Matthew 17:19, 20 - Mountain Moving Faith.
Matthew 17:19, 20 - Mountain Moving Faith.
Matthew 17:19-20 (NKJV) Then the disciples came to Jesus
privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" 20 So Jesus said to
them, "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
Matthew 17:19-20 (TNIV) Then the disciples came to Jesus in
private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" 20 He replied,
"Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, 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 17:19-20 (CWR) Later, when the disciples were alone-
with Jesus, they asked, "Why couldn't we cast out the demon from
him?" 20 Jesus answered, "You had too much faith in yourselves and too
little faith in God. If you had true faith, even as small as a mustard
seed, you'd be able to say to this nearby mountain, 'Out of my way!'
and it would move. I'm saying this to tell you that there's no
problem too big for God.
When the disciples failed to heal the boy, Jesus pointed to
their lack of faith as the problem. But Jesus did not demand an
extraordinarily large amount of faith; he described the amount of faith he had
in mind. It was the size of a mustard seed-very small and quite
attainable by all his disciples. But faith is not a physical quantity, so
the essence of Jesus' response is that success comes not from the
amount of a believer's faith but from the fact that he has even the
smallest amount of true faith and wholly relies upon the power of God.
[New Bible Companion]
The disciples were unable to drive out this demon, and they
asked Jesus why. He pointed to their lack of faith. It is the power of
God, not our faith, that moves mountains, but faith must be present
to do so. The mustard seed was the smallest particle imaginable.
Even small or undeveloped faith would have been sufficient. Perhaps
the disciples had tried to drive out the demon with their own
ability rather than God's. There is great power in even a little faith
when God is with us. If we feel weak or powerless as Christians, we
should examine our faith, making sure we are trusting not in our own
abilities to produce results, but in God's. [Life Application SB]
When Jesus returned to the valley, He found the nine
disciples left behind had tried to heal an epileptic boy and failed.
Jesus healed the boy, and rebuked His disciples for their
"little faith" (v. 20). The Greek word, oligopistia, is better
understood as poor or defective faith. A number of failures of the
disciples' faith are mentioned in this section of Matthew (14:26-31; 15:16,
23, 33; 16:5, 22; 17:4, 10-11). It was not the size of the faith,
but a flaw in the faith that was to blame.
How do we know this? Because immediately Jesus said that
"faith as small as a mustard seed" can move mountains! (v. 20)
What then was the flaw? Here the flaw was in the object of
the disciples' faith: "Why couldn't we drive it out?" The disciples
had begun to trust the power Jesus had earlier given them, and to
think of it as their own. Actually any power they had, flowed from
Jesus, and Him alone.
This is actually an encouraging story for us. Often we
hesitate to reach out to help others, dreadfully aware of our
inadequacies. It's then we need to remember that our faith is in Jesus, not in
our own strengths or resources. The flawed faith of the disciples
serves as a reminder that even mustard-seed sized faith in Christ is
enough to work miracles! [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
The disciples were unable to cast out this demon - or any
other demon - so long as they were depending upon their own strength.
The disciples had lost sight of Jesus. They had spent the
night grumbling because they were left behind at the foot of the
mountain, and feeling jealous at the thought of what they might be
missing. There wasn't a demon in all of Satan's hosts that they could
have overpowered in that condition!
Which brings us once again to the day-by-day relationship
with God. It is through fellowship with Him, through prayer and the
study of His Word, that we come to depend upon His power instead of
upon our own.
For Jesus, nothing was more important than His communion with
His Father. He gained strength through the time He spent alone with
God, just as we must do. [The Answer is Prayer by Venden]
In effect He said to them, "You don't live close enough to
God." They had been equipped with power, but it needed prayer to keep
and to maintain that power.
There is a deep lesson for us here. God may have given us
some gift, but unless we maintain close contact with him that gift
may wither and die.
The disciples had been equipped with power direct from Jesus
Himself, but they had not nurtured power with prayer, and power had
vanished. Whatever gifts God has given us, we lose them when we use them
for ourselves. We keep them when we enrich them by continual
contact with the God who gave them. . [Barclay Commentary]
According to this verse, having faith is critical to getting
things accomplished. Now, none of us probably needs to move mountains,
but all of us need the kind of faith that could! And to pray
without faith is pointless. So where do we get the mountain-moving
faith that we need to be effective prayers? Romans 10:17 tells us
that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. As we
read the Word and bring it to bear upon our lives, we will grow in
grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which is faith-producing.
Then as we seek His will, in His way, in His time, which is all that
we will want, our prayers will be answered - even to the moving of
something as great as a mountain! [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom]
Don't spend a lot of time describing your mountain to the Lord.
He knows what it is. Instead, focus your attention on the mountain
mover - his glory, power and faithfulness. Then start walking in
faith, following his leading, and watch that mountain step aside.
