On a number of occasions, Jesus referred to the disciples as having “little faith”. He used the word five times in the Gospels, four times in Matthew and once in Luke, always in reference to his own disciples. In the Sermon on the Mount, he addressed their anxiety over what to eat or what to wear, when their heavenly Father feeds the sparrows and clothes the lilies. Later, when Jesus rebuked the storm, he addressed his disciples as having little faith. Again after he called Peter to himself and Peter descended from the boat and walked on the water to Jesus, but began to doubt when he saw the wind and the waves, Jesus referred to Peter’s “little faith”. The fourth time in Matthew, Jesus again addressed his disciples, because they were anxious since they had forgotten to bring bread. In Luke the word was used in the parallel passage in the Sermon on the Mount, regarding anxiety his followers feel about their material needs being met.
Jesus’ multiple usage of the phrase “little faith” indicates a possibly common problem among followers of Jesus. The contexts of provision for our material needs, authority over the creation displayed by Jesus calming the storm, as well as his and Peter’s walking on the water indicates that we, his followers have been severely hampered by what Jesus diagnosed as little faith. On another occasion Jesus told the disciples that they should feed the crowd, even though they had only five loaves and two fish. Although he didn’t use the term “little faith” on that occasion, he implied that they had much greater potential to address the need at hand than they realized. Jesus implied that they his disciples had the solution to the problem, just as he did. Then he proceeded to show them how it was accomplished.
What if the only thing preventing us from doing what Jesus did was merely our “little faith”? That raises a potential question of lies we’ve believed that result in our being creatures of little faith. The obvious lie that Jesus pointed out is that we believe we are incapable and unable to do that which we’ve been empowered to do. A second lie concerns the character of our heavenly Father, who will gladly provide for what we need just as he does the sparrows of the sky and the lilies of the field. What if our limitations are linked to what we believe or possibly what we don’t believe? What if our potential is greater than we’ve ever imagined? What if our theology about God, creation and ourselves has limited us to accomplish what our heavenly Father desires for us? What if what we call the supernatural, is not so much supernatural as it is something that we have not accomplished yet? Consider the fact that much of what we take for granted today because of advances in science and technology would have been considered “supernatural” in the past. Our concept of supernatural is often linked to our inability to explain the occurrence. Often we study to prove what we already believe is true. However, what if we changed our approach and actually questioned and tested to see if what we believe needs to be modified to reach an understanding of an even greater and more clearer truth? How might our lives be transformed if we actually applied what Jesus taught us, as Jesus’ disciples did in the book of Acts?