Faith is essential to following Jesus
In Part 1 we established that knowing Jesus is the key to begin able to follow Jesus. Knowing Jesus can only be accomplished through faith. Hebrews 11:6 states, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Taking steps of faith will enable us to grow in our knowledge of Jesus.
This is illustrated very clearly in Mark 10:46-52. Jesus is passing through Jericho on the way to Jerusalem. There was a great crowd following Him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that Jesus was passing he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me.” He was basically screaming at the top of his lungs a request for healing while proclaiming that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Though there was a large crowd most of them were not following because they though that Jesus was the Messiah Jesus expressed this when he said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves (John 6:26 ESV).” Though Bartimaeus was physically blind he saw quite a lot spiritually. The people began to tell him to be quiet but nothing could silence his passion. He just cried out louder. Jesus stopped and called the blind man to him. Then Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” Blind Bartimaeus immediately responded, “My teacher, let me recover my sight.” Jesus replied, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Jesus makes it very clear that Bartimaeus was healed as a direct result of his faith. He demonstrated this faith by stepping out on what he had never seen but only heard. Bartimaeus believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah. It is what he was screaming out at the top of his lungs. The last part of Mark 10:52 is what we need to understand, “And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.” Blind Bartimaeus could see instantaneously. How exciting that must have been for him. He was freed from a world of darkness by the light of Jesus Christ. So what did he do with his new found sight? He immediately followed Jesus. He had faith in Jesus and the direct result of that faith was for him to follow Jesus.
What is Faith?
Faith in our culture has come to be almost synonymous with religion. This however is not the biblical definition. Faith is defined here in two parallel almost identical phrases, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1 ESV).” Faith is more than a longing that something will come to pass. It is so real that this hope brings absolute assurance. It is believing in God against what the world or our experience tells us. The second phrase takes this truth and adds to it action. Conviction is the outward manifestation of the of this assurance. Faith is more than a concept it requires action. James said, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead (James 2:17 ESV).” Faith is not faith unless it is active. Active faith is described as a walking, “For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV)” Walking by faith is following Jesus.
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, (Colossians 2:6 ESV)” Our walk is to be characterized by faith. The difference is a person only get saved once. Salvation involves one decision of faith, but walking involves reiterated steps. Following Jesus is simply walking in His steps. “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; (Psalm 37:23 ESV)” Following Jesus is choosing to walk by faith.
I’d love to hear what you think about faith. Please comment below with questions or testimony about how you are learning to follow Jesus through faith.