It’s Super Bowl night. While the world watches a temporal game, we continue to focus on eternal things; things that matter for ever.
As I was considering this, I’m reminded about the nature of faith and how it plays into who we are as sojourners and aliens in this world.
Faith is the essence of things hoped for and the promise d0 things unseen. It’s not science for that very reason. It is not things that are observable or about things which we can see. Yet they are things that are certainly more important than a game that is the most highly watched event on television.
Hebrews tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God.
I recently did study of the Gospels and how Jesus commended faith. I found that the spectrum went from “No faith” to “Some faith” to “Faith” to “Faith that was great” to “Great Faith.” I wondered who fit into each of these categories and how did Jesus seem to assign the various levels of faith.
So, who wins the Super Bowl of Faith in the Gospels? In the “No Faith” category we have:
In the “Little faith” category, we have:
The phrase for ‘little faith’ is Oligopistos (Trusting little; lacking faith). Interesting that so far, the faith losers have included the man whose confession of faith would be the foundation of the church and the disciples whose faith would change the world. This says something important about faith, in general. It’s not about the amount of faith you have (although more is better); it’s about the subject of that faith. “If you have the faith of a mustard seed…”
Then, there are those commended for their faith. My definition of faith is “Move and God will meet you there.” I like that. It requires that we do something to demonstrate faith. Miracles worked this way in the Bible. All things spiritual work this way. Again, remember that faith without works is dead.
The word used for faith in the New Testament is Pistis/Pestice: It means a conviction of truth, moral convictions, or beliefs. In every one of these cases, the person had to do something, maybe even something out of the ordinary, in order to show faith and for the healing to occur.
But the winners of the Faith Super Bowl in the Gospels are two of the most unlikely characters you would find. In one case, Jesus calls their faith ‘great’. In other he refers to ‘great faith’.
Matthew 15 tells the story of a Gentile woman whose daughter had a demon. She begged Jesus to heal her. The disciples try to silence her and chase her away. Even Jesus brushed her off. But the woman would not be turned away. She was desperate and she knew that Jesus had the power to heal her daughter. She may have not known all the answers, but she did have GREAT FAITH. The Greek word is “megas”. When Jesus tells her that it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs, she is undeterred. I’ll bet her response was instantaneous. “But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the masters table.” WOW. She didn’t argue. She stated the truth and it showed humility and great understanding and Jesus saw in that moment that her faith was certainly great. It was great enough to be noticed by the Author and Perfecter of Faith himself. THAT is quite a commendation,.
But the winner of Super Bowl of Faith was even more unlikely. He was a Gentile. He was a Roman. He was a Centurion. Enemy. Enemy. Enemy. Matthew 8: 15-13 is worth your time to read again. I believe this specific Centurion was sympathetic to the Jews. I believe he understood Jesus’ claim as being the Messiah. But what he understood the best was authority. He knew the nature of it and how it worked. He explained it in his response. The Bible says that Jesus was amazed by his faith. “I have never found such GREAT FAITH in all of Israel.” Not among the chosen people. Not among the learned of those people. Not among his followers. Not among his family, neighbors or friends. This man was UNRELATED. Yet, he understood faith and exercised its power because he recognized authority. BINGO. The modifier for faith used here is “Tosotos” and means, ‘so many, so much, so great’.
So, we see in the New Testament, varying degrees of faith being exercised. The go from no faith to great faith and in between. It begs the question: What must I do to have more faith?” The disciples asked Jesus to ‘increase our faith!”
Here’s my Super Response to increasing your faith!
A. Know the game:
It's important. It's not a game at all. Why do you think we do what we do and call it faith? It's the air we breath in the spirit realm. Oh, And I know who wins!