'Little' Faith and 'Great' Faith
March 8, 2021
And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed." (Matthew 15:22).
In Matthew 6:30 Jesus said those who worry about the basic necessities of life have ‘little faith’. The disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee when a storm rose up. They panicked and woke Jesus up from His sleep crying out, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He calmed the storm, then rebuked them for having ‘little faith’. When Jesus came walking on the storm tossed Sea of Galilee, Peter asked to come to Jesus walking on the water. He got out of the boat and began to walk to Jesus. When he saw the wind and waves, he began to sink into the Sea. He cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” Jesus took him by the hand and saved him saying, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"(Matthew 14:31).
On the other hand, when a centurion came to Jesus begging the Lord to save his paralyzed servant, Jesus said he was a man of ‘great faith’. Jesus said to this Syro-Phoenician woman, “O woman, great is your faith!, Let it be to you as you desire.” Is there really a difference between ‘little faith’ and ‘great faith’? If so, what is the difference? Do some people have more faith than others?
There is a difference between ‘little faith’ and ‘great faith’, but it’s not in the amount of faith a person has, it’s in the appropriation of faith a person has. ‘Little’ and ‘great’ are relative terms. Peter had faith in Jesus. He was a Jewish man who had been called by Jesus to be a disciple. For 2 years he had walked with Jesus and heard His authoritative teaching, witnessed His miraculous power, observed His divine character, and was the recipient of His grace and mercy. He has forsaken everything to follow Jesus and had grown tremendously in spirit. His faith faltered on the storm tossed sea. It was ‘little’ given his extensive background with Jesus.
On the other hand, the Syro-Phoenician woman had faith in Jesus. But she was not a Jewess, she had no previous contact with Jesus, she had only heard of Him and His power to heal, but she forsook her pagan gods, made her way to Jesus, and immediately trusted in Him as her master (Lord) and the Messiah of God (Son of David). Her faith was ‘great’ given her lack of background with Jesus.
What is the point? Hear the words of James (1:5-8) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
“Lord Jesus, may my faith be in a constant state of growth and development in You. By Your Holy Spirit keep my eyes focused on You no matter my current situation. To Your praise and glory I ask, Amen.”