Page 3 - November 2019 - Truth & Tidings
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t least three times Jesus’ disciples  if you have faith as a mustard seed, you
               heard His rebuke, “O you of little  will say to this mountain, “Move from here
        Afaith” (Mat 8:26; 16:8; Luk 12:28).  to there,” and it will move; and nothing
        Peter was the sole recipient of this same   will be impossible for you’” (Mat 17:19-20
        reproof after sinking in the very water   NKJV). Evidently a tiny amount of faith
        on which he had miraculously walked   properly placed in the omnipotent Lord
        (Mat 14:31). But what did Jesus mean by   can accomplish great things.
        such a rebuke? After all, had not Peter
        demonstrated great faith by walking on   But more often than not in the Gospels, it
        the water in the first place?        was the short-lived nature of the disciples’
          The Greek word translated “little faith”   faith that received the Lord’s sorrowful
        is the compound oligopistos. Pistos means   criticism. They had witnessed myriad
        “faith” and Thayer says that  oligo can   healings and watched their Lord feed
        mean little in number, little in [amount   thousands from a small boy’s lunchbox.
        of] time or little in degree.  Perhaps the   But shortly after each miracle, their faith
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        second meaning makes the most sense in  seemed to disappear as quickly as it had
        these rebukes. Jesus was disappointed, not  arrived. With Peter, he obviously trusted
        so much because the disciples’ faith was  the Lord for a few moments as he took each
        little in amount, but little in duration. They  step on the waters of Galilee, but a moment
        seemed to trust the Lord one moment and  later fear chased his faith away.
        struggled with faith the next. Why couldn’t   In criticizing the disciples, I have to be
        they demonstrate consistent, steady faith   honest enough to admit I am criticizing
        as followers of the Lord Jesus?      myself. How often we have manifested
          That’s not to say that the amount of faith   faith in the Lord for something today and
        was not important to the Lord. After all,   failed  to  trust  Him  for  the  same  thing
        He singled out two individuals for their   tomorrow. We have entrusted our souls to
        “great faith” (Mat 8:10; 15:28), both of
        whom were Gentiles. On another occasion,   His keeping and yet regularly fail to trust
        Jesus rebuked His disciples for their lack   Him for the smallest of things. Our Lord
        of faith altogether. After they failed to   desires that we put these moments of faith
        cast out a demon from a young boy, they   together, one at a time, until we are living
        asked Jesus, “’Why could we not cast it   daily by faith. The Lord’s concern is not
        out?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of  so much the quantity of our faith but the
        your unbelief;  for assuredly, I say to you,  steady nature of it.
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        ¹ Joseph Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of   “Simply trusting every day,
        the New Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson,   Trusting through a stormy way;
        1995).
        ² Some manuscripts read oligopistos (“little faith”)   Even when my faith is small,
        whereas others read apistia (meaning no faith or   Trusting Jesus, that is all.” 3
        unbelief). Accepting the latter meaning here (ISV,
        JND, KJV, WEB) is preferable.        ³ Edgar Page Stites, 1876.

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