The Faith of Ferdinand and Isabella – Today’s Youth Devotion

The Faith of Ferdinand and Isabella

Bible Reading: James 2:14-20

Faith that does not result in good deeds is useless.   James 2:20

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS AND his brother, Bartholomew, wanted to find a way to Japan, China, and India by sailing west. In 1482 Christopher went to King John II of Portugal, asking for money and ships, but King John refused Columbus’s request. In 1485 the brothers tried to enlist the support of King Henry VII of England, but he also turned them away.

Finally, in 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain granted Columbus’s request. On August 3, 1492, he sailed from Palos, Spain. On October 12, 1492, Columbus became the first European explorer to set foot in “the New World.”

Only Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain had faith in Columbus and his mission. King John of Portugal obviously didn’t have much faith in the man or in his mission. King Henry of England didn’t have such faith either. How do we know that? By their works. Or, in Columbus’s case, their lack of works.

It’s not hard to see that if the kings of England and Portugal had believed in Columbus, they would have acted quite differently, right? If they had any faith in Columbus, they would have backed up their faith with money, ships, and titles, like Ferdinand and Isabella did, right?

Faith in Christ works the same way. As James wrote in the Bible, “Dear brothers and sisters, what’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can’t save anyone. . . . Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all—it is dead and useless” (James 2:14, 17).

You see, we aren’t saved by doing good works, or even by making right choices. We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). A real saving faith in Christ, however, should produce right choices—just as Ferdinand and Isabella’s faith in Columbus and his mission produced ships, money, and a whole new world!

REFLECT: Are you a Christian? If so, how did you become a Christian: by doing good deeds or by trusting Christ to save you by his grace? Does being a Christian mean you can do anything you want to? Why or why not? According to today’s Bible reading, what kind of “works” should your faith produce?

PRAY: “Heavenly Father, I know that I’ve been saved by grace, through faith. Please help my faith to grow and produce right choices and good deeds as I follow you every day.”