Monday, August 20, 2012

Faith

So I'm still in the book of John.  I know, it's taking me awhile, I'm REALLY going to have to step up this reading if I think I can handle seminary.  But there is something I read last week that I just can't seem to get off my mind.  At the beginning of chapter 9 Jesus is healing the man who has been blind from  birth, and there is a part of the story I have never noticed before... 

The NIV says it this way, "After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing."

So here is my question.  Why did Jesus spit on the ground and make the clay?  On numerous occasions, Jesus healed by words alone.  He repeatedly performed miracles simply by speaking. In the 5th chapter of John, Jesus healed the paralytic by the Sheep Gate simply by saying "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."  Even when he wasn't near the person who was sick, Jesus was able to heal them.  In the book of Luke, a Roman Centurion begs Jesus to heal his sick servant and when Jesus agrees to go with him the centurion replies, "I do not deserve to have you come under my roof...but say the word, and my servant will be healed".  And Jesus heals him, without ever laying eyes on him.
 There are even times when Jesus essentially did nothing and healing came.  Remember the woman in the book of Matthew who simply touched Jesus robe and received healing?  In this story, Jesus could have healed him with words alone (or even less), so why bother with the spitting and the clay?  Why was that necessary?

My devotional says "The clay encouraged the man to display faith."  Hmmm.  

Jesus told the bleeding woman in Matthew "Your faith has healed you".

In Luke, Jesus was amazed by the faith of the centurion.


Is it all about faith?

This is what I have been thinking about for the past week.  Does God do that today?  Does he still do things to "encourage our faith"?



It's true that faith is a spiritual gift. It's listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 as one of them.   It comes easily for some and is very challenging for others.  For me, it has generally come pretty easy (though I can think of some pretty specific times when I have lacked faith and it cost me dearly).  So I am absolutely fascinated by this idea that God will give us what we need to encourage our faith!  Has he done that for me?  Have there been times in my life when my faith has been encouraged?  ABSOLUTELY!!!  I have been encouraged by the words God wrote for me, by the people he has put in my life and even sometimes by really tangible things like a check in the mail at the PERFECT time.

My faith is strong.  It is one of my spiritual gifts, but I know it's not every ones.  If you struggle with this then I want to be one of the ways God encourages YOU to display faith.  



"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see."  Hebrews 11:1.