Can faith really be seen?
According to this passage it can. But I've always thought of faith as something invislble and unseen - one of those spiritual character qualities that can't be seen with the naked eye. Then along comes this passage and the simple three-word statement found in verse 20: "Seeing their faith." It's a familiar story. Some guys carry a bed with their friend on it so he can be healed by Jesus. But they find the crowd so large that they can't get him in the door. So they get creative and head for the roof, where they do some minor deconstruction and then lower him down right in front of Jesus. Now those are some serious friends!
Luke records Jesus' reaction to their efforts with the statement, "Seeing their faith." What He saw caused Jesus to say, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you." His words were directed at the man on the bed, but they were prompted by the actions of the man's friends. Jesus had seen the faith behind their actions. What they had done to help their friend had made their faith visible to Jesus and all those around them. Their faith had led to their friend's healing. They acted on faith. Their friend was healed.
So how often can people see my faith? Or do I have to tell them about my faith? The truth is, my faith should be evident at all times. It is what should be behind my actions. It should motivate my decisions. I sit in a chair because I have confident faith that it will hold me up. I turn the key in the ignition of my car faithfully anticipating the sound of the engine starting. I wake up in the morning with faithful confidence that the sun will come up.
But the faith described in this story is of a different kind. It has a different source. These men did what they did because they had faith in a person - Jesus Christ. They carried the bed containing their friend and cut the hole in the roof, all because they had confidence that their efforts would be well worth it. Their friend would be healed by Jesus.
So how many of my daily efforts are motivated by belief in what Jesus can and will do? Do I take the first step of the morning with confident assurance that Jesus is going to do something great in my life that day? Do I "lift up" and carry my friends into the presence of God fully expecting Him to provide healing? Do I give financially to the cause of Christ eagerly anticipating that He will not let my needs go unmet?
Faith can be seen. And even if no one ever sees it but Jesus, isn't that really all that matters? So how about you? Is your faith out in clear view? Is it where it can be seen? What we say we believe about Jesus only matters when it takes the form of visible faith in Jesus.
The men in the story had faith that Jesus could heal their friend. But what if they had never picked up his bed? What if they had never carried him to Jesus? What if they had given up when they saw the crowds? There would have been no healing. But their faith was visible that day. Jesus saw it and their friend was healed because of it.
What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. -- Hebrews 11:1
Father, I want my faith to be visible. I want my faith to be tangible. I want my belief to motivate my actions. Forgive me for showing my doubt through my unwillingness to take the first step. Help me put my faith into action - trusting that you will act on my behalf. You've never given me any reason to doubt You and I thank you for that. Amen.