The Certainty of Faith

A reading for Wednesday, April 2, 2014: Mark 8:11-26.

Certainty. That's what we want. Especially when the world seems to be out of control, unraveling at the basic level of how things work. Government, business, education, health and even religion... all of it seems as if it's changing fundamentally before our very eyes. What can I count on if I can't count on the time tested building blocks of society? We want certainty.

The Pharisees wanted certainty. They wanted to see a sign from Jesus. "How can we know for sure?" they asked him. Their world was changing too. Jesus said there would be no sign. There would be no certainty.

The disciples are also in search of certainty. They express it in terms of having no bread. They have just seen Jesus multiply the loaves and the fishes, and have mistakenly decided that bread would be their sign. When the disciples say we have no bread it means we have no certainty/no sign of God.

Truth is, Jesus reminds them and us, that faith is not certainty. It's utter dependence on God. There is no certainty. That's why it's called faith. The good news is that when such faith is most needed, it seems to be most abundant. Jesus reminds the disciples that faith produced not just bread, but left overs filling multiple baskets. Faith is more powerful than certainty.

Perhaps we don't see that at first. The Pharisees didn't get it. The Disciples didn't get it either. Like the blind man healed by Jesus in the story, we are only beginning to perceive the power of faith in our lives.

Stick with it. Stay true. Through faith in Christ you will see everything more clearly. Through faith you might even discover the certainty you so long for.


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