What does the word faith mean to you? Mark Mittleberg in his book “Confident Faith” describes the different paths that people take to faith. Some take the relativistic road to faith–that is all things are relative, what works for you and for me is not the same. How do you trust it then? How do you know you are on the right path to faith? What about traditional faith? You follow the path your ancestors have followed without question. What if your ancestors were sincere but sincerely wrong? Then there is the authoritarian faith path, you believe because you have been told this is the way, do not digress to the right or the left. Is this the right path? What if what you were told was not correct? How about the intuitive path, it “just feels right.” But what happens when your feelings change? Is there a problem with this path? Then there is the mystical path, I believe because God told me–hmm, really? Could you have mistaken that voice? Lastly is the evidential faith by which you examine and search out what faith is and what it is not. You read, you ask questions, you listen and then you either come to faith or after seeing all of the evidence choose to walk according to your own path. Which path is right? Jesus has the answer…it is “FAiTH” with the small letter ‘i’ in the middle.
The question before us is this: Which path is right? Jesus has the answer…it is “FAiTH” with the small letter ‘i’ in the middle.
The Apostle Matthew is writing to prove to us that Jesus is indeed the long awaited Messiah. Jesus has been preaching that the kingdom of heaven is at hand just as John the Baptist had been doing. So this is the listening step. Then he taught what it means to be blessed in the Sermon on the Mount. This the step of pondering His words. Now in chapter 8, the scene moves to the powerful evidence, his credentials of being the Messiah through healing. This is the step of observing the results. Whether preaching, teaching or healing He has been proving that God has sent him. He is the long-awaited Son of God, the Messiah, that Moses prophesied about long ago. He is challenging the people to “follow him” and “listen to him.” He has been giving oral evidence of faith and now will move to the visual healing evidence of faith.
A leper came to Jesus and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” The man knew and trusted the evidence but was unsure if Jesus would be willing to step out and heal him and if he did, how would he do it? So he observed, questioned and then stepped out to test. The second encounter was with a Gentile Centurion. He sought healing not for himself but for a servant. He too had faith that Jesus could heal but saw himself as unworthy. Although unworthy he trusted the evidence that he had heard but tested the actual evidence—would Jesus heal–even from a distance?
Both had FAiTH. with the ‘i’ in the middle. Think of it this way: After you have gathered the evidence and you can see that it proves to be true, you must make a choice. You determine or make a choice to say I will Follow, Abide and say “i” Trust Him. That is what faith is all about. It is not about you or me or works but about HIM. Jesus is saying you have to have faith with “i” in the middle, not first or last. He must be first and last, When we take that step we will be wrapped in his love and his embrace. He will not leave us nor forsake us. The leper and the centurion came to Jesus, which is our first step, and then they chose FAiTH. They exhibited the willingness to trust Christ and His power and both received healing.
Will you place your “i” in the middle? Will you let Jesus lead and you follow, abide and trust him to accomplish his will in your life or will you like those who offer excuses for not now, not his way? Faith is the key: put yourself in the middle of His way, follow, abide and trust Him.
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