"And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." (Matthew 13:58)
From the beginning of time, God has always honored faith. In Genesis 15:6, the Bible states in reference to Abraham, "And he believed in the LORD; and [God] counted it to him for righteousness." This was the first documentation in the Bible of true faith. Not that it hadn’t been evident before, but this was the first time it was clearly noted. And God honored that faith by counting it to Abraham for righteousness, then later blessing him with the results of His promise to him.
Not only so, during The Lord’s earthly ministry, it was often a fact that before He would heal someone, He would ask a question such as, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" (Paraphrasing.) When the person or persons then testified that they did believe, He would respond by saying, "According to your faith be it unto you," or, as He’d said to the woman with the issue of blood in Matthew 9:22, "Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole."
Yet, as the above verse in Matthew 13 shows, there were times when He didn’t grant His blessings. On this particular occasion, Christ had just returned to His own country, His earthly family and friends, and was met with disbelief. These were people who had known Him, people who had watched Him grow or worked beside Him for many years. The idea that He could be the promised Messiah was unfathomable to them, as it would have no doubt been to many of us if we had been there, but the point that stands out was that He could have done many mighty works there, but He didn’t. Why?
Because of their unbelief.
The gift of faith unto salvation is one thing – and it shouldn’t be taken lightly or for granted – but this single verse can make one wonder about faith in God on a daily basis. Have there been times in my own life when "He did not many mighty works" because of my own unbelief? Can I say each day that I am trusting God sincerely? That I am trusting Him with all of my fears and all of my concerns? With my heart’s truest desires and the deepest hopes that I carry inside of me from day to day? Jairus did.
Jairus, according to the story told in Mark 5:21-43, was a ruler of the synagogue. As such, he was a man who, by right, was accustomed to giving commands and expecting others to follow those commands as instructed. When it came to his dying daughter, however, his position in life became meaningless to him – for he was then as helpless as the next man.
What Jairus did when faced with this kind of burden was the very thing we should do when our own hearts are burdened. He took it to The Lord. But he didn’t just take it to The Lord, then walk away with doubts that his request would be answered. He believed. He believed so strongly, in fact, that while they were on their way to Jairus’s house and The Lord stopped to heal someone else (the woman with the issue of blood, mentioned above) – Jairus didn’t even complain about having to stop, though he must have been beside himself to get back to his daughter. Instead, as mentioned in "The Raising Of Jairus’s Daughter" (a recent lesson taught by my pastor), he waited patiently. And when he was informed that his daughter had died, his faith held firm as The Lord immediately comforted him with the words, "Be not afraid, only believe."
This isn’t to promote "faith healing" in any way (there is faith in God, and then there is tempting God). But it is a reminder of the importance of faith and the verses that tell us plainly, "The just shall live by faith." (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38)
In Hebrews 11, a chapter devoted to the Biblical heroes of faith, it says in verse 6, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Throughout the entire Bible, the only time we really see The Lord pleased with someone or with something they had done, it was usually due to a person’s faith. Read a couple of quotes below from The Lord commending those who expressed faith in Him.
Following the words of the centurion in Matthew 8:10, "When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." To the woman of Canaan who came to Him to heal her daughter in Matthew 15:21, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt."
Obviously, so much more could be said, but for now, this is merely to consider the thought, "How important is faith?" Without a doubt, it is very important.
The opening verse stated, "And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." Because they didn’t believe, He didn’t perform great works for them. Yet if they had believed (or, rather, if they could have believed), isn’t the implication that He would have?
If God has given you the gift of faith, then believe like Jairus, believe like the woman with the issue of blood, like the centurion, and so many others. And He will bless you – for God always honors true faith in His name.