Faith in the Gospel of Luke
This post is part of a series on faith in the New Testament.[H]ere is a look at our third book in the New Testament filtering through all the examples we see of the word faith. This post will look at the twelve examples we see in the Gospel of Luke with a brief commentary on each.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, â€œFriend, your sins are forgiven.â€Luke includes the same story we saw in Matthew 9:2 and Mark 2:5. Your faith is shaped by the people around you.
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, â€œI tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.â€Here again we see the centurion from Matthew 8:10. Mark didn’t include this story in his Gospel. This is a powerful example of faith as a virtue, and we see Jesus bragging about this man’s faith to the people in the crowd. Each time I read the example of the Centurion I am envious of his faith, and of Jesus’ response to it.
Jesus said to the woman, â€œYour faith has saved you; go in peace.â€Again we see faith as a virtue instead of a gift, but here we see it in a story found only in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus dines with a Pharisee and a woman pours perfume on his feet. She isn’t healed physically, but Jesus responds to her gift by telling her that her faith has saved her.
â€œWhere is your faith?â€ he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, â€œWho is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.â€The same story as Matthew 8:26 and Mark 4:40. The people closest to Jesus are rebuked for not having a healthy faith, whereas people like the centurion (7:9) are commended for their great faith.
Then he said to her, â€œDaughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.â€The same story as Matthew 9:22 and Mark 5:34. Again, we see that her healing is a result of her faith. Like we’ve seen in the other two Gospels so far, Jesus seems to be taking the focus off of Himself and placing onto this woman.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe youâ€”you of little faith!This example is found only in Luke. It’s another example of Jesus addressing little faith and again we see that He is addressing His own disciples about it!
The apostles said to the Lord, â€œIncrease our faith!â€ He replied, â€œIf you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, â€˜Be uprooted and planted in the sea,â€™ and it will obey you.Another story found only in Luke, we see a great request from Jesus’ disciples. This is the first tangible example that I’ve seen that could be used to argue faith as a gift. They desire more of it and so they ask Jesus for it. Interestingly, Jesus responds by talking about what their faith would allow them to do.
Then he said to him, â€œRise and go; your faith has made you well.â€This is from a story where Jesus heals ten lepers and is only found in Luke. Like we’ve seen many times so far, Jesus credits the man’s healing on his faith alone.
I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?â€This is a question that Jesus asks only in Luke. This is also the question that prompted this sermon I preached on faith. Depending on your view of God’s foreknowledge, Jesus could be wondering how much faith (as a virtue) people will choose.
Jesus said to him, â€œReceive your sight; your faith has healed you.â€This story is also found in Matthew 20 and Mark 10. It is another example of healing from faith.
But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.â€This interchange is only found in Luke. Jesus prays for Peter’s faith not to fail? If Peter’s faith is up to God alone (faith as a gift), then this is odd. If faith is up to Peter (faith as a virtue), then we see that Jesus is telling Peter that after he disowns him he needs to choose faith again.
ConclusionHere are a few things we see by adding Luke’s Gospel to this discussion:
- faith can exist in community
- often Jesus rebuked His disciples for little faith and highlighted other people for their great faith
- there are a lot of unique faith examples found only in the Gospel of Luke
- most of the healing examples that Jesus does are attributed to the individuals’ faith
- while the disciples request for Jesus to give them more faith could be argued for faith as a gift, there are many more examples for faith as a virtue
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