Faith of A Mustard Seed

Barbara Woods Washington

Barbara Woods-Washington

“But rise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles— to whom I send you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”  (Acts 26:16-18).  Finding it impossible to leave this ‘Faith’ event in Acts.  The Gospel Writer’s recording of ‘Paul’s own account of his Call’, given as ‘defense’  for release from prison to King Agrippa

The words used here by (Luke) Paul for ‘rise’ and ‘stand’ are both rooted in the same word: ‘esten’.We have already seen in this study a wholly and completely other word used for ‘rise’ by Jesus in the imperative mood of command when he says to sick and afflicted persons “rise, take up your bed and walk’ as a force of healing power. Here, ‘rise’ and ‘stand’ are synonymous with taking a position in Christ.  It is used almost exclusively by Paul in New Testament (Kittle even suggests the word to be coined by Paul); and it stands to reason that it would be new— Paul speaks this word as a direct result of his ‘visionary calling’.  Although here it is in the mouth of Jesus, when Paul formulates this word usage in his letters, it is most always in the imperative mood also.

Grundmann has identified one of the rare uses of it in Old Testament as the command that Moses gives to the fleeing Hebrews in their fear for the life and death approach of the  Egyptians— “Stand Still and see the salvation of the Lord which he will show you this day”.  It is a place where ‘the stand’ established a rooting and grounding in the power of God both present and future.  It has the sense of promise and covenant.  It has the sense of security and peace.  It is an ‘upward movement’, rising— from sitting to standing; from sleeping to consciousness; from fear to courage.  It is a stand that not only identifies to all ‘where you stand’, but ‘WHOM you stand with’ and ‘WHO you stand for’!  “This standing does not result from secular securities such as health, power, property or connections.”  It is based in God on whose promise faith is fixed.

America has so many ‘Injustice Issues’.  We’ve seen it clearly in what began as a weekly “Moral Monday Movement” begun by Rev. Dr. William Barber; speaking ‘Truth to Power’ at the steps of the North Carolina State House.  The Demos quickly began to identify a massive ‘plethora of Injustices’; and the “stand upon your feet” call went from State to State, from City to City.  This now National “Poor People’s Campaign” movement, is so over burdened by the ‘Multiplicity of Injustice’ in this nation, that it appears to be losing it’s ‘single purpose’ effectiveness.  I myself signed on to this movement but am now lost in it…  And now,  the “2020 Protests” have such a magnanimous ‘Look at Injustice in America’ that the call to “stand upon your feet” is being heard in every hamlet.

Jesus has summoned Paul to ‘rise and stand’ a calling that Paul took to heart as it expressed itself throughout his ministry.  He said to the Corinthians: “Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong…”  He said to the Galatians: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  He said to the Philippians: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or are absent, I may hear of you that you stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.”

Still again, he said to the Thessalonians: “for now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.”

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Reprint #133 Oct 2, 2009