Focus: Mountain moving faith
Matthew 17:20b (NKJV) …For assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
The twelve disciples were so human. They were just like you and me. Their faith represented your faith and mine in the stories told throughout the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The questions they asked and the things they thought were important and valid in their days—just as they are today.
The disciples had a desire to follow Jesus and do what He did…just like little children who try to walk in the shoes of their parents. When children try to put on their parent’s shoes it’s almost inevitable that they will fall, but when they do, they keep getting back up and trying again. The disciples were no different. They wanted Jesus to be proud of them and to notice their good accomplishments. They didn’t enjoy looking like failures and neither do we.
In Matthew 17, Jesus was approached by a man whose son was suffering from terrible seizures. These episodes caused the child to repeatedly throw himself into fire and water. The boy must have been covered with sores and scars as a result.
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In the Bible, the father of this poor soul comes to Jesus asking Him to have mercy on his son. The man tells Jesus that he took his child to the disciples and asked them to heal him. We aren’t told what method the disciples used, or any of the details. All we know is that they failed because the boy still wasn’t cured.
Most of the time Jesus shows patience and understanding for the human weaknesses in His disciples, but this time, He seems to be tired of the fact that people—and His disciples—are not capable of doing things which He considers ‘elementary’, relating to faith issues. In this passage, Jesus seems irritated at His disciple’s lack of faith and inability to grasp how faith works. When He hears that the disciples couldn’t heal the man’s child, He says, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.”
Jesus proceeds to rebuke the demon who had taken up residence in the boy. The Bible says, “it came out of the child immediately, and the boy was healed from that very hour.” (Matthew 17:18 NKJV)
Of course the disciples felt like fools as they took Jesus aside and asked Him privately, “Why couldn’t we cast it out?” Jesus didn’t sugar coat the truth. He told the disciples, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here—to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind (of demon) does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:20-21 NKJV)
Jesus spent a lot of time praying and fasting, but obviously His disciples weren’t following His lead. They liked the ‘show’, but they must not have been doing their part by staying in a proper place of preparation for ministry. So, when the opportunity came for them to exercise the great faith they should have had by now—they fell flat.
That’s all there is to the story—just a few short paragraphs telling us a humble little message we can relate to and learn from. We might think the disciples weren’t very bright, but this story wasn’t told to bring shame on them—it was told to bring new strength and stronger faith to all of us, because we are just like the twelve in so many ways. The areas they failed in—we fail in, too.
At this moment, you might be facing a ‘big thing’ that is taking almost all of your attention. It may not be made of stone, but it is none-the-less a mountain in your mind. As impossible as it seems right now, your faith has the power to make your mountain move, according to the Word of God.
Maybe at this point, Jesus is saying a few things you should ponder. When the disciples asked Jesus why they hadn’t been able to heal the man’s son, the first reason Jesus gave the disciples, was ‘because of their unbelief.’ He quickly adds that their faith should have motivated them to ‘speak to the problem and tell it to go.’ He also mentioned that prayer and fasting would have boosted their faith in the situation where they failed.
So, faith performs when we believe, speak, fast, and pray. Have you done all of those things concerning your mountain? If you haven’t, then you should. If you have, then ‘stand’ (Ephesians 6:13).
Declaration: I will take more responsibility for my ‘mountains’ and approach my problems with faith. I will see miracles and find new strength as I believe, speak, fast, pray and stand.
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