Posted on March 12, 2014
#45: Blind Faith
I’m a fan of contemporary Christian music, with several favorite artists or bands. One of them is Jeremy Camp. I’ve appreciated his unique witness, and several of his songs speak to me. But one of his latest songs has a single line that bothers me: “I will walk by faith even when I cannot see.” Read on and you’ll see why.
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Read Mark 8:14-21, and its parallel in Matthew 16:5-12.
This passage finds Jesus and the Twelve sailing away from the shore of Galilee. Jesus had just been confronted by the Pharisees, who had insisted He prove His claim of Messiahship with a sign from heaven. (See last week’s post, #44: Knowing When to Walk Away.)
Now, Jesus brought up that encounter with a warning to His friends. “Be careful. Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
Yeast? Sounds strange to us, but the disciples knew that leaven or yeast was a symbol for a spreading influence—whether bad or good. In this case, bad. The Pharisees and Herod shared a common love for self-gain. As they saw it, if Jesus could do a few “miraculous” tricks, get them attention and maybe some money, He might be useful for a time; otherwise, He was a nuisance who continually laid bare their corruption. Jesus didn’t want their thinking to poison His disciples.
I can’t help wondering if Jesus looked at Judas when He warned them. Was Pharisaical yeast already fermenting in Judas’ heart? When the Pharisees had confronted Jesus, Judas may have heard satan sneer, “They have a point, you know. If He wants people to believe He’s the Son of God, one real sign from heaven is all He needs. So why all the subterfuge? Out with it! Does He refuse because He won’t, or because He can’t?” If Judas was bidding to be a key player in Jesus’ kingdom, such thinking would’ve found fertile ground. When Jesus’ real plan became apparent—and it didn’t include fame or fortune—Judas was willing to help the Pharisees get rid of Him.
Satan still uses “pharisees” in our lives to chip away at our faith. From skeptical co-workers to cynical TV documentaries that attempt to explain away the Bible, from ridiculing relatives to satan’s own deceptive whispers, we hear:
• “You really believe that? You’ve gotta be kidding me.”
• “It does sound pretty unbelievable.”
• “If it’s all true, why didn’t God just show up? Prove it? Poof! Said and done.”
• “Jesus had some good ideas, but beyond that . . . He raised from the dead? I don’t think so.”
When we try to explain Christian faith to a skeptic, his demands for “proof” can leave us feeling naive. That’s when we must understand the essence of faith as defined in Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Faith implies a lack of sight. The instant we can see, we no longer need faith. You’ve heard of “blind faith”? There is no other kind.
One disciple is remembered as Doubting Thomas because he refused to believe Jesus had risen until he could see for himself. Jesus chided him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jn. 20:29) The blessing of faith comes to those who choose to believe without being able to see. One wonderful aspect of heaven is that our faith will become sight; our confidence in the reliability of His promises will give way to reality!
That’s why Jeremy Camp’s song bothers me. Anyone who can see doesn’t need to walk by faith. Instead, I wish he’d have written, “I will walk by faith until the Day I can see!” That Day is coming, my friend, and it may not be far off. Until then, “Beware the yeast of the Pharisees.” Don’t be dissuaded. Keep your faith alive and your eyes on the skies.
© Diane McLoud 2014