The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith” (Luke 17:5, NLT).
I go to the gym often, and I’ve noticed some participants walking around with a trainer.
The trainees huff and puff while the trainer gives instructions. I’ve never hired a personal trainer as I don’t want to spend the money, and I prefer figuring things out for myself.
Perhaps this is the reason why, through going to the gym six days a week, I look the same as I did six years ago!
The apostles asked Jesus to help them increase their faith. They weren’t new to the gym or to following Jesus, as they had been walking with Him for about three years before they asked this question.
Why did they ask at this late date about increasing their faith? Perhaps, like me at the gym, it took them a while to realize that they could only get so far with their own wisdom and effort and that taking the next step meant asking for help.
Jesus took them seriously; you can read the chapters in Luke after the apostles asked Jesus to be their personal faith trainer — and notice that their training elevated to the next level!
The good news is that we still have Jesus as our trainer today, as He says to each one of us in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (ESV).
A trainer develops a plan, as Jesus did for the apostles. He had only a short time left before the crucifixion, so Jesus focused on building their faith in three areas . . .
- Faith with money
- Faith with healing
- Faithful praying
I think all of us need training in these areas as most of our anxiety comes from a mishandling of our resources, not understanding the power of God and a lack of disciplined prayer.
Sign me up, Jesus! Be my personal trainer.
It would seem the disciples flunked their final exam, and despite their “increased” faith training with Jesus, they abandoned Him in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Luke 21 gives one of the primary lists of end-time signs.
Reading the signs in Luke 21:10-26, we notice they were relevant to the Christians in the first century when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and, get this, relevant to Christians again in 2023, right before His second coming.
Signs of the times often refer to both the first and second comings of Jesus. The disciples ultimately passed their faith training as all of them (with the exception of the Apostle John, who died a natural death) passed into glory from martyrdom.
They were ready because Jesus training them led to increased faith.
And He is still planning faith exercises for us today.