Faith of a mustard seed

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

“And he came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews that were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.” (Acts 16:1-5). Faith in the Acts of The Apostles.

Again, it must be borne in mind that Paul is the earliest of the New Testament writers. Although his writing form is ‘The Letter’, which in and of itself raises literary purpose issues; his own accounts of the new faith’s history provides a point of entry and, at many points dissent, in the stating and very deliberate corrections on actual events. ‘The Jerusalem Council’ is one such occasion. Yet, for our direction these things remain subject of those Books when we reach them. For now, The Acts of the Apostles’ perspective on the church’s foundation history has, as we have noticed, placed Peter as the defining head of the church’s mission.

Here and now, Timothy enters this mission with controversy surrounding him on every hand. A Jew by primary definition (born of a Jewish mother), the circumstances of his birth was known by ‘all the Jews’ in that his father was a Greek. No small thing this ‘Mosaic Law’ at work— for Jewish women were not lawful in marriage to foreign men: the true Gentile.

Perhaps it is the single most reason why Timothy, born a Jew was not circumcised.

Still again, this text in Act identifies that the ‘Mosaic Law of Circumcision’ was yet unsettled in the mind and heart of Paul. He had just accompanied Barnabas to Jerusalem to have the apostles and elders bring their authority to bear upon the issue as it had been controversial in Antioch. He had recently returned from this designated ‘Jerusalem Council’ with written decree which he not only brought back to Antioch, but, still has in his possession as he set out to return to the cities where he and Barnabas had first been in ministry. Yet, still driven by this need to accommodate the Jewish ‘Mosaic Law’ faction in the infant faith, upon meeting and finding impression with Timothy as a prospective ‘new partner’ in missions,— “he took him (Timothy) and circumcised him…”

It is Paul, Silas and Timothy who now go “on their way through the cities” delivering “to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith,”

Must not leave without a quick look at ‘estrepeounto te pistis’— ‘strengthened in the faith’. It is what is referenced in Genesis 1 nine times! Firmament! Establishing fast and firm as of the earth; a solid rock; sure foundation; constant— a new creation. Amidst the controversial growing pains of this ‘born again’ movement, standing fast in the stronghold of faith is what is being accomplished through the work of these three men; Paul, Silas and Timothy. “…and they increased in numbers daily.”

by email: mustardseedfaith@outlook.com