Christians are apt to think Jesus’ disciples had a greater faith than what Christians possess today. That is not wholly true. On many occasions the Bible shows the disciples as being weak in faith – tentative and unsure. Their faith suffered because they often did not understand Jesus’ speech and ways. Furthermore, Jesus was often required to correct or rebuke the disciples for their attitude or actions.
Was the faith of the disciples greater than the faith of Christians today? I think not. Jesus made a very interesting statement to His disciple, Thomas, about faith. “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believed.” John 20:29. Two very enlightening thoughts are to be gleaned from the Lord’s words to Thomas.
Jesus told Thomas that his faith resulted from a physical relationship by which Thomas was able to see and hear Jesus daily. That was true of all the apostles. Their faith stemmed from the physical presence of Jesus. Do you think they would have believed on Christ as they did if they had never seen him? According to Jesus’ statement to Thomas they would not have believed had they not seen Him.
The second thought verbalized by Jesus was “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” I think Jesus clearly implied that those who believe on Him without ever seeing Him exhibit a greater faith. One thing is for sure. The number of people believing on Jesus without seeing Him is immeasurably larger than those having come to him by sight.
Walking with Jesus by faith rather than in His physical company is God’s will for the church. Paul wrote, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” II Corinthians 5:7. Christians show a greater faith because they come to Christ by faith through the words of the disciples who came to Jesus by sight. To believing Jews who had not seen Jesus Peter wrote, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing…” I Peter 1:8. Peter was aware of the advantage that seeing Jesus presented.
Be assured, dear Christian, that we are not being short-changed in our faith because of our inability to observe Jesus Christ. As His disciples walked with Him so will we. That was Jesus’ promise to the believers in His Revelation letter to Sardis. “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” Revelations 3:4
All who walk with Jesus now by faith will one day walk with Him in person in heaven. Our faith will be turned to sight. HOW WONDERFUL THAT WILL BE!