posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 05:03 PM
“Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught [Peter], saying to him ‘O man of little faith, why did you doubt?’” Matthew ch14 v31
There are many references in the Gospels to the importance of Faith.
That is, trust in Jesus as the one sent by God.
We know that the woman who anointed his feet was saved by her faith, because Jesus told her so.
He defined his disciples as “the little ones who believe in me”.
Having little faith (OLIGOPISTOS) is an advance on having no faith at all, which is why Jesus tends to apply the word to existing disciples.
It means someone who does indeed have faith, but not as much as he needs.
It may mean doubt about God’s ability to provide for us.
Jesus used the word in the Sermon on the Mount.
He was urging his followers not to be over-anxious about their food or clothing.
Their heavenly Father provides for everyone, even the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.
“Are you not of more value then they?...
If God so clothes the grass of the field…will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? “ Matthew ch6 vv25-30
On another occasion, he was in a boat with his more immediate disciples, and began warning them about “the leaven of the Pharisees and the
As often happens, the metaphor gave them trouble.
Their minds began casting around for a way of taking the words literally, and they told each other that he was warning them “because we brought no
So he had to explain what he meant, but first he berated them for thinking that “having no bread” would have been a problem.
Did they not remember the previous times when he had produced ample food?
As in the Sermon on the Mount, this was a case of anxiety over their supplies.
That’s why he called them “men of little faith”. Matthew ch16 vv5-11
It may mean doubt about God’s ability to protect them from danger.
Jesus was asleep in the boat on a different journey, when a storm was blowing up, and they seemed to be in danger of getting swamped.
They were anxious enough to wake him.
His reproach, before he calmed the storm was “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” (Matthew ch8 vv23-27)
Or it may mean doubt about the power of prayer.
When the disciples were unable to heal the boy who was convulsed by a “dumb demon”, Jesus said it was “because of your little faith”.
In fact, he finds it exasperating; “O faithless [APISTOS] and perverse generation, how long am I going to be with you? How long am I to bear with
For so long, he had been trying to teach them the importance of faith, and they had not been listening (Matthew ch17 vv14-20).
The verse quoted at the beginning comes from the “walking on the water” episode.
Three gospels describe how the disciples, troubled again by strong winds, saw Jesus walking towards them.
Matthew has the additional detail that Peter asked Jesus to call him to come out onto the water.
When he heard the command he wanted, that gave him the confidence to try it out for himself.
And it worked, as long as he kept his confidence focussed.
When he took notice of the effects of the wind around him, he began to be afraid.
When he began to be afraid, he began to sink into the water.
So he appealed to Jesus, who pulled him up and reproached him for his doubts.
The characteristic of the disciples of Jesus was that they believed in him and entered a new relationship with God.
The moral of the story of Peter’s walk is that faith in Jesus is not just a momentary act, at the point of decision, but a continuing state of
His followers will achieve much less if they allow themselves to become “men of little faith”.