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Bible Alive "Faith in the Synoptic Gospels & Acts"


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How would one describe faith according to the Synoptic Gospels? Why does Jesus demand faith—why is faith in the Synoptics CRUCIAL? Why is faith, once directed solely to the One God, now also directed to Jesus? See and learn in Jesus’ prayers, parables, and teachings on faith in the Synoptics, the unique relationship this man from Nazareth has with God. Learn also what faith is in Acts of the Apostles and why believers are those who accept the preached Apostolic word and join the community of the faithful. See how faith is all about newness: it sunders links with the past, past religious ties, and especially sin. Discover faith as a personal relationship, and thus subjective, but also embodied in the objective content shared by the community of the faithful.

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Bible Alive "Faith in the Synoptic Gospels & Acts"

  1. 1. Analysis of <br />Faith in the <br />Synoptic Gospels & Acts<br />
  2. 2. The following presentation would be impossible without these resources<br />
  3. 3. Let us Pray<br /> We believe, O Lord.<br /> Help our Unbelief! <br />Amen. <br />
  4. 4. Course Breakdown<br />Bible Alive: The Prophets<br />What is faith? <br />Who and what are prophets? <br />What is prophecy? <br />What you need: <br />Bring your Bible and a heart open to prayer.<br />
  5. 5. Faith is…<br />Summary of Old Testament Faith <br />It is aman, that is, solidity, firmness, support, security and is corporate, NEVER just an individualistic experience. <br />It is covenantal and bestows identity. <br />This faith trusts more than it intellectually assents to, and obeys. <br />It is expressed through repentance, obedience and trust. <br />And it moves from the fear of the Lord to reverence and love in wisdom in the environment of peace.<br />
  6. 6. Faith is also…<br />Summary of Faith according to Paul’s theology:<br />Faith is about justice for Paul. Faith is the key that liberates us from sin and death. Thus for Paul faith is the principle of life for the righteous. <br />Paul sees that with Baptism faith effects a new creation. <br />The central object of such faith is Christ, but Christ in the preached word—for Paul faith comes through preaching. <br />For Paul faith is incarnational, inexorably tied to obedience, and in fact is obedience. <br />Faith is not only mental, but a reality consuming the whole believer. <br />It is never a one-time event or confession; faith is dynamic and grows. <br />Faith also must be nourished for Paul for it may become sick and die. <br />The principle by which faith grows is love. <br />For Paul faith is vision of Christ in all things. For Paul this vision can only come from the indwelling Spirit who empowers us to leave ignorance and darkness and enter into the light of Christ. Faith shows Paul that all things are oriented toward union with God. <br />
  7. 7. The “Same Eye” Gospel Tradition<br />What are the Synoptic Gospels?<br />The word synoptic comes from Greek roots meaning “same eye.” <br />Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called “Synoptic” Gospels because, when examined side-by-side, immediately there appears similarities in structure and content. <br />
  8. 8. The Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels<br />What does Jesus IN THE Synoptics demand?<br />Mt 9:27-28—And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When he entered 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.”<br />
  9. 9. Synoptic Jesus’ Demand<br />What does Jesus IN THE Synoptics demand?<br />Mk 4:37-41—And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”<br />And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?” <br />
  10. 10. Synoptic Jesus’ Demand<br />What does Jesus IN THE Synoptics demand?<br />Lk 8:22-25—One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a storm of wind came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even wind and water, and they obey him?”<br />
  11. 11. Synoptic Jesus’ Demand<br />What does Jesus IN THE Synoptics demand?<br />Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels demands faith. <br />
  12. 12. The Synoptic Jesus Praises<br />What does Jesus IN THE Synoptics praise?<br />Mt 8:5-13—As he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion answered him, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; be it done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.<br />
  13. 13. The Synoptic Jesus Praises<br />What does Jesus IN THE Synoptics praise?<br />Mt 15:21-28—And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.<br />
  14. 14. The Synoptics’ Jesus Praise<br />What does Jesus IN THE Synoptics praise?<br />Wherever he discovers it, the Jesus of the Synoptic Gospel praises faith.<br />
  15. 15. What Jesus Declares about Faith<br />What does Jesus declare about faith IN THE Synoptic Gospels?<br /><ul><li>Read Mark 5:25-34—And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.” And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?“”And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”</li></li></ul><li>Jesus’ Explains Faith<br />What does Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels say about faith?<br />Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels declares that faith empowers salvation. <br />
  16. 16. Faith in Jesus or God?<br />Go back to Mk 5:25-34. The Woman’s faith was in Jesus!<br />This is extraordinary! <br />See how Mk 5:35-36 continue this: <br />While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”<br />But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”<br />As with the Woman, the ruler of the Synagogue directs his faith to Jesus, and another miracle happens.<br />
  17. 17. Faith in…<br />Faith in who?<br />Mk 9:17-23—And one of the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit; and wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” [Jesus] answers them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him; and when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has he had this?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “If you can!All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”<br />
  18. 18. Faith in… <br />Faith in who?<br />Mk 11:20-23—As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered [that just before Jesus had cursed the tree when it gave out no fruit] and said to him, “Master, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.<br />
  19. 19. Faith in…<br />Faith in who?<br />Lk17:5-6—The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”<br />And the Lord said, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, ‘Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. <br />
  20. 20. Synoptic Gospel Faith<br />Faith in the Synoptic Gospels, like faith in the Old Testament, is directed to God. <br />First, faith in the Synoptic Gospels is trust in God. <br />
  21. 21. Faith in…<br /><ul><li>Faith in who?
