Monday Reverb -03October2022


1.  Benefitting from all the material we cover

  • We cover a lot in these Bible studies.  Some would say we cover too much … and I’d agree … IF we did not have most of the information stored on our website.
  • So, once again … I’m taking this opportunity to, once again, direct you to our website (, where you can access these notes via a link on the right sidebar on the homepage.
  • All you have to do is …
      • go to the homepage (,
      • look on the right sidebar for RECENT POSTS
      • and click on the hyperlink for the “Monday Reverb” of your choice.

2.  Dealing with contrary views and opinions

  • We accommodate, and welcome, opposing views on this platform.  We don’t expect everyone here to agree on everything … especially w.r.t. religion (as well as politics).
  • That said, we do expect everyone on this platform to be respectful of the views of others, even if what their views are outrageous (or just seem that way).
  • Please NOTE … RE: Persons saying things that are outrageous …
      • We can, and probably should, say their views are outrageous
      • … but we must be careful and considerate in how we say they are.
  • Respect is the word.



Do You Need a Bigger Faith?

Luke 17:5-10

In the classic 1975 thriller Jaws, Roy Schneider, in his role as police chief Martin Brody, delivers one of the most famous lines in all of American cinema.  In the film, after a series of shark attacks, Brody enlists Matt Hooper, a marine biologist (played by Richard Dreyfuss), and Quint, a professional shark hunter (played by Robert Shaw) to help him track down and kill the dangerous Great White.  The three men take Quint’s vessel out to sea and set about to hook the shark.  To attract it to their location, Brody shovels chum (bloody fish parts) into the water and he succeeds in drawing the ravenous sea monster.  When Brody sees the Great White for the first time, he is stunned by the size of the creature.  In a daze, he staggers over to Quint and almost whispers, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat!”  The statement perfectly captured the moment the three men realized they were in over their heads.

In popular culture, Brody’s quote is a meme, gif, poster, t-shirt, and every other method of marketing you can imagine.  It has been referenced over 40 times in TV shows, songs, and movies, making it the rallying cry of everyone who comes face-to-face with their own limitations and inadequacy.  We have all been there at one time or another – in a situation where the way forward seems so daunting that you realize your “best” up until that point will not be good enough.

The 12 disciples of Jesus faced a “bigger boat” challenge.  Jesus taught them a lesson they found difficult to hear and even more difficult to live out.  He set a high standard for forgiveness, instructing the disciples to forgive every time their fellow human beings sin against them.  Even if a person harms them multiple times in the same way, Jesus required his disciples to forgive.  Forgiveness is hard under the best circumstances, and Jesus’ expectation seemed unrealistic to his followers.  The disciples said the equivalent of, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”  They pled for Jesus to increase their faith.  Let us look at the account in Luke 17:


The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.  Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep.  Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’?  Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’?  Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?  So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’“ (Luke 17:5-10 NIV)

Jesus’ response was unexpected.  He first offered an analogy about faith that disrupted the disciples’ understanding, followed by a parable that was humbling in the extreme.  I imagine there was a long, uncomfortable silence after Jesus’ response as his followers tried to process their leader’s jarring teaching on a topic they thought they understood.  A closer look at the passage will show that Jesus’ words were encouraging, especially to those feeling inadequate.  However, they do cause us to move ourselves from the center of our focus.  His words were not only encouraging to the 12 disciples, but they are a blessing to us as well.

Let’s first look at why the disciples’ request for faith was off the mark.  In essence, the apostles told Jesus, “To do what you just said, we’re gonna need a bigger faith!”   They viewed faith as a quantifiable commodity they somehow stored in themselves – kind of like having a faith battery.

  • As they listened to Christ’s teaching and bore witness to his wonders, units of faith were added to their faith battery, increasing the overall faith charge.
  • If they sinned or went too long without connecting with Christ, they lost some of their faith charge.
  • When faced with a spiritual challenge, they had to check to see … IF there was enough in the faith battery to power them through whatever they had to do.
  • IF not, they had to spend more time with Jesus in order to increase the faith charge in the battery.

