be able to do, if I just had faith… Funny enough, it was years before I asked the Lord about it, and His answer was, as always, to the point. He simply suggested I get out my concordance and look up faith, and read every chapter where faith was mentioned. So I did.
I immediately found out several things—
o There were hundreds of references, not just the few all those books used,
o That the few verses all those books used were pulled out of context,
o And that what was being taught was full of it.
Oh, and I found out that faith, in the vast majority of verses and sections of scripture, referred to someone believing that Jesus is who He said He is, the Son of God. I had mixed feelings about that. I was very relieved to finally know with absolute assurance what faith was, to know that what all those books had been teaching was total nonsense, but on the other hand, I was very embarrassed that I had waited years and years to see if what I was being taught was true or not!
My first lesson on being a Berean, and on the power of putting a lot of the Word in you… you see, I didn’t change my definition of what faith is, God did.
1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3 When Herod the King had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of you shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9 When they had heard the King, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts—gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
—faith is not specifically mentioned here, so two notes are necessary… first, the word Christ, used extensively, literally means Son of God, and two, please note, the wise men believed Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God—
5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6 and saying, Lord, my servant lies at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
7 And Jesus said unto him, I will come and heal him.
8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it.
10 When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11 And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go your way; and as you have believed, so be it done unto you.
And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
—what the centurion was saying to Jesus was, You’re God, you don’t need to come to my house to do this, just say it, and it will be done—
23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. 24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
26 And he said unto 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. 27But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
—I write about this in A Year with A. Berean, the companion book to this one, so I’m not going to repeat everything here. Let me just say, Jesus was not rebuking the disciples because they didn’t believe He could still the storm. No, He was rebuking them because there was no way a boat could sink while God was in it!—
1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy;
Son, be of good cheer; your sins be forgiven you.
3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemes. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think you evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say,
Your sins be forgiven you; or to say,
Arise, and walk?
6 But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins, (then said he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up your bed, and go unto your house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
—one of the most important sections of scripture to us, for here Jesus proves He has the power to forgive sins. Oh, and I also love this one from a faith standpoint, because the guy healed wasn’t the one with faith, his friends were. It takes no stretching for this to fit our teaching, that his friends had brought him to Jesus because they believed Jesus was the Son of God, so He could do it, He could heal him. But to say his friends believed, so their faith healed their friend, oh, we can make it fit, it just takes a little work, but then, no one would be believing all that nonsense being taught if a little stretching didn’t make it possible, if you just believed enough! Sorry, I guess I’m still a little angry about how that false teaching tormented me for years—
26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.
27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, You Son of David, have mercy on us. 28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus said unto them, Believe you that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. 29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. 30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. 31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.
21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, you Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she cries after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26 But he answered and said, It is not right to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is your faith: be it unto you even as you will. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
—you really have to stretch to make this fit anything but our definition, that her daughter was healed because she had faith that Jesus was God, so He could do it—
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: 33 and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand,
Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: 36 naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you hungry, and fed you? Or thirsty, and gave you drink? 38 When saw we you a stranger, and took you in? Or naked, and clothed you? 39 Or when saw we you sick, or in prison, and came unto you?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand,
Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto you?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:
—but the righteous into life eternal.
—this does not perfectly fit with our study on faith, but it is an important part of it, because as we can see, as far as God is concerned our actions reflect our faith—
40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If you will, you can make me clean. 41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and said unto him, I will; be you clean. 42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. 43 And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; 44 and said unto him, See you say nothing to any man: but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
45 But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.
—as we will soon see, Jesus did not have to touch the leper to heal him. No one touched a leper, so Jesus’ act had personal meaning to the leper—
1 And again he entered into Capernaum, after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. 2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. 3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. 4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy,
Son, your sins be forgiven you.
6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 7 Why does this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only? 8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason you these things in your hearts? 9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy,
Your sins be forgiven you; or to say,
Arise, and take up your bed, and walk?
10 But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins, (he said to the sick of the palsy,) 11 I say unto you, Arise, and take up your bed, and go your way into your house. 12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
—I’ve often thought about what Jesus said to the man sick with palsy, your sins be forgiven you… and I’ve come to the conclusion that Jesus addressed first what was (to the man sick with palsy) the greater need. We often judge circumstances and needs with our eyes. Thank God He doesn’t!—
35 And the same day, when the even was come, he said unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship—so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, care you not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still.
And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
—Even if the bottom of the boat had been ripped off, even if the entire sea of Galilee had been dumped into it, there was no way that boat was going to sink so long as God was in that boat. That His disciples did not understand such a thing amazed Him. Of course, under the same conditions, I doubt if you or I would have done any better than the disciples did—
And so we’ve reached the end of the first day, and have made a great start on changing our definition of faith to the proper one. And tomorrow gets better!