  22. 22. Mk 8:27-30—And Jesus went on with his disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”And he charged them to tell no one about him.</li></ul>Then verse 38 adds:<br />…“For whoever is ashamed of meand of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”<br />
  23. 23. Faith in God & Jesus<br />In the Synoptic Gospels the act of faith is trust in God, but it is more:<br />Faith is trust in God the Father but also is directed toward Jesus.<br />Faith is the acceptance of Jesus as the one he claimed to be. <br />
  24. 24. A Package Deal<br />What lies behind every utterance of Jesus about faith in the Synoptics? Describe it.<br />Mk 9:37—“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”<br />Here we see that when Jesus speaks about the acceptance that is faith, he shows that receiving him means receiving God.<br />In the theology of the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus and God never are without the other; they are a package deal, and Mark chapter 12 supports this.<br />
  25. 25. Parable of the Vineyard<br /><ul><li>Mk 12:1-11—And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. </li></ul>Again he sent to them another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed; and so with many others, some they beat and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture: ‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”<br />
  26. 26. Faith & the Special Relationship<br />In this parable about faith again Jesus stresses the relationship between God his Father and himself.<br />Verses 35 through 37 reinforce this. <br />When the Synoptic Gospels present Jesus speaking on faith, always there is the sense of the unique bond and relationship he has with God<br />Mk12:35-37—And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declared, ‘The Lord said to my Lord,Sit at my right hand,till I put thy enemies under thy feet.’<br />David himself calls him Lord; so how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.<br />
  27. 27. Jesus and God<br /><ul><li>Mt 10:32-33—So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
  28. 28. Mt 11:27-30—“All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”</li></li></ul><li>Jesus & God<br /><ul><li>Mt 16:17-19—And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. Iwill give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”</li></li></ul><li>What is Faith?<br />Let’s summarize Synoptic faith. Gather all these themes.<br />First, like the rest of the New Testament, the Synoptic Gospels do not deviate from the Old Testament’s perspective of faith. But in the development of understanding this faith as presented in the ancient Scriptures, the Synoptics stress that with the coming of Jesus faith is more important now than ever. <br />The Jesus of Mark, Matthew and Luke demands faith—faith in the Synoptics is CRUCIAL.<br />Now faith is directed not only to God but also to Jesus who is the one who definitively reveals God. <br />In Jesus prayers, parables, and teachings on faith in the Synoptics, there is always presented a unique relationship between himself and God. <br />So in summary, the Synoptics carry over faith in all its Old Testament meaning, emphasize its life-or-death importance, amazingly present it as being directed to the man Jesus of Nazareth as to God, and, in depicting faith, refers to the unique bond between the man Jesus and God. <br />
  29. 29. Acts <br />The Acts of the Apostles:<br />Acts is the second volume of Luke’s two-volume work (Luke-Acts).<br />Acts describes how the Holy Spirit extends the salvation promised to Israel in their sacred texts and delivered by Jesus to the Gentiles. <br />Acts is a partial account of the early growth of Christianity. <br />
  30. 30. Faith in Acts<br /><ul><li>Describe faith in the following passage.</li></ul>Acts 8:9-14—But there was a man named Simon who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the nation of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all gave heed to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is that power of God which is called Great.” <br /> And they gave heed to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. <br /> Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.<br />What is being received? <br />Here we see that according to the theology of Acts, faith means accepting the message of the Gospel. Samaria RECEIVED the WORD OF GOD.<br />
  31. 31. Faith & the Faithful<br />So what is faith in this theology?<br />So faith to Acts means accepting the preached message of the Gospel. <br />Who are “the faithful” according to the theology in Acts? <br />The faithful or believers are those who <br />accept the Apostolic kerygma (proclamation or preaching) and <br />who become members of the Christian community. <br />It was Philip who PREACHED the message to Simon Magus there, and to others, and they believed, and they were baptized.<br />
  32. 32. The Object and the Center of Faith<br />According to Acts, what is the object of their faith, and what is this faith centered on?<br />Acts 5:14—And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.<br />Acts 9:42—And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believedin the Lord.<br />Acts 11:17—[Peter said] “…If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”<br />Acts 15:11—[Peter said]“But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus…”<br />The Apostolic Kerygma is the object of faith and it is centered on Jesus as the Risen Lord (Yahweh).<br />
  33. 33. The Core of Faith in Acts<br />According to the theology of Acts, the center of faith is the Lordship of Christ?<br />Acts 2:36—Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.<br />The heart of the apostles’ preaching and of faith itself is Christ’s Lordship revealed in the resurrection. <br />According to the theology of Acts, “Jesus is Lord”is the core of faith.<br />
  34. 34. Accepting Christ as LORD<br />But how does one accept the Lordship of Jesus? In Acts 2:38, Peter tells the Pentecost throng: <br />“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”<br />In Acts’ perspective on faith, one accepts the reality of Jesus’ Lordship by repentance (metanoia), sacramentally demonstrated through Baptism. <br />Connected to Baptism is forgiveness guaranteed and transformation and renewal through the Holy Spirit.<br />
  35. 35. Baptism & Faith in Acts<br />Acts 10:43-48—[Peter said]“To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”<br />While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.<br />And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. <br />For they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can any one forbid water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.<br />Acts 18:8—Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.<br />
  36. 36. Dropping the Past<br />In the theology of Acts we see that faith demands a separation with the past. <br />No longer can the faithful share religious allegiance with any but Christ. But most definitely, Acts presents faith as breaking with sin.<br />And faith is much more then adherence to a code of ethics! For Acts’ theology, faith is a personal relationship because faith involves accepting God’s word as personified in Christ.<br />But is faith in Acts only a subjective attitude then? <br />Acts 6:7—And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to THE faith.<br />
  37. 37. Faith—Subjective & Objective<br />This “obedience to THE faith” as in the faith COMMON to all the believers, shows that faith CANNOT be just a subjective attitude; it also has an OBJECTIVE content that is shared by all the faithful. <br />According to Acts, one personally receives the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and so faith has a subjective character; and yet, all the faithful share the common faith, so faith has also an objective content. <br />Luke’s theology presents a subjective faith and objective faith. <br />So faith in the theology of Acts is not only a subjective attitude.<br />
  38. 38. Objective Faith Elsewhere in New Testament Theologies<br />Jude 20—But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit…<br />Rom 1:5—…through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations…<br />Rom 10:8—But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach)…<br />Gal 1:22-23—And I was still not known by sight to the churches of Christ in Judea; they only heard it said, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”<br />Eph 4:4-6—There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. <br />1 Tim 1:19—By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith…<br />1 Tim 3:9—Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for gain; they must hold the mystery of the faithwith a clear conscience<br />1 Tim 4:6—If you put these instructions before the brethren, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the good doctrine which you have followed.<br />
  39. 39. Faith’s Direction<br />But where is faith taking us according to Acts? What is faith directed toward?<br />Is it only to the past, where God brought about great saving works in the history of salvation? Look at Acts 2:17<br />And in the last days it shall be, God declares,that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,and your young men shall see visions,and your old men shall dream dreams;yes, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those daysI will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.And I will show wonders in the heaven aboveand signs on the earth beneath,blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darknessand the moon into blood,before the day of the Lord comes,the great and manifest day.And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shallbe saved.&apos;<br />
  40. 40. Faith’s Direction<br />And consider Acts 3:18—<br />But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled.Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.<br />For Acts, faith is also directed toward the future and in the presence of the saving power of Jesus Christ the Risen Lord now.<br />
  41. 41. What is Faith?<br />Let’s summarize faith in Acts. Gather all these themes: <br />Faith is the acceptance of the Gospel preached by the Apostles, and believers are those who accept this preached word and join the community of the faithful. <br />Apostolic preaching is the object of faith. <br />The heart of faith is belief in Christ as risen Lord. <br />Faith is expressed in repentance, and sacramentally expressed through Baptism. In the act of faith, Baptism, one receives the assurance that one is forgiven and is renewed by the Holy Spirit being “poured out.” <br />Faith is all about newness: it sunders links with the past, past religious ties, and especially sin. <br />Faith is a personal relationship, and thus subjective; but faith is also embodied in the objective content shared by the community of the faithful. <br />Finally, faith not only speaks about the fulfillment of the past in Christ, but to the mystery of Christ coming in the future and his presence now.<br />