“Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew 17:19-20 (KJV)
All four gospels are chock-full of amazing wisdom imparted by Jesus, but some of the best advice for the Christian is found in Matthew 17. From this snippet of scripture, you can see the disciples are frustrated that they have come short in their “doing” and they are coming to the Master to find out what they were “doing” wrong. Jesus simply states that it is belief, or in this case, their unbelief.
If you notice, I keep putting quotation marks around the “doing” because in the book of James chapter 2 verses 14 to 26 he explains that works, aka the “doing,” brings about faith through works. Now let me quickly state the Bible does not teach that you can work yourself into the good graces of God or accomplish a walk with Christ by only working, but it takes the believer stepping out and putting his beliefs into action. If you will allow me, I will give you a good example from God’s Word.
A couple of chapters before our mustard seed text, in chapter 14 of Matthew, Jesus is seen miraculously feeding 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. To the disciples unbelief everyone there is fed and they even have 12 baskets of food left!
Although that example works, it is only a backdrop to the true example I want you to see. The 5,000 people are fed and then the Bible says immediately Jesus places the disciples in a boat and tells them to go across the water without him. As they approach the middle of the water, a storm begins to form and of course, it starts to toss the boat all around. Keep in mind Jesus is not there when all this starts, but out of nowhere he appears walking on top of the water. Yes, you read that right, he was on top of the water!
I cannot say I would be any different in my demeanor, but the disciples got scared because they could not figure out what this was coming across the water. Jesus, sensing their fear, yells out that it was he and Peter yelled right back, can I come out there? Being one of the big “doers” of the group, he jumps right out of the boat when Jesus said, “Come.” Those first few steps were great. He literally was walking on water, but then it happened.
His unbelief set in. This cannot be possible. The storm is raging, the water is rough, the wind is blowing, walking on water is impossible! Down he went, sinking into all of his unbelief. Matthew 14:31 says it best, “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
A good friend of mine often says doubts bring droughts. Dry periods in our lives that leave us feeling empty, maybe alone, and confused about our “doing.” The commercials on TV depict people needing a snickers, but the Bible says it is comes down to the M&Ms, the mustard seeds and the mountains.
You see, faith the size of the mustard seed looks at the seemingly unsurmountable mountains ahead of you and says; hey, you are in my way, move. It is the belief that God is truly for us and not against us. It is the belief that if God is for us, there is nothing else that can be against us. Friend it is taking your Bible, reading the words inside, and believing!
The writer of Hebrews in chapter 11 verses 1 to 3 says this, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of the things which do appear.”
I want to encourage you to evaluate your beliefs, the substance of things you are hoping for, and friend that evidence of things unseen are about the happen in your life. Hold the seed in your hand and watch the mountains move!
Rev. Ewell Vernon is pastor at Mountain View Baptist Church in Lowgap.