“He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.'”
– Matthew 17:20
What does it mean to “have faith as small as a mustard seed” here?
We have heard this Scripture probably a hundred times or more. But what does it mean?
To put this verse in context, a man had brought his very ill son to Jesus for healing. The boy would have such great seizures and suffered so much that he would throw himself into the fire or water.
Can you imagine how distraught this father was seeing his son suffer so much? I bet he would have gladly taken on this suffering for his son so he could be healed. If this was me, it would be torturous to see my son suffer in this way.
So this man, after bringing his son to the disciples for healing, brought him to Jesus. He told Jesus that his disciples tried but could not heal him.
Jesus is frustrated at the unbelief of His disciples. He told the man to bring his son to Him. Jesus rebuked the demon that was in the boy and he was healed from that moment.
So later, in private, the disciples asked Jesus why they could not drive the demon out of the boy.
Verse 20 (above) was his response.
First He tells them it was because they had so little faith.
And then Jesus goes on to tell them that if they have “faith as small as a mustard seed”, they can move mountains. Nothing would be impossible for them.
Do you see the irony here?
Jesus first tells the disciples that their faith was too small to drive out the demon. But then He tells them that if there faith was even as small as a mustard seed (google it to see how small it is) they can move mountains. Nothing would be impossible for them.
So what gives?
Small faith is not the issue here. I believe it has to do with who your small faith is in. Small faith in something other than Jesus will get you nowhere. But small faith in Jesus will move mountains.
So I think the disciples small faith stemmed from they did not believe they could heal the boy. They were looking to themselves to drive out the demon when they needed to rely on the Lord and His strength. So their unbelief kept them from seeing a miracle.
Oh how often I have done this! How it pains me to think of all the things I have missed out on seeing God do because my faith was in the wrong place.
We all struggle with unbelief.
But the key to having faith that moves mountains is our gaze, our focus, where we place our trust. Who are we trusting in to accomplish what is before us? Am I going to focus on my situation that looks impossible or am I going to choose to direct my focus on the Mover of Mountains?
So – where is your small faith? Is it in your abilities? Your gifts? Your talents? Your strength?
Is it in THE ONE who can truly move mountains. THE ONE who NOTHING is impossible? THE ONE who is for you and not against you?
Where is your struggle? Who are you going to choose to place your “small faith” in?
Let’s choose today to place it in the Mover of Mountains.