“The power is in Jesus’ word, not my faith in that word”: meditation on Luke 5:4-5

August 12, 2019

Luke 5:4-5: And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”

Everything in Peter’s experience, including fruitless hours of fishing the night before, told him that Jesus’ word would fail. If the fish weren’t biting at night, they wouldn’t be biting in the daylight. Besides, Jesus is no fisherman: he had made his living as a carpenter. “Stay in your lane, Jesus!”

But notice: Peter’s lack of faith doesn’t prevent Jesus from working the miracle.

What a relief—the power is in Jesus’ word, not my faith in that word! In other words, my faith is in Jesus; my faith is not in my faith in Jesus.

Here’s how this helps me: To say the least, I often don’t feel as if I’m a highly favored “son” of God in whom my Father is well pleased; I often don’t feel as if all my sins are forgiven; I often don’t feel as if the Father could love me as much as he loves his only begotten Son Jesus. My experience often tells me that God’s promises can’t be true.

But in what or whom will I trust? My feelings, my experience, my intuitions? Or Jesus?

Given my bent toward self-deception, who’s more likely to be telling the truth—Jesus or me? I choose to believe Jesus.

#ESVJournalingBible #BibleJournaling

2 Responses to ““The power is in Jesus’ word, not my faith in that word”: meditation on Luke 5:4-5”

  1. Tom Harkins Says:

    Sounds good. However, there is the puzzler in Matthew 17:19-20. “Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it [the evil spirit] out?’ He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.'” Notably, Jesus did not say here, “Your faith was in the wrong thing–yourselves rather than in me.” See also James 1:5-7. Somewhere Jesus also said, “According to your faith be it unto you.” And he said of the Roman centurion, “I have not seen such great faith; no, not in all Israel!” And, “Woman, great is your faith!” Generally speaking, it is certainly true that our faith should be directed to Jesus. Further, Jesus is not limited to acting based on the strength of our faith. (But see the curious passage, “And he could do no mighty works there, because of their unbelief.”) Yet in light of all this, there DOES seem to be SOME general correlation in these passages between “how much” we trust in God and God’s action on our behalf, to some extent. (Or, the faith of someone ELSE and God’s action–see the four friends taking the paralytic to Jesus.) I don’t purport to fully understand this mystery–I am just saying there does appear to be this “mystery” out there.

    • brentwhite Says:

      A helpful corrective. Thanks. (I think the paralytic has some faith, too, but I get your point.) I would only say that the quality of our faith is far less important than the object of our faith. We can overly worry about the quality, while forgetting who has the power.

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