One of the most Used and ABUSED verses in the bible is the one above. A quick google search of memes and images shows the most common to be things like:
‘You must have the faith of a mustard seed’
‘If you have faith of a mustard seed you can move mountains’
‘ Nothing is impossible if you have faith of a mustard seed’
‘Watch it I have a Mustard Seed and I am not afraid to use it’
The question is are all these biblical? You are probably tired of saying CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT but we need to look at the context to find out.
One of the most amazing events in history has just happened the Transfiguration of Jesus Matthew 17:1-13. As they head down the mountain they are confronted by a man whose son was demon possessed Matthew 17:14-19 and some of the disciples had failed to heal.
Two things very relevant happen Jesus immediately heals the child and the Apostles question how come others (they) had failed. Previously Jesus had given authority to the Apostles Matthew 10:1 to cast out demons yet they fail here, why.
Jesus answers them in v.20 above basically saying ‘your faith was week and if it was stronger you could’ve moved mountains.’ Many modern preaching suggest that you can do ANYTHING if you just have enough Faith. Is that what He is really saying? A simple reading of most english translations of the bible seem to suggest this but delving deeper into the Word of God reveals much more.
When we consider any subject or in this case verse we must also look at the literary context. Do we really have mustard seeds in us no, is Jesus really (literally) the gate or door for the sheep John 10:7 of course not. Both are examples allegories to help us understand the concept of and true meaning of the content better.
Here as ALWAYS the focus is NOT on our individual or personal faith and how we execute it; but our Faith in God and how we execute what He is tasking us to do. I hope you can see the difference one the focus is on us the other on God. Only one is biblical!
He answered, – Jesus responds to the APostles question and they are not going to like the answer
“Because of your little faith [your lack of trust and confidence in the power of God]; – Lack of faith (some translation read unbelief which I disagree with) NOTE the focus of our Faith is God, the power in this case to heal was granted by Jesus and it still requires God.
for I assure you and most solemnly say to you, – Jesus declares to them in no uncertain terms
if you have [living] faith the size of a mustard seed, – If you will just focus your faith no matter it’s size. Here He uses the mustard seed as an example one of the smallest but most potent spice seed known.
you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’- Is Jesus really telling them they can miraculously move mountains? As easy as it is for man to revert to his human nature and go it alone, the answer is; NO! Again literary context applies, He is saying your faith can do really big things if applied correctly.
and [if it is God’s will] it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. – How is or how do we apply our faith correctly? Can we do all things? If we have enough Faith can all things be possible to us as some teach? NO; That is heresy!!! Jesus is saying if it is God’s will done in with God’s cooperation you can do things you thought impossible.
Having Faith is of course Important. It is the basis of Christianity, we need to believe we are sinners, in need of redemption, that salvation is in Christ alone by Grace alone through Faith alone.
But unlike these modern day prosperity and name it claim it preachers, the bible teaches that our Faith is not our own. By that i mean it is grounded in the solid foundation, the cornerstone of the church Christ Jesus. We are not ever to set out and exercise our faith by ourselves Hebrews 12:1-2. WE CAN NOT DO IT ALONE!!! No matter your calling, your degree, or motive, we need the triune God by our side to have the kind of faith that can move mountains and accomplish all things for HIS Glory, AMEN.