When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith…. He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
Faith was the first lesson Jesus taught and demonstrated to His disciples after the character and foundation messages He preached in the Sermon on the Mount. Faith was not a one-time lesson, but a consistent theme as Jesus made disciples. One cannot read a chapter in the Gospels without getting a faith lesson. Most of what Jesus taught about faith falls in one of these three categories:
1. Jesus commended great faith.
With large crowds following Him, Jesus took the time to listen to the cry for help from a soldier for his paralyzed daughter. Jesus was so impressed with the faith of this soldier that He commended him in front of all His disciples.
Matt 8:10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
On another occasion a woman asked Jesus to help her demon-possessed daughter. Jesus publicly commended her faith.
Matt 15:28 Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
If we want to make disciples, we must encourage and commend people when they act in faith.
2. Jesus corrected little faith.
After healing some people and casting out a few demons, Jesus and the disciples got into a boat. During their trip across the lake, a furious storm suddenly hit. Jesus responded by sleeping; the disciples responded in fear. Jesus took this opportunity to correct their lack of faith.
3. Jesus challenged His disciples to new levels of faith.
When two blind men asked Jesus for mercy, He challenged them to use their faith, telling them, according to your faith will it be done to you (Matt 9:29). Jesus restored their sight, but made it clear that theirfaith was involved. If we want to make disciples, we must constantly challenge them to greater steps of faith.As we consider the importance of faith in the discipleship process, it may help us to ponder these questions: Do you have someone in your life who commends and encourages you when you move in faith? Do you encourage and commend those you disciple when they step out in faith? Do you have someone who lovingly corrects you when you express doubt and unbelief? Do you have people in your life who challenge you to new levels of faith?