MATTHEW 17:18-20: “And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Faith is one of the most important elements of our Christian life, and also one of the most misunderstood. Hebrews 11:6 emphatically states – “Without faith it’s impossible to please God…” Jesus many times during His ministry rebuked His disciples for their “little faith”. So we naturally conclude that the answer is “more faith”. But, is this what Jesus meant when He said – “…Because of your little faith.”
To be honest, I still wrestle with this daily. I want to walk a balanced walk of faith that maintains a solid position in God’s Grace and does not move into a life of “works”, thereby returning to the Law from which we have been set free. So what did Jesus mean when He rebuked the disciples for their “little faith”. We gain some insight when we look at the example Jesus gave the disciples.
Jesus said, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed…” A mustard seed was one of the smallest seeds known. Yet, it could grow into a very large tree. Jesus was not focusing on a “work” that His disciples were called to do to increase their faith, but He was calling them to a “revelation” of the Kingdom. The issue they had faced and failed in was a Kingdom confrontation. It was the Kingdom of Light (Jesus) in direct opposition to the kