Because trusting Jesus was God’s son, and trusting in the authority of Jesus as God’s son was such a problem for the disciples of Jesus, they turned and asked an interesting question, a question we may have asked ourselves as we take our journey of faith with the Lord.
Turning to Jesus, the disciples asked him to, “Increase their faith. “And in response to his disciples’ request, Jesus said, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you might say unto this sycamore tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea, and it should obey you.” Luke 17:5, Luke 17:6.
The disciples of Jesus were facing what we called an identity crisis which was why their faith was lacking, because; although they were with Jesus, they had not accepted the fact he was their friend or the son of God. They asked Jesus to increase their faith because although they had seen the miracles, they were not sure he was God’s son because to the disciples of Jesus he was just another prophet who like before Jesus also raised the dead.
The disciples in asking Jesus to increase their faith were hoping Jesus would do something extraordinary to help them believe he was God’s son, someone more than a prophet so they could trust he was indeed God’s son. However, they did this without realizing the heart of the matter was not a lack of evidence Jesus was God’s son, and that he can be trusted, but their confidence in Jesus, because; although they were with him, they did not believe he had the authority to lead them as a son of God.
Being with Jesus, they saw all the things he had done. Jesus told his disciples, they need to bring forth fruit, he told them, I’m your Lord, and because he was their Lord, he commissioned them to bring forth fruit. But although they had heard and saw the things he had done, they were still having a hard time believing in the authority of Jesus; therefore, they were reluctant to do what he had asked of them which is a reflection of the kind of relationship we are having with Jesus when we say we believe but are living below the expectation of faith in Christ. John 15:14-16.
It is easy to say we believe, but if we do not align ourselves and identify with who we are in relationship to who Jesus is, and who God said we are in Christ, we will not live the life of God’s son. The disciples saw Jesus as a man, God was in the flesh; they were able to see and touch him, but although he was God in the flesh, they did not see him as God, but as a man, one of the prophets, and because they identified with his humanity and not his divine nature, they were unwilling to accept his authority.
Being with Jesus, the disciples of Jesus did not realize God had come in the flesh that he might demonstrate the kind of authority we had with him, and the type of authority he restored to us as our Lord. Jesus told his disciples, “I no longer called you servants but friends,” He gave them a new identity, and because of this identity whatever they ask in his name, or authority the He will do it.
But for the disciples to begin to take on this identity as a son of God, they must first believe in Jesus, they must see him for who he is, both God and human. The disciples must learn to see Jesus not only as a man; instead, they must see him as God, and when they do, they will have confidence in his authority which would prevent them from seeing him as one of the prophets to realize he was God in person calling them to serve in his kingdom. John 1:14.
Jesus would later ask the question concerning his identity to clarify what his disciples understood about him, he wanted to know who they believe he was and if they understood he was the fulfillment of God’s promise to send a son into the world to redeem humanity.
“Who do men say that I am?” Asked Jesus, and in response to Jesus’ question, the disciples began to report on what the people were saying until Jesus asked them the direct question: “But who do you say that I am?” To which Peter replied, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” which is to say, “You are the Messiah, God in the flesh.”
Jesus asked his disciples this question because understanding who Jesus was is an important part of us taking our rightful place in the kingdom of God to perform the work God calls on us to perform. It was important because it will help with our identity crisis. The identity crisis the disciples were facing which caused them to be asking Jesus to increase their faith.
The disciples asked to have their faith increased, but the heart of the matter was not that they needed their faith to be increased, their problem was their confidence because although they were with Jesus, they had not developed the right relationship with him. They were still lacking confidence, they were asking for more proof, but when Jesus met Nathaniel, he said to him:
“Because I said unto you, I saw you under the fig tree, you believe? You shalt see greater things than these. Truly, truly, I say unto you, Hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” John 1:50-51.
Because Nathaniel immediately placed his confidence in Jesus, he received the blessing of God to be able to see the angels of God, he will be able to see the opening of heavens doors and the angels ascending and descending upon Jesus Christ.
Nathaniel was not suffering from an identity crisis but immediately recognizes Jesus for who he was having the right mind and relationship with Jesus. And because he at the beginning had developed a right relationship with Jesus, he had no need to ask that his faith be increased because he had complete confidence in who Jesus was.
But with all they had been through trying to trust Jesus, John would later come to change his mind after God poured out his Holy Spirit in his heart, John would later write, “But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believes on his name:”
Because becoming a son of God is to take on the identity of a son. Because as God’s people, when we take on the identity of a son, we no longer create in our hearts a place of doubt because as a son, we know the limits of our father, and what he is able to do; therefore, becoming a son, we know whatever authority the father gives us, we can operate in them. John 1:12.
Faith in Jesus comes with both the type of relationship we have with Jesus and the identity we assume as a friend of Jesus. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” And when we show confidence in Jesus, we will do what he asked, we will take on the identity he gives us as his friend. And when we take on the identity he gives us, we will cast out devils, heal the sick, and raise the dead because we believe in his authority.