I have the privilege of training a group of teenagers to lead their own cells, and we meet once a week on Zoom.
Recently one of them asked me whether, if we have more faith, our prayers are more likely to be answered.
“That’s a very good question,” I said. “Let’s look at Matthew 14:22-33.”
So we read the passage together and I asked them a few questions.
“Why did Peter get out of the boat?”
What would you say?
Eventually one of them saw the point.
“Because Jesus told him to come?” he said.
“Yes,” I said. Then I asked an even stranger question.
“What was Peter’s pulse rate when he got out of the boat?”
Huge, I would have thought. They agreed. Of course we have no way of knowing but there was a storm on, right? And storms on Lake Galilee are quite something. Even today. Would 200 be a reasonable guess?
So he wasn’t confident, right?
But he got out of the boat. He responded to what Jesus had said.
We see that a lot in Scripture. Jesus told a blind man to go to the pool of Siloam and wash off the clay that Jesus had applied to his eyes. Surely any water would do? Why grope your way through the crowds with mud on your face? But as the man responded to what Jesus was saying, the miracle happened (John 9:1-12). Jesus told a quadriplegic to pick up his bed and go home. An interesting thing to say to a quadriplegic, But as the man attempted to respond, the miracle happened (Mark 2:1-12).
So we see that one aspect of faith is our response to what God has said or done.
This fits with Romans 10:17:
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of Christ (NASB, my parenthesis).
There are two words for “word” in Greek, the language of the New Testament. One is “logos”, the other is “rhema”. “Rhema” means a spoken word.
The Lord said to me once in rebuke: “If I ask you to do something and you do it, that’s faith. And if I don’t ask you to do something, and you do it as if I had, that’s presumption.”
To get back to Peter.
I asked the teenagers a third, easy question.
“Why did Peter begin to sink?”
[to be continued]