Jesus is always looking for faith (and finding it in the unlikeliest of places)

“When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8)

Jesus was always on the lookout for faith.

Like a geiger counter in search of uranium or a metal detector on the beach, His heart seems to have started pinging when someone in His presence got the faith-thing right.

Our Lord was busy teaching in a crowded little house in Capernaum one day when the ceiling began falling on him.  Four local men had brought their paralyzed buddy for Jesus to heal, and unable to get him in the house because of the crowd, they carried him onto the rooftop and tore open the tiles. (They couldn’t wait? we wonder.)  As the opening grew bigger, the crowd moved back and some of those inside helped to lower the man into the room. What a moment that must have been.

Scripture says, “When Jesus saw their faith,” He forgave the paralytic of his sin, then healed him of his paralysis. (Mark 2:1-12).

He could spot faith a mile off.

When the blind beggar of Jericho heard Jesus of Nazareth was coming “this way,” without a clue whether the Lord was nearby or a mile off, he began yelling, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!” Then, when people around tried to shush him–this was embarrassing!–he began calling out even louder, “Jesus! Have mercy on me!”

He would not be deterred. He was going to get to Jesus.

As the Lord came within earshot and saw what was happening, He asked people to bring the man to him and healed him of his blindness.

Jesus loves it when people have faith in Him, and takes it as an unkind cut it is when people who should be displaying it do not.

To the fearful disciples who were crying that the boat was about to sink in the storm, the Lord said, “Why did you fear? Where is your faith?” (Matthew 8:26)  They of all people–after all they had seen and heard–should have known they were safe in His presence.  And yet, their faith deserted them.

The Lord watched as the poor widow took her place in the queue and moved along with the other contributors in the Temple treasury that day. Most had bags of coins to drop into the brass urns labeled for the support of the Temple, the priesthood, the holy days, and benevolence.  The woman held two tiny coins in her fingers, the last bit of wealth she possessed on earth. As she dropped it into an urn and walked away, never knowing she has been spotted by the Savior of the world, Jesus told His disciples, “Everyone else gave of their excess. She has put in all she had.  This woman gave more than anyone here.”

He was impressed by her faith, by the faith of the blind beggar of Jericho, of the faith of the four men of Capernaum.

Faith always makes itself known.

The widow’s faith showed up in her offering. The beggar’s faith showed up in his persistence. The faith of the four showed up in their labors to get their friend to Jesus.

The widow said, “Whatever I have.” The beggar said, “Whatever I have to do.” The four men of Capernaum said, “Whatever it takes.”

Faith itself is not visible, but its effects can always be seen.

There is no such thing as secret faith, any more than there can be a private atomic explosion. If it’s there, it will be seen and known and registered.

The nature of faith is that there are always obstacles.

Either you don’t have as much information as you would like, you’re being discouraged by those around you, your knees are knocking, the vote is against you, you stand alone, or something. There is always the negative factor.

Here’s one of the Lord’s favorites…

A centurion of the Roman army stationed in Capernaum approached Jesus.  “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home.  He’s in great pain.”

Jesus said, “Then, come on and let’s go to him.”

The officer said, “Lord, I am unworthy for you to come into my home.  If you will just speak the word, my man will be well.”

He went on to explain, “I too am a man under authority.  I say something to these soldiers and they do it.  And that’s how I know you are under the authority of God in Heaven.”

The servant carrying out the wishes of his master has the authority of the master.

Jesus said, “I have not found such great faith with anyone in these parts.”  Then, He said the words and healed the servant.  (Matthew 8:1-13).

Why was the faith of the centurion so special?  He was the last one anyone expected to be having faith in a Jewish citizen, much less an itinerant preacher who was being castigated by their own authorities.  He was a man of position, prestige, and authority, and perhaps because of that, he had an insight into the authority Jesus was exhibiting.

Scripture says three times “The just shall live by faith.”  That’s Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, and Galatians 3:11. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” And 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us, “We walk by faith and not by sight.”

Don’t like to walk by faith, do you?

You find it hard, and lonely, and uphill?  There will come a time when “faith shall be sight,” my friend, and you will be so glad  you got this right.

Jesus wondered aloud. “When I return from Heaven, will I find anyone still living by faith?”  Worshiping by faith. Giving by faith. Obeying by faith.  Witnessing and serving and helping and forgiving, all by faith and not by sight.

I want to say, “Yes, Lord. Here’s one!” as my hand goes into the air.

You too?  Let’s say it together now.

“Yes, Lord, I believe! ”



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