In the story where Peter gets out of the boat and walks to Jesus on top of the water…well, at least for a little while…the text in Matthew 14 reports that Peter saw the wind and the waves became afraid. It was around 3:00 am and the disciples thought they had seen a ghost, and Peter’s challenge to Jesus was, “If you're not a ghost then tell me to come to you.” So, when Peter begins to sink, Jesus saves him and says, “You have so little faith.”
Many times I wonder about stories in the Bible that point to people having “little faith;” like this story of Peter and others. In fact, the phrase “little faith” is used five times in Matthew (6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; 17:20). The thing is, this phrase “little faith” refers to a specific event rather than referring to an ongoing, perpetual problem that could be described as not having the proper amount of faith. You see, if a person is in a constant state of not trusting Jesus and not wanting to learn more about his ways, this is called “unbelief” in the Bible. However, those persons charged with “little faith” are experiencing a knowledge problem or a trust problem within a certain situation or particular incident. These are failures to act consistent with the purpose given by Jesus, rather than having a record of no faith at all.
We need to understand that the term “faith” invokes two notions: first, faith is trust in that a person is reliant upon God and second, faith is belief which is the proclamation and acceptance of truths. When Matthew talks about a person having “little faith” he is not challenging what they believe, but how much they trust.
Jesus doesn’t just want us to accept the truths about him, but he wants us to grow in our trust that His way and His purpose are exactly what we need, and obviously there is a correlation between how much we trust and our willingness to obey. Thus we can say like those in the Bible, “Increase my faith,” without forfeiting our salvation or questioning if we really believe.
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.