What Happens When God Sees True Faith?
Often people do not experience the power of God because they lack true faith. God is looking for faith in people’s hearts. When there is faith, God responds. At times, in greater ways than we expected.
Consider the story of the paralysed man and his friends that took unusual steps to bring him to Jesus in
Mark 2:1–3 (NIV84) 1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.
These men came to Jesus with faith, and it unlocked an unexpected response from Jesus. From this narrative, we discover 3 things that occur when we have faith.
1. RECEIVES GOD’S FAVOUR
Mark 2:4-5 (NIV84) 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
When Jesus saw them, what was His response? He called the paralytic “son”. A term that indicated warmth and favour. If some men broke through the roof of my house, I might call them a few things, but definitely not “son”. I would not view them favourably. This emphasised how deeply Jesus was impressed by their actions. What was it about them that Jesus viewed favourably?
Jesus saw their humility.
They were humble enough to admit that they needed help and sought for help. They knew that they could not solve their problem by their own efforts. Only Jesus could help their friend. So, they acted in the only way they knew to get to Jesus. Even if meant breaking through roofs.
It takes humility to ask for help. How many of us avoid asking for help, because it was too embarrassing to ask for it! We may not be physically handicapped like the man, but we may be emotionally, mentally, socially or spiritually handicapped in some way. Yet often we may be too proud to admit it. We might be having a dull pain of loneliness or insecurity, but we hide it and appear cool. We might even try drowning ourselves with alcohol or drugs. Only to wake up in the morning with a big hangover and still the same hole in our hearts. I know of those who look like they have it all together. They have the looks, the brains, the personality. But inside they are a mess!
Will we humble ourselves enough to recognize we need help, just like the paralysed man? And turn to God? God favours those who are willing to humble themselves. Isa 66:2 (NIV84) … "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, ..."
God favours those who are willing to humble themselves.
Jesus saw their determination.
When the 4 men saw the huge crowd around the house, they knew there was little hope of their friend getting the attention he needed from Jesus. How in world would they even get close to Jesus?
That was when they got a brilliant idea to jump the queue. Doing so meant getting through every obstacle. So they lifted their friend on a mat up to the roof. Then they dug through the roof itself. Most likely the roof was made of a thick layer of compacted earth over a rough wooden ceiling. This wooden ceiling probably was framed by trimmed tree trunk beams upon which close fitting smaller branches were laid. Strong enough for men to walk upon. These men dug through the earth layer, pulled out the branches to open an area large enough to fit their friend lying on a mat through it. A considerable effort!
The queue jumpers got an F for courtesy but an A+ for determination. They would not take a “No” for an answer! Jesus was impressed with their determination, their doggedness. They needed help and they were going to get it. True faith is characterized by its determination to obtain an answer from God.
True faith is characterized by its determination to obtain an answer from God.
Jesus saw their faith for healing.
So certain was their faith in Jesus’ ability to heal their friend, they literally broke through every barrier to get to Jesus. The Bible makes it clear that faith is a critical ingredient that pleases God. Heb 11:6 (NIV84) "And without faith it is impossible to please God…"
It was not just an intellectual faith but a faith that truly trusts by taking action.
2. RECEIVES SOLUTIONS TO REAL NEEDS
Since Jesus had favour upon these men and the paralysed man, what did Jesus do? Mark 2: 5 (NIV84) When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Imagine the poor paralysed man and his friends who went through the huge effort to get to Jesus, expecting to receive miraculous healing. He came to be healed physically, but Jesus dealt with his spiritual problem. Perhaps the man must be thinking, “Excuse me? I can’t walk! Nice to be forgiven my sins, but I still can’t walk!”
We often seek for solutions to our perceived needs. But those needs may not be our real or greatest needs. It could be imagined needs. “If only I had more money or more time. If only I was more beautiful, had a better body shape. If only I can speak better. If only I had more friends.” It is like taking Panadol for brain tumour. Or it could be secondary problems. Dealing with our flu when we have cancer.
We live in a society that seeks the quick fix. If we have problem in our relationships, just read Relationship for Dummies or check on YouTube for latest advice. If we have depression, just pop this pill or read “5 easy steps to overcome depression”. But Jesus is more interested in dealing with the deeper, main problem first. Which is sin. Sin is shown by our selfishness, self-centeredness. Isa 53:6 (NIV84) "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; ..." Sin is the root of most problems in our lives and in this world today. It can only be dealt with properly when people repent and turn to God, and to follow Him. Then God will forgive us.
The paralysed man had true faith in God and because Jesus saw it in his heart, He had mercy on him and forgave his sins. Those with true faith will often receive more than they asked for. God may answer by dealing with our greater needs first.
Those with true faith will often receive more than they asked for. God may answer by dealing with our greater needs first.
3. RECEIVES THE TOUCH OF GOD
Some teachers of the law, religious scholars, were upset with Jesus forgiving the man’s sins. “How can Jesus forgive anyone their sins? Only God can! It goes against all our theology.” Mark 2:6-7 (NIV84) 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
An incorrect worldview can be a great hindrance to receiving what God has to say or do! Ever noticed that there were no Pharisees or teachers of the law who were healed by Jesus? Jesus immediately knew what was going on in their hearts. And He challenged their thinking.
An incorrect worldview can be a great hindrance to receiving what God has to say or do!
Mark 2:8-12 (NIV84) 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” He said to the paralytic, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
Jesus demonstrated that He had the power to forgive sins by healing the paralysed man miraculously. Jesus sought true faith and he saw it in those men. God is delighted to find true faith and moves in response to it.
Ps. Jerry Stott, a friend of mine, recalled an incident when he was called to a hospital because a church member’s brother was on life-support. This young man, a husband and father, was unconscious, barely alive. The doctors were quite certain he would not make it. Ps. Jerry started to make a simple prayer for his soul when suddenly he heard God say, “I will raise him on the third day.” Shocked, he asked God to confirm with a sign, that the man’s eyes would open. Right at the moment, the man opened his eyes! Ps. Jerry decided he had to rise up in faith to trust God. So he informed the man’s family not to take the man off the life support and that God will heal him on the third day.
Ps. Jerry then went off on a planned family vacation. When he returned a few weeks later, he discovered that the dying man sat up and was completely healed on the third day. The man and his family even came to join Ps. Jerry’s church. God intervenes, when there is true faith.
God intervenes, when there is true faith
True faith is when we are willing to trust in God fully. God delights in such faith. He will respond to us favourably. He will even provide us more than we ask. God will touch us, even miraculously. Shall we rise up and be found with true faith?
Copyright©️2022 by Wilson Lim. All rights reserved. Materials are free to be distributed in whole or part as long as proper acknowledgement is given to the author and not sold for profit.