In Matthew 14-15, two of the accounts that mention faith are very interesting and thought-provoking to me.
First, in Matthew 14:22-33 (immediately following the account of Jesus feeding more than 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish), Jesus sends his disciples out onto the sea in a boat. In the middle of the night – in the middle of a storm – Jesus comes out to them, walking on the water. The disciples think that Jesus is a ghost, but he assures them that he is not a ghost. Peter asks if he can walk out to Jesus, and Jesus tells him to come. Peter steps out of the boat, and walks out to Jesus on the water – just as Jesus is walking on the water. Peter becomes afraid because of the wind and begins to sink into the water. He asks Jesus to save him, so Jesus grabs his hand and lifts him out of the water. Then, Jesus says to Peter:
“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31 ESV)
Next, in Matthew 15:21-28 (just a few paragraphs later and following Jesus’ declaration that a person is not defiled by what goes into the body), we find the account of a Gentile woman coming to Jesus. She asks Jesus to help her daughter who is possessed by a demon. Jesus said that he came for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”. The woman continues to beg for help, and Jesus said that it is not right to give the children’s bread to dogs. The woman says that even the dogs eat scraps of food that fall from the table. Then, Jesus says to the woman:
“O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” (Matthew 15:28 ESV)
A man who walks on water but begins to fear the wind and doubt demonstrates “little faith”. A woman who continues asking Jesus for help, even when he initially refuses, demonstrates “much faith”.
I don’t really have much more to say about these two passages. They are fairly straightforward. I want to be one with “much faith”, but I’m not sure that I would even step out of the boat like the one with “little faith”.
Faith is important in Matthew. I want faith to be an important aspect of my life, too. Every time I think I’m starting to understand faith, I realize how little faith I actually have.
Perhaps one of the first steps of faith is realizing just how little faith we actually have, so that we can honestly call out, “I believe; help my unbelief”.