Faith in God
What is "Faith?"
When Jesus taught in the Temple, he told a story to its leaders about God's Kingdom:
"Once, a foreign businessman planted a vineyard and rented it to some local farmers. Then, the businessman returned to his own country. When harvest time arrived, the businessman sent servant after servant to collect his share. But the farmers chased them all away.
Finally, the businessman sent his son. 'The farmers will treat my son with respect,' the businessman thought to himself. When the farmers saw the son, however, they said to each other, 'This is the businessman's son. Let's kill him so we can take over his father's field of grapes.' The farmers grabbed the son, threw him out of the field, and killed him."
"So, when the businessman returns, what will he do to the farmers?" Jesus asked the leaders.
"The businessman will have those farmers judged harshly," they answered. "Then he will rent the field out to other farmers who will give him his share every time the grapes are ripe."
"Because you don't believe in his Son," Jesus said, "God will take his Kingdom from you and give it to a people who will do his will."
Based on Matthew 21:37-41, 43
Jesus told this story to show the Temple leaders what God wanted them to do. God wanted them and all people to have faith in his Son. But they refused.
What does the word "faith" mean? To know what faith really means, we have to discuss its two parts. First, a person makes a commitment to another, like making a friend. Don't you trust your friends? Don't you like to spend time with your friends? Don't you like to talk to them?
Second, a person makes a commitment to believe the words another speaks. Think again of your friends. Do you listen to them? Don't you trust them to tell you the truth?
So, faith means to make a complete commitment to God and to believe in what he says. When you think of God as your best friend, you get an idea of what faith really means.
"I believe in God the Father Almighty...I believe in Jesus Christ, his Son...I believe in the Holy Spirit."
The Qualities of Faith
Once, an army officer had a servant that he really liked. But the servant was so sick, he was about to die. When Jesus came to heal the servant, the officer stopped him. "Lord," he said to Jesus, "Please, don't bother yourself. I'm not worthy that you should enter my house. Instead, just say the word and my servant will be healed. I'm a soldier who receives orders and gives orders. If I say to one person 'Go,' he goes. If I say to another 'Come here,' he approaches me. If I say to my servant, 'Do this,' he does it."
What the man said surprised Jesus! Jesus turned to the crowd and said,"I haven't found this kind of faith anywhere in Israel!"
Based on Luke 7:2, 6-9
Jesus was surprised by the faith the soldier had. While God was tugging at his heart to ask Jesus for help, the soldier was the one who decided to trust Jesus. When the officier approached the Lord, he understood the power of the Jesus. The soldier was sure about his request. So, he decided to trust Jesus no matter what happened. No wonder Jesus admired the faith of the soldier!
The story tells us several things about faith. Faith is a gift from God. We call this gift "grace." This gift is God's way of saying "Be my friend."
Faith is also our way of saying "Yes" to God's invitation. When we decide to accept God's friendship, we should make a commitment like the officer's. We should seek to understand God and what he says to us. And, once we understand, we should be absolutely sure about our faith in him.
Believing in the Impossible
The apostles told Jesus, "Give us faith!"
"If you had faith even the size of a really small mustard seed," Jesus said, "you could tell this mulberry tree, 'Jump out of the ground and plant yourself in the sea' and the tree would obey you."
Based on Luke 17:5-6
Jesus didn't mean we could control nature. But he did encourage us to believe even in the face of the impossible. So, no matter what happens, keep believing in God. He can make the impossible possible!