WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 18, 2020
TOPIC: FAITH FOR MIRACLES: LEARNING FROM JESUS
BY T. O. BANSO
“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive’” (Matthew 21:21-22 New King James Version).
Jesus had faith for miracles and it is important for His followers today to learn from Him. During His earthly ministry, Jesus didn’t record any failure regarding any mountain He confronted. He had faith and spoke His faith to the hearing of all.
In Mark 11, He cursed the fig tree and the Bible says the disciples heard it. “Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, ‘Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.’ And His disciples heard it” (Mark 11:12-14 New King James Version).
Jesus always spoke out His faith whether to open the eyes of the blind, heal the leper, raise the dead, or calm the storm on the sea. “And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’ we also believe and therefore speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13 New King James Version).
Jesus told His disciples Lazarus was sleeping – He didn’t say he was dead (John 11:11). When He got to the tomb of Lazarus four days after he had died, He commanded him to come out of the grave and he did (verse 43-44).
When the disciples expressed surprise that the fig tree He had cursed the previous day had withered, Jesus told them what they needed was faith – faith without any doubt. “So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive’” (Matthew 21:21-22 New King James Version).
In Mark’s account, Jesus’ answer to His disciples was: “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (New King James Version).
From Jesus’ answer, we could see that His miracles were not fundamentally because He was the Son of God but because He exercised faith in God for miracles. Do you need more proof? Hear Jesus: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:12-14 New King James Version).
The followers of Christ must learn from Him. Earlier in Mark 4:37-41, He had calmed a great windstorm and rebuked the disciples for their little faith. This is also recorded in Matthew 8:23-27 and Luke 8:22-25. The winds and the sea obeyed Him.
Also in Mark 9:19, Jesus rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith when they couldn’t cast out an evil spirit from a boy and the father brought the boy to Him. The father said to Jesus, “Have mercy on us and help us. Do something if you can” (verse 22 New Living Translation). But the Bible says, “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?’ Jesus asked. ‘Anything is possible if a person believes’” (verse 23 New Living Translation). Jesus both lived by faith and taught it.
When His disciples were arguing among themselves because they had not brought bread, Jesus rebuked them for having little faith despite the fact that He had miraculously fed five thousand men with just five loaves of bread and two fishes and fed another four thousand men with seven loaves and there were was a large leftover on both occasions (Matthew 16:5-12; Mark 8:14-21). They did not understand that Jesus was not talking about bread when He said they should beware of the yeast of Pharisees.
Jesus exercised faith for miracles and also commended those who received their miracles by faith in Him. Jesus told Bartimaeus who defied all odds and kept crying for Jesus to have mercy on him, “Go your way. Your faith has healed you” (Mark 10:52 New Living Translation).
He told the woman who had twelve years of bleeding but got her healing by touching Him by faith, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. You have been healed” (Mark 5:34 New Living Translation). Matthew 9:22 records a similar statement from Jesus to this woman.
Jesus didn’t fail to recognize faith whenever He saw it in action. He told the immoral woman who anointed His feet with expensive perfume and cleaned His legs with her tears and her hair, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Luke 7:50 New King James Version).
In Luke 17:19, Jesus told the Samaritan healed of leprosy, the only one who came back to him out of the ten lepers he had healed, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well” (New King James Version).
Jesus always wants us to have faith for miracles, faith to receive, and faith to minister it to others. Commending the faith of the Syrophoenician woman, Jesus said, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire’” (Matthew 15:28 New King James Version).
There was also the centurion, a Roman officer, whose faith was exceptional. The man asked Jesus not to bother to come to his house to heal his young servant who was sick but to just speak one word and he would be healed. That was unusual, and it came from a non-Jew.
Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (Matthew 8:10 New King James Version). Because of this centurion’s uncommon faith, Jesus told him, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you” (verse 13 New King James Version). The centurion’s sick servant was healed that same hour. Hallelujah!
The Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith comes by the continuous hearing of God’s Word (Romans 10:17). We must daily build our faith to receive, and, more importantly, to minister such that God will do miracles through us as He did in Jesus’ ministry. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore (Hebrews 13:8).
The angel Gabriel told Mary with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37). Your name can be added to the list of those recorded in the Bible who did great things by faith especially those recorded in Hebrews 11. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
Many today, as it was in the time of Jesus, will not believe without miraculous signs and wonders (John 4:48). Therefore, develop your faith for yourself and others whose lives may be connected to yours. The just shall live by faith (Hebrews10:38; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17).
Develop your faith; you will need it. Continuously hear the Word of God; study, meditate on, confess, and act upon the Word of God. Walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Live by faith. Emulate the faith of Jesus Christ.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, You’ve not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind. Therefore, I shall live by faith, not by fear or doubts. I shall walk by faith, not by sight in Jesus’ name. Holy Spirit, help me to daily develop and activate my faith to receive miracles and to minister miracles to others. Father, strengthen all those who need miracles at this time to exercise their faith in You for their miracles.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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