Oh, Ye of Little Faith

So, I’m reading through Matthew currently in my morning quiet times, and right in the middle of the book (something like Chapters 14 – 18 or so), Jesus really kicks off his ministry. Another way this could be said is, “…right in the middle of the book, Jesus’ disciples really start making a fool of themselves.” It’s a bit funny at times, actually. Jesus will say something, and the others will totally miss it. My favorite is in Chapter 16:

The disciples reached the other shore, and they had forgotten to take bread.
Then Jesus told them, “Watch out and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
And they discussed amongst themselves, “We didn’t bring any bread.”
~Matt 16: 5-7, HCSV

While the context of this passage is somewhat implied and otherwise irrelevant, for those curious: Jesus and the other Priests had gotten into another spat, and it had ended with Jesus announcing their hypocrisy, stomping away, and leaving on a boat with his disciples. The important part (to me) about this passage is that Jesus said something relatively simple–simpler, anyway, than the monologues where he tells his followers to drink his blood and eat his flesh–and the disciples’ minds are all somewhere completely different. It cracks me up.

Unfortunately, this is how I am a lot of the time, too. God will push me in a specific direction, through His word or through the encouragement of another Christian, and I’ll take it and run with it in the exact wrong direction. I’m thankful God doesn’t chastise me as harshly as Jesus did the disciples:

Aware of this, Jesus said, “You of little faith! Why are you discussing among yourselves that you do not have bread? Don’t you understand yet? Don’t you remember the fives loaves for the 5,000 and how many baskets you collected? Or the seven loaves for the 4,000 and how many large baskets you collected? Why is it you don’t understand that when I told you, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” it wasn’t about bread?

It was then that the disciples realized Jesus was talking about their teachings and not their baking ingredients.

What’s weird to me is that Jesus gets upset, not at their stupidity or their complete lack of understanding basic literary tools he’d been using all along but at their lack of faith. “You of little faith!” He said, “Don’t you understand?” As if their faith impacted their capacity to catch the shade Jesus was throwing.

Is that how it works? Does my faith in God really have that much an effect over how well I discern his warnings to me throughout the day? This isn’t rhetorical; I really don’t get it. It’s something that Jesus does in some other sections of the Bible, too. The disciples or some other random dude will do something, or not do something, and Jesus’s response will have to do with the person’s faith and not the thing that directly applies to the person’s actions. I guess he’s onto something–I mean, he’s Jesus–but I fail to see the connection.

Maybe all these things are so much more interconnected than my mind readily accepts. Or maybe my faith isn’t big enough, and that’s why I’m missing something. I don’t know; it’s just been something I’ve had on my mind lately.


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