Faith Reticence And Work

(Published in The Speaking Tree column, The Times of India March 31, 2010)

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ performed many miracles, including healing the sick and even raising the dead. Christ tells healed people two things: ”According to your faith be it unto you”, and ”your faith hath made thee whole”. Then he charges them by saying, ”Tell no man about what has happened to you.” Faith has a vital role to play here.

The Roman centurion whose servant was ill had so much faith in Christ that though Christ offered to come to his house the centurion said, ”I am not worthy that you come to my house, but simply say the word and it shall be done. Like I am a man in authority and when I tell my subordinates do this or do that, I know it shall be done.”

Jesus was so impressed by the centurion’s faith that he declared to all those assembled there, ”I have never seen so much faith. No, not in Israel.” Within the hour, the servant had miraculously been healed.

However, there are also some cases in the Bible where Jesus could not cure people ”because of their unbelief. Jesus also said to ”tell no man”. This is so because at times sharing things with others can be counterproductive as other people’s envy, doubts, fears and negativity can adversely affect the healed person’s mind and could also create some kind of negativity which could hinder the healing or other desire of the seeker as a negative suggestion is also powerful and can choke the flow of positive energy or belief. This is why reticence is important.

Claude M Bristol says in his book, The Magic of Believing: “It cannot be too strongly emphasised that you should not give anyone an inkling of your plans or desires. To do so may end disastrously for you.” Because the negative vibrations that other people can send you could be powerful and can deter your plans. This is perhaps the same reason that Jesus instructs the healed person to ”tell no man”.

When a woman touched the robe of Jesus, she was cured and Jesus asked: “Who touched me for I could feel virtue flowing out of me.” Now the word ‘virtue’ is not the best translation of the original Greek word dynamis which means power or strength. Incidentally, all the verses that talk of Jesus’s ‘mighty works’ also are translations of the same Greek word dynamis. Each time in the original Greek text, it was this word that was actually used. This word is used throughout the New Testament. So there is a kind of power that flows into the faithful, it is this faith that attracts the flow of the healing power and it is this ‘power’ itself that is the originator of the mighty works of Jesus Christ as described in the Bible. It is likewise lack of faith that blocks the flow of healing power.

The woman believed that Christ would cure her, but she also acted by touching his robe. The centurion had faith in Jesus, but acted by asking Jesus to heal him. There must be some kind of action or request (prayer) on the part of the receiver. ”Ask and it shall be given”, ”seek and you shall find”.

While we need to have faith in God, we need to act as well for without action on our part, faith itself is of no use ”For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”