Faith of a mustard seed

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

“… but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:32). Another look at Luke’s Single tradition verse embedded in the Triple tradition ‘Peter’s Denial Prophesied’— his eleventh and final occurrence of ‘pistis/faith’.

I hope that you, like I, am beginning to recognize the significance of this directed study of the occurrences of the word ‘pistis’ as English translations of scripture use ‘faith’. Thus far it has been used most specifically in the Gospel’s sayings, teaching and ministry of Jesus. Several rare concepts have been identified in conjunction with it’s usage. And here, again, a very rare concept is used.

Jesus says to Peter, I have ‘edeithen/prayed’ for you that your ‘pistis/faith’ may not ‘eklipe/fail’— where both word forms used for ‘prayed’ and for ‘fail’ are so rare that Young’s has not identified either. Needless to say again that the problems with this text persists in that it is a verse that is only recorded by Luke, a saying which appears as a ‘pop-up’ in ‘Peter’s Denial Prophesied’ recorded also by Matthew and Mark. Subsequently, ‘this prayer’ is one that is difficult to get a handle on. What is it about this prayer that Jesus prayed that makes it ‘stand alone’ in scripture with no parallel?

Kittle places ‘edeithen/prayed’ among the ‘deisis’ word study group; first used for ‘specific prayer in concrete situations’. ‘Eklipe/fail’ is placed among the ‘dokimos’ word study group which has the sense of ‘tested in battle’; ‘reliable’; ‘trustworthy’; ‘certifiable’; ‘to find worthy’; ‘proven valuable’. While instances are found in secular Greek, Grundmann suggests that it first acquires religious significance in the New Testament and that in Pauline thought and usage of this concept “we are brought face to face with ideas that are peculiar to the New Testament”.

The small stuff? A single prayer from Jesus found only one time in the entire realm of scripture: specific and concrete! Listen up Peter. You are about to be in the throes of great temptation. Your understanding of faith has not reached for THE single and solitary TOP where there is ONLY GOD! Your satan makes demands upon your life to which you will yield. You will be sifted as wheat. But, in this concrete situation, in this space in life time, I have prayed for you!! Not for your deliverance, you must go through— not for your salvation, not for your healing, not for your wealth, but, specifically, concretely that ‘your faith may not fail’. I pray for you, Peter, that you will have a faith ‘tested in battle’. A faith that is ‘reliable’; ‘trustworthy’; and ‘certifiable’. A faith ‘to find worthy’; and ‘proven valuable’.

by email: mustardseedfaith@outlook.com