This post is part of a series on faith in the New Testament.Here is a look at our second book in the New Testament filtering through all the examples we see of the word faith. This post will look at the seven examples we see in the Gospel of Mark with a brief commentary on each.
“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ “Here we see Mark’s account of the story we looked at from Matthew 9:2. Jesus responds to their faith (plural) and forgives the paralyzed man as a result. This is our second example of the significance of faith in community.
He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ “Here is Mark’s version of the faith example we saw in Matthew 8:26. Again we see that fear and faith are incompatible. The wording also implies that while they began with no faith, Jesus expected their faith to have grown by this point. You still don’t have it? I wonder how many Christians that is true of today.
“He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’ “This is Mark’s version of the story we saw in Matthew 9:22. Jesus again removes the focus from Himself and instead points how that she is healed by her faith. In regards to the question of faith, this again leans toward faith as a virtue.
“He was amazed at their lack of faith.”Similar to Mark 4:40. Where in chapter four Jesus was addressing His disciples, here is addressing His hometown. We get the sense that Jesus is almost shocked by what He sees (in contrast to what He expected).
” ‘Go,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”Like the example in Mark 5, here we see Jesus again singling out how a person’s faith in Him is the reason for their healing.
” ‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered.”Jesus says this in response to a fig tree that had withered at His command. The disciples are in awe of this and we see Jesus focusing them in on what they should put their faith in. This reminds us that although we all have faith in something, only faith in God will allow us to experience the life He has designed for us.
“Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.”Another time when Jesus is rebuking His disciples for a lack of faith. Here we also see that their stubbornness is contributing to the problem. We also have a reverse picture of what we saw in chapter two. Here, the disciples are not allowing other people’s faith to increase their faith and Jesus calls them out for it.
ConclusionAll in all, there doesn’t appear to be anything drastically new that Mark adds to our discussion on faith but it does reinforce what we saw in the Gospel of Matthew. Namely:
- faith and fear are incompatible
- often times Jesus heals people because of their faith (with the focus being on the other person)
- faith can and should be shared by a community
- there are times when Jesus expects our faith to have grown
- while there are many things to put our faith in, we must remember to put our faith in God. Not all objects of faith are equal.
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