Today’s reading link: Genesis 22; Matthew 21; Nehemiah 11; Acts 21
Merriam-Webster defines faith as, “strong belief or trust in someone or something”. Matthew has talked to us a lot about faith this week. Today’s reading starts with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The crowds believed in Jesus, and had confidence he was who he said he was. Their response was to praise him.
Back in Matthew 17, Jesus rebuked his disciples for not having the faith to cast out demons. He tells them if they just had a little faith, even that as small as a mustard seed, they could do something: move mountains. In Matthew 21:21-22, Jesus again reminds the disciples of the power available to them through faith. “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
As defined in the English dictionary, faith is a noun. Note that Merriam-Webster uses the word “trust” in the definition. In contrast to faith, trust can also be a verb. It is something we do, an action, prompted by our faith. God calls us to act upon our faith.
James 2:17 says, “Faith without works is dead.” A few verses later, James references one of the greatest examples of faith, which we read about in Genesis 22 today. Here we see Abraham’s faith in God prompting him to take action. God tells Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering. The long-awaited son born to him by Sarah to be sacrificed as an offering to God? He had just sent Hagar and his son Ishmael away, was God really going to take Isaac from him too? In order to do follow through with God’s command, Abraham had to trust that God would bless his action. God is faithful. Not only did he bless Abraham by preserving Isaac’s life, God’s blessed Abraham by promising to multiply his offspring.
What does that faith look like in your life and my life today? Are we completely trusting God enough to follow through in action?