After the disciples heard Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness, they figured they did not have enough faith in their batteries, and they asked Jesus for more.

While this analogy may seem a bit humorous, this is exactly how many of us view faith.  We see it as something we accumulate and store up.

For the disciples to be able to live out the challenging way of Christ, their understanding of faith had to be renewed, as does ours.

Jesus taught his followers that faith was not a commodity to be stored but the fruit of a relationship. Let me say that again: faith is not a commodity to be stored; faith is the fruit of a relationship.

We do not store up faith, and we do not have true faith of our own.   Rather, faith describes the state of being convinced that Jesus is trustworthy in a particular way based on our experience with him in the past.   We will not have faith in Jesus in all ways and in all things in this life.  Our minds are limited in their ability to completely divorce ourselves from our earthly knowledge and experience.  However, we are capable of believing in his word after we get to know him better.  For example, if I were sick and God miraculously healed me, I would come to know that God is a healer.  If someone I care about becomes sick, and if in prayer, God shows me that my loved one will be healed, I will have faith that the person will make a full recovery.  I have faith not because of some accumulated commodity that I can dip into as needed.  Rather, I have faith because I have come to know God as the healer.  I am convinced of his goodness and power.  

This is why Jesus said that all we need is a little faith — just the faith of a mustard seed.  Faith has little to do with us and everything to do with him.  It is not the power of our belief that changes things, rather it is the belief in his power.   We do not direct God’s power with our faith and prayers, dictating to him what we would have him do.  Instead, we seek to discern his will in prayer and live in the reality of his word.   Too often, Christians think that it is our desires and belief that catalyze God’s activity.   It is God’s activity that should shape our belief.   I may not believe in God in all the ways that I should, but if I am convinced that God is a healer, then that is sufficient to believe God’s word when he speaks to me of healing.  I believe this is what it means to have a little faith.

This should cast a new light on the many times in the Gospels Jesus said to one or more of the disciples that they had little faith.   We have to contrast those statements with the many times Jesus said that all one needs is a little faith or the faith of a mustard seed.  Looking at it this way, perhaps Christ’s comments about the little faith of his disciples was not a rebuke but an encouragement — a reminder that in him they have all they need.

The disciples asked for a bigger boat, but Jesus directed them to the one who created the ocean.  In other words, Christ reoriented them to himself.  Instead of putting themselves in the center, Jesus revealed that he is the center.  It is not their internal belief that can replant a tree in the sea.  Rather, if Jesus says that the tree will be moved, his followers should faithfully behave as if it were already accomplished.  Our role is not to set God’s agenda but to discern his planIt is not the power of the disciples that will enable them to forgive others, it is their complete dependence in the power of Christ working through them as they follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.   We, too, are dependent on Christ alone, and faith does not exist apart from him.  It is not our place to “name and claim” the miracles we want to see.  It is our privilege to bear witness to and participate in the work Jesus is doing to recreate the world.

We should be in awe of the fact that Christ-followers can serve as conduits of his miraculous power.  In a perfect world, human beings would humbly appreciate our inclusion in the life of Christ.  However, we are prone to pride.  We have a tendency to focus on ourselves and it would be easy to become puffed up by the miracles to which we bear witness.  This may be why Jesus followed up his lesson about faith with a parable about servanthood.  The story Jesus tells illustrates that Christians are to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.  We follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and are empowered by him to participate in the life and work of Christ.  As servants following orders, we cannot take pride in what we are able to accomplish because we are just doing as we were instructed by the Spirit.   There is no place for pride, only humility and gratitude.

In Christ’s response to his disciples’ expression of inadequacy, he did not try to make his followers feel better.   He did not quote an affirmation or pray a prayer of empowerment like they wanted.  Just the opposite — he confirmed their inadequacy!   In themselves, they were incapable of meeting the standard set by Christ.  At the same time, he revealed his overwhelming sufficiency and his willingness to work for our good.   This is good news for all who call on the name of the Lord.

