Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Makes Faith . . . "Great"?

Did you know that Jesus described the faith of others as “great” only two times in His ministry?
Out of the numerous encounters He had with people on this earth, there were only two occasions. 
Only two individuals.
Only twice did He find “great faith.”

Jesus described faith as “little” MANY times. 

But what makes faith. . . "great"?

Jesus found a woman with “great faith” in the Gentile region of Tyre and Sidon. 
She had heard of Jesus.  And she heard He was there.  Her daughter was possessed by a demon.  Jesus was the only One Who could help her . . . that’s what she believed.

So she came to Him and pleaded for mercy.
He didn’t answer a word.

She asked again and kept asking.
Jesus told the disciples that He was sent to the Jews only.

She fell at His feet and worshiped Him.  She begged Jesus to help her.
He re-emphasized her unworthiness.

But her prayer couldn’t be stopped. 
In her humility, she agreed with His assessment. 
She was like a dog under the master’s table.   
But she wasn’t hoping for a handout, but for a crumb.

That’s all she wanted.  A crumb.
She believed that even a crumb of the abundance of Christ would be sufficient.

“Then Jesus answered.”

“’O woman, great is thy faith.’”

·         It was Humble.
She asked for mercy, realizing she was undeserving.
And she humbly asked for a crumb.

·         It was Tried.
She received silence and opposition from where she least expected it.
And her faith was strengthened.

·         It was Steadfast.
She kept on believing.
Her faith stood firm.

·         It was Persistent.
She kept asking and never stopped.
Nothing could stop her from pleading with the only One would could meet her need. 

But what did these qualities of “great faith” prove?
They proved she believed He was great enough to answer.

In fact, every quality of “great faith” has behind it the confidence that He is able.
That He is enough.

And, ultimately, THAT’S what made this woman’s faith . . . “great.”

Hudson Taylor received amazing answers to prayer throughout his life. 
But this is what he said about “great faith”:  “It is not great faith you need, but faith in a great God.”

Hudson Taylor believed God was great enough to answer his prayers.

This woman believed Jesus could cast the demon out of her daughter.

And that’s exactly what He did.

But He didn't go with her and speak to the demon. 
He simply told this woman that it was done, and it was done: 
“Go thy way, the demon is gone out of thy daughter.”

And she went.

·         Great faith believes what it can’t see.  It believes His Word.

Two individuals believed Jesus was able to do exceeding, abundantly above what they asked for or even thought He would do.

This woman and the Roman centurion were told to go their way and simply believe that what they had asked for had been accomplished.  

And both individuals were the only ones who received their answers long-distance.
The “very hour” Jesus had said it was done.

They were trusted to believe the impossible.  Because they believed He could do the impossible.

They simply believed He was great enough.

And THAT’S what “great faith” looks like.

It’s not the size of our faith, but WHO our faith is in that makes it . . . “great faith.”

(Click here to listen to more about “The Syrophoenician Woman”.)


  1. This is a very helpful post. Thanks for sharing this insight and wisdom on the characteristics of great faith. It encourages me in my persistence. I like the creative way you wrote it as well. Keep up the good writing!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Sharon. It's comforting to know that God is faithful, no matter the size of our faith! =)