As a seminary student, I’ve had to read a lot of the Gospels lately. Even so, I discovered that whenever you read the books in the Bible consecutively, you start to notice a lot of things you may not have picked up on before. One of those things for me was, Why does Jesus continually ask the people he performs miracles on not to tell anyone about them?
It was confusing, because I thought Jesus called us to tell everyone about Him and His power to heal. So…why not then? It wasn’t until reading my third gospel story that it hit me: Jesus didn’t want people to believe in Him because of His miracles, He wanted them to believe in Him through faith. Faith, not through WHAT he was doing, but by believing in WHO he said he was. That was their only means of true salvation.
Even after His resurrection, while visiting the disciples in the Upper Room, Jesus tells Peter, “It is good that I go away.” Now, why in the world would Jesus think it is BETTER for us to be without Him??? That seems crazy. And yet, not if you really understand faith. Yes, Jesus performed miracles to prove He was the Messiah, but He left us so that we could have true faithin who He was. If we need to see Jesus perform a miracle in order to believe he can, then we don’t have faith.
Thus begs the question, what is faith? I’ve always thought of it as simply trusting in God, which it is, but if an unbeliever asks me to explain faith to them, I don’t think “just trust!” is going to help them conceptualize it very much. A DTS professor of mine was giving a lecture on Genesis, and before we could start talking about the fall of man, he said it was vital that we first truly understand what faith means. Because sin, he added, is the absence of faith.
In Romans 14:23 Paul tells us, “Everything that is not of faith is sin.” Just as our salvation is not through good works, our sinfulness is not through terrible acts. Sin is due to our separation from God.
What do you really love about God? His gifts, or His person? We’re reminded to think about God’s own standard of faithfulness, which is about who He is. To be faithful to God is to have knowledge of Him, to accept the truth in the Bible, to commit to loving Him, and to hope in His promises. We must be faithful not because of what He does but because of who He is.