[Bill Hybels; Time with God devotional SB]
Did you know that an average-sized aspirin bottle holds more
than 180,000 mustard seeds? One of those miniscule seeds, when
planted in fertile soil, can produce a ten-foot bush within three
months! How many times have we faced mountains and felt that our faith
was small and insufficient? We might have asked ourselves how God
could remove a mountain in light of the fact that our faith is so
inadequate. Perhaps we've even considered surrendering to the circumstances
that stand in our way.
When the disciples felt the sting of failure over their
inability to heal the boy in today's reading, Jesus directed them to place
their faith--no matter how small--in him rather than in their own
The mustard seed is a reminder to walk to the base of the
mountain hand in hand with the all-powerful God. It is a tangible symbol
that it is not your strength that will move the mountain; rather, it
is the God in whom you place your faith that can move a mountain
out of your way.
GOD, the mountain of my circumstances seems so large, yet
when I look to you as the source of my strength, it becomes
insignificant. My faith seems small, yet when I place it in your hands, it can
produce a greater harvest than I could ever imagine. Lord, take my tiny
seed of faith, and multiply it with your strength, wisdom, and
guidance. Thank you for assuring my heart that nothing is impossible with
you. [Praying Through The Bible By Fuller]
For many months the huge ship had been under construction by
the bay of the small New England town. Now she was finished and
ready to launch. Her deck was polished and gleaming. The crew in their
starched white uniforms stood at the rail and saluted as her flags were
raised to the top of the mast. The entire city had gathered on the dock
to see the ship slide down the slip into the bay.
At the moment of the scheduled launch, the giant blocks were
removed, and the people collectively held their breath ... but nothing
happened. The big ship did not move. No one could figure out what to do.
The captain scratched his head, and the crew remained at attention.
Still, for several minutes the ship did not budge.
Finally, from the middle of the crowd, a little boy escaped
from his mother and ran down the dock. When he reached the ship, he
put his tiny hand on the bow of the massive ship. Then he gave it a
push with all the might his little body could muster.
Of course, all the people laughed at the comical sight. The
idea of a small boy pushing a ship as big as a city was ludicrous.
But the whole crowd suddenly stopped laughing as the huge ship
groaned and slowly began to slide down the slip. When it splashed into
the bay, a mighty cheer went up - not for the ship but for the
little boy who had given it a push.
Like that small boy, we can move mountains if we have faith.
God promised we could, and he does not lie. Believe it!
Father, thank you for your promise. Please help me to believe
that with your help I can accomplish great things for you in my life.
Increase my faith, Father. Amen. The One Year Devotional of Joy and
Laughter by Mary Hollingsworth]
A Faith That Makes Nothing Impossible. It is faith that connects
us with heaven, and brings us strength for coping with the powers
of darkness. ... Faith must be strengthened by fervent prayer and
fasting, and humiliation of heart. It must be emptied of self, and be
filled with the Spirit and power of God. Earnest, persevering
supplication unreserved consecration to His work - can alone avail to bring
men the Holy Spirit's aid in the battle against principalities and
powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and wicked spirits in
high places. DA431
Jesus gave His disciples the power to cast out demons and to
perform miracles of healing (Mt 10:8). He gave them His authority to
minister to people, yet they became so self-centered that they lost the
power to do the work of God. When God sent a father with his epileptic
son to them for healing, they failed miserably. They were so
concerned with position and status (Mk 9:32-35) that they lost their focus
on what God wanted to do through them.
Jesus' response to His disciples included some of the
harshest words ever to come from His mouth. He called His own disciples
"unbelieving" and "perverse" and questioned how much longer He had to endure
them! Why? Because they were supposed to be on mission with Him to
bring salvation to others, but they had become so disoriented to Him
that they were spiritually powerless, lacking the faith to bring
physical and spiritual comfort to those God had sent to them.
God ought to be able to send a hurting person to any child of
His and expect that they will be helped. Like the disciples, we can
become so preoccupied with our own ambitions and distracted by the
busyness of our lives that we become ineffective in ministering to those
whom God sends to us. It is even possible to become so involved in
religious activity that we are of no help to anyone. Regularly take
inventory of your life to see if you are being a faithful steward of every
life God sends to you. [Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry and
Richard Blackaby re Mat. 17:16, 17]
The people of Israel, because of faithlessness, were unable to
enter the kingdom. And the disciples, who had entered the kingdom
through recognition of the King, were unable to experience kingdom power
for the same fault: faulty faith. To enter the kingdom, and to live
victoriously in it, faith is required. [Victor Teacher's Commentary]
Faith brings us into right relationship with God and gives God
His opportunity. [Chambers, Oswald, My Utmost for His Highest]
Real religion is to draw strength from God in order to give it
to others. Real religion involves both meeting God in the secret
place and men in the market place. [Barclay Commentary]
Faith is to prayer what the feather is to the arrow; without
faith it will not hit the mark. J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)
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