We all feel inadequate at times.  We have all wondered if our best was good enough.  The greatest of parents, at times, feels completely overwhelmed.  The most seasoned pastors will come up short.  The most brilliant scientists will come across a problem they feel is beyond their capacity to solve.  Inadequacy does not feel good; however, it is part of the normal Christian life.  It is in our inadequacy that we can better appreciate the sufficiency of Christ.  It is then that we realize that we are nothing without him.  It is then that we are reminded of the importance of humility.   It is then that we can be trusted to be the conduit of the miraculous.

When faced with a daunting challenge, let us not ask God for a bigger boat.  Rather, let us turn to Christ and live in the reality of his sufficiency.  


Any thoughts?  What stands out for you?  What would you say is the main takeaway?

For me, it’s the idea that Faith is NOT a commodity to be stored, BUT the fruit of a relationship.

Matthew 9

1 So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city. Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”

And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”

But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” And he arose and departed to his house.

Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled[a] and glorified God, who had given such power to men.

As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.

10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, [b]to repentance.”

14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast [c]often, but Your disciples do not fast?”

15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the [d]friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for [e]the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. 17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins [f]break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

18 While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.” 19 So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples.

20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

23 When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, 24 He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. 25 But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went out into all that land.

27 When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”

28 And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”

29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith let it be to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” 31 But when they had departed, they [g]spread the news about Him in all that [h]country.

32 As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. 33 And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!”

34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.”

35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease [i]among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were [j]weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Mark 10

46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  

49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called.

Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.”

50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.

51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

The blind man said to Him, [f]Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”

52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has [g]made you well. And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.  

Let’s now notice a couple of passages where the same/similar phrase is not used, but the sentiment is the same …

Matthew 15

21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O LordSon of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”

23 But He answered her not a word.

And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”

24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.  

Let us notice an additional point from Mark’s account of we believe is the same incident …

Mark 7

24 From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre [h]and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden. 25 For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet26 The woman was a [i]Greek, a [j]Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept [k]asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”  

28 And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.”  

29 Then He said to her, For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”  

30 And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.  

Before closing this section … one other point in the GCI sermon that stood out for me …

This is why Jesus said that all we need is a little faith — just the faith of a mustard seed.  Faith has little to do with us and everything to do with him.  It is not the power of our belief that changes things, rather it is the belief in his power.   We do not direct God’s power with our faith and prayers, dictating to him what we would have him do.  Instead, we seek to discern his will in prayer and live in the reality of his word.   Too often, Christians think that it is our desires and belief that catalyze God’s activity.   It is God’s activity that should shape our belief.   I may not believe in God in all the ways that I should, but if I am convinced that God is a healer, then that is sufficient to believe God’s word when he speaks to me of healing.  I believe this is what it means to have a little faith.






Before we move to our next section (Irreligious HardTalk) … I want to say somethng about Dealing with contrary views and opinions

  • We accommodate, and welcome, opposing views on this platform.  We don’t expect everyone here to agree on everything … especially w.r.t. religion (as well as politics).
  • That said, we do expect everyone on this platform to be respectful of the views of others, even if what their views are outrageous (or just seem that way).
  • Notice the following passage …
      • Acts 15:36-41    36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. 37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 40 and Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
  • What about that passage stands out for you?
  • For me, it’s verse 39a … They didn’t just have a contention … it was a great contention.
  • The POINT:  Men of God can disagree (about non-essential truths).
  • Please NOTE … RE: Persons saying things that are outrageous …
      • We can, and probably should, say their views are outrageous
      • … but we must be careful and considerate in how we say they are.
  • Interestingly, Acts 15:39 is the last we hear about Mark in the book of Acts … but it is not the last we hear of him in the Bible …
      • 2 Timothy 4:11  Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.   
  • It seems Paul’s view of Mark had changed … and for the better.
  • Obviously, there can be agreement after disagreement.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =



Re: Giving a reason for the hope we have (as Pastor Greg Williams alluded to) …

Part of the reason MY view of Hell has changed … 







Ephesians 2:8-9 (AV)    For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NET)    For by grace you are saved[a] through faith,[b] and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from[c] works, so that no one can boast.[d] 

Ephesians 2:8-9  (NKJV)    For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 (Christian Standard Bible)    For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.




  • Whom is the “you” referring to?  To whom is the “you” applicable to?
      • the Christians in Ephesus …
      • or … anyone reading the letter?
  • What if some “non-Christian” read the letter (or heard the letter being read) and took it personally?   Would the rest of what is said in the verse apply to him/her??

are saved

  • Note that some versions say “have been” saved, instead of “are” saved.
  • So which is it?
  • Both are correct … given the tense in the Greek … i.e. the perfect tense.
  • The perfect tense is interesting, and important, because it speaks to an event that happens at one point in time and continues to another point in time.
  • For example . . .
      • There is the past perfect tense (eg. had been) … Consider the sentence, “He had been at the bus stop.”  That implies that he got to the bus stop at a certain time … and stayed there until a later time … but he is no longer there.
      • There is the present perfect tense (eg. has been) … The sentence, “He has been at the bus stop” implies that he got to the bus stop at a certain time … and he is still there (at the present time).
  • In Ephesians 2:8, the verb relating to “saved” is in the present perfect tense, which implies it is speaking of an action/event that took place at some point in the past, the effect of which continues into the present time.
  • In the instant case, we were saved at some point in the past … and we are still saved now in the present.

by grace

  • The word translated as “grace”, which is the Greek word, Charis, means “a favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver; unearned and unmerited favor” (Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament).
  • Based on definitions similar to the one above, most people understand “grace” to refer to unearned, undeserved, unmerited favour or pardon.
  • By that, they understand that the recipient of the act of grace did NOTHING to deserve or earn whatever the act imparted.
  • Grace is NOT about some sort of quid pro quo.
  • Put another way … the recipient of the grace did not have to DO anything for the gracious act to be done to them or for them.
      • Galatians 5:3-4    For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.   
      • Romans 11:5-6    Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
  • The point:  IF you were saved by grace, THEN you did not have to do anything to be saved.   That means, therefore, that you did not have to believe in order to be saved.

through faith,

  • NOT “by” faith … BUT “through” faith
  • Why???
  • Because to say that we are saved by faith would be to say that we are saved because of our faith … or to say that we are saved because we believed.
  • If we say that, however, then we are saying our salvation is dependent of something that we DO … effectively turning “belief” into a “work” to be done.

and this

  • What is “this” referring to?
  • Some say salvation (fact that we are “saved”).
  • Others say faith, given that it’s closer to the word “faith” than to the word “saved”

is not from yourselves;

  • Some versions say “not of yourselves”
  • Whatever word is used, the meaning is clear:  neither the salvation nor the faith is from us.

it is God’s gift

  • What is God’s gift?
  • I believe it’s the faith …similar to what was said in the GCI lectionary notes on the passage in Luke 16 … but also based on what I see in 1 Corinthians 12:7-9 and Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
  • Others believe it’s salvation … given that salvation is by grace (which means it’s free, undeserved, unearned
  • Interestingly, it is precisely because I believe most persons reading Paul’s letter would have understood that salvation is free, why he mentioned that “faith” was a gift (which, I believe, is something that fewer persons would have understood).
  • BUT … I’m comfortable with either, given that both are gifts

not from works,

  • Some versions have “not of works” … instead of “not from works” … but the understanding is really “not by works” or “not according to works” as other passages indicate.
  • Note the following …
  • Titus 3:5   3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 
  • 2 Timothy 1:9   Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
  • 2 Timothy 2:10    Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

so that no one can boast.

  • None (no one) of us can boast … because none of us has ever (nor can ever) contribute anything to our salvation.
  • That’s because IF we’d contributed even one iota to our salvation, THEN we’d have something to boast about … because it would mean that we did something that some others had not done
  • but notice …
  • Romans 11:32     28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31 even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.  
  • That “all” in verse 32 includes us, as well the Israelites, who had not yet believed.
  • Notice Roman 11:30 again.
  • The Christians in Rome were in a position that the unbelieving Israelites were still in … at the time Paul was writing.
  • The point … none of us can boast about any aspect of our salvation because none of us contributed anything at all to our salvation.




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