“Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man – and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region”.
Mk 5:16, 17 NIV
When we read the stories about Jesus healing people we all wish we could have been there to see it with our own eyes. We envy those who were there and think to ourselves that it must have been so much easier for those eye witnesses to believe in Jesus. But, so we think, it is much harder to have faith in the twenty-first century.
In the story of Christ healing the demon-possessed man there was first-hand evidence of a miraculous healing. And we would imagine that the people who were called out from their work and homes by those who were there would immediately know, understand and fall at Jesus’ feet in acknowledgement of his divine lordship. They would have instant and unquestioning faith. They didn’t. Neither did many more who witnessed his doings whilst on earth. For many the miracles served as a kind of entertainment and they went away wondering when he would do more. Like an audience at a concert watching a conjuror produce tricks they wondered how Jesus did it. For faith to come, they had to catch on that Jesus had come from God and was God in human form. And they had to make the decision to trust him and to trust themselves to him.
The quality of faith that enables disciples to become apostles is “serious, persistent and perceptive” faith that becomes total commitment and issues in a “long obedience in the same direction”. It can come in an instant. Or it can grow over a long period of time.
Lord, make my faith more durable.