March 12, 2023
How Much Faith is Enough?
- Matt Nickoson
Luke 4:14-15 NIV
"Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him."
Luke 4:16a NIV
"He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom."
Luke 4:17 NIV
"He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:"
Luke 4:18-19 NIV
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Luke 4:20-21 NIV
"Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, 'Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'"
Luke 4:22a NIV
"All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips."
Luke 4:22b NIV
"'Isn't this Joseph's son?' they asked."
Luke 4:23 NIV
"Jesus said to them, 'Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself!' And you will tell me, 'Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.''"
Luke 4:24 NIV
"'Truly I tell you,' he continued, 'no prophet is accepted in his hometown.'"
There is a great danger in loving Jesus' gracious words but not loving Jesus Himself.
"Dear Friend, I have your letter. I am afraid it is not possible for me to subscribe to the creed you have sent me. The subscriber is made to believe that the highest manifestation of the unseen reality was Jesus Christ. In spite of all my efforts, I have not been able to feel the truth of that statement. I have not been able to move beyond the belief that Jesus was one of the great teachers of mankind." - Mahatma Gandhi
"Religion works. I know there's comfort there, a crash pad. It's something to explain the world and tell you there is something bigger than you, and it is going to be all right in the end… What's important to me is that I've defined my beliefs and lived according to them and not betrayed them. One of those is my belief in family. I still have faith in that." – Brad Pitt (on growing up Christian and abandoning his faith)
Luke 4:25-26 NIV
"I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon."
Luke 4:27 NIV
"And there were many Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed-only Naaman the Syrian."
1 Kings 17:7-9 NIV
"Sometime later, the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him: 'Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.'"
1 Kings 17:10-11 NIV
"So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, 'Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?' As she was going to get it, he called, 'And bring me, please, a piece of bread.'"
1 Kings 17:12 NIV
"'As surely as the Lord your God lives,' she replied, 'I don't have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.'"
1 Kings 17:13-14 NIV
"Elijah said to her, 'Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first, make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up, and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.''"
2 Kings 5:13-14 NIV
"Naaman's servants went to him and said, 'My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, Wash and be cleansed!' So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy."
2 Kings 5:15 NIV
"Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, 'Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.'"
Faith requires more than mere fascination.
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity