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Faith of A Mustard Seed

by Barbara Woods-Washington

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

What has The Acts of The Apostles to say about ‘pistis/faith’? 14 occurrences in the Book of this ‘Apostolic Age’, this movement from ‘disciples(ship)’ to ‘apostleship’— from ‘follow(ship) to ‘sent out (workmanship)’. This Pentecost’ event in Acts— I suspect to be the single most important event in the Church’s history.

First a double use (3:11-16) Peter: 1st. “…Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? …And his name, by faith in his name, has made this man strong whom you see and know; 2nd. and the faith which is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.” Faith is trust in the NAME JESUS. Pronouncement or invocation of the name sets in operation the energy potentially contained in him. In the Name of Jesus— healing is in the Presence …

Next, another double use (6:1-7): 3rd. “And what they said pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus and Nicanor, and Timon and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands upon them. 4th. 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.” Stephen, ‘called out’ and ‘chosen’ by ‘The Twelve’ among ‘Seven’— spoken of as a man ‘full of faith’ and ‘full of the Holy Sprit’. ‘Full of grace’ and ‘full of power’.

This second generation Disciple/Deacon Stephen becomes the first to follow Jesus in ‘dying for this faith’. Something about the character of Jesus and Stephen that would cause ‘the crowd’ to want to take their lives for what appears to be ‘no reason’. “And a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” ‘Obedient’ here, is a rarely used form of ‘hearing’ which denotes those who stand in a ‘divinely willed relationship’— always expressions of morality and religion.

‘Something being heard’, in this new FAITH distinguishable enough for priests (already proclaiming ‘some other faith?’) to have a ‘change of heart’.

5th. (11:19-24): “Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to none except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number that believed turned to the Lord. News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.

When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad; and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a large company was added to the Lord.” Again as an adjective, faith is used to describe the character of a (hu)man. Joseph, who was surnamed Barnabas by the Apostles IS among the ‘priests who were obedient to the faith’. A Levite (from the oldest and original tribe line of Hebrew priests), he stands for Paul in Jerusalem to defend his conversion.

The Apostles now ‘see faith’ in Barnabas. ‘The Faith’, ‘The Way’ is now clearly identified as ‘The Church’. The Jerusalem Church sent Barnabas to Antioch and he is credited as founder of The Antioch Church.by email: mustardseedfaith@outlook.com

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