Great Faith

In our previous study on little faith, we learnt that little faith puts more confidence in man's ability to help himself rather than in God. Little faith says, "God helps those who help themselves." God does not help those who help themselves, He helps those who depend on Him. Little faith tries to do things in self effort, it tries to be righteous in ones works. So now little faith is not something one should be proud of. The other kind of faith that the Bible mentions is great faith. In this article we shall study to see what it means to have such kind of faith.

One day the Lord Jesus was in the region of Tyre and Sidon and a Canaanite woman came and cried out to Him saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon possessed.” The Bible says that He answered her not a word, and His disciples came and urged Him saying, “Send her away for she cries out after us.” Then He answered and said to them, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped Him saying, “Lord, help me!” Notice it’s only after she had worshiped and recognized Jesus as Lord that He could answer her. Maybe she had heard people call Jesus the Son of David but she had not got to know what it was all about. She probably thought it was His name.

So when she knew who Jesus was she came and worshiped Him. She recognized that Jesus had been sent. Then the Lord Jesus answered and said to her, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” Most people would give up at that point and even get offended that someone has called them a dog but thank God she didn’t. She answered and said, “Yes Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Notice at this point she refers to Jesus as Lord and even compares Him to the master and so argues that even though she were a dog she would still benefit from the crumbs that would fall from the master’s table. Now it was the Master’s job to make sure He dropped a crumb, that’s all she needed. Notice what Jesus said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:18-25).

Luke 7:1-10 gives an account of a centurion who had a servant who was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus he sent some elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant and so after begging Him earnestly He agreed to go with them. So when Jesus was on the way and near the house the centurion sent his friends to Him saying, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof…But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” This man, being a man of authority compared Jesus to an army commander with soldiers under Him and all He needed to do was to say the word of healing and it would be done. So when Jesus heard these things He marveled at him and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” And those who had been sent, returning to the house, found the servant already healed.

From the two accounts you will notice one thing was common: the woman and the centurion put the lordship of Jesus above the circumstance. They both acknowledged the lordship of Jesus. It was only after worshiping Jesus that the Canaanite woman could be helped. A lot of times people miss it because the approach God the wrong way. Some people are way too casual in their approach to God. You can tell it from the incoherence of their prayers. Great faith is based on the acknowledgement of God’s great power and authority and His ability to change any circumstance. Great faith is not the least moved by the magnitude of the circumstance, it knows who God is. Yes, great faith is based on the knowledge of who God is.

The centurion fully recognized the Lord Jesus as having authority over sickness, so much authority that all He needed was to say the word and the healing would be done. The Canaanite woman fully recognized Jesus’ authority over demons and so she was more than convinced that He would help her in His capacity as Lord. Great faith has confidence in receiving answers from God in His capacity as God. People with great faith are also great worshipers. In Luke 5:5, the Apostle Peter demonstrated great faith when He answered the Lord Jesus, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” Peter had heard Jesus preach and as a result he heard faith in Him. Notice he called Him Master. Because of his recognition of His lordship, he would do anything He told him.

Unlike little faith, great faith has more confidence in God’s ability to solve the problem than in self-effort. It was by great faith that David killed Goliath for he told him, “…I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts…this day the Lord will deliver you into my hand.” David’s confidence was in the Lord, and we need to have our confidence in Him and not in ourselves. 2 Cor. 12:9 says that His strength is made perfect in our weakness, and 2 Cor. 3:5 says that our sufficiency is in Him. So our strength is in the Lord, not in ourselves. So is great faith the highest kind of faith? No! Great faith is good and everybody certainly would want to have it but as we shall see in our subsequent studies it is not the best there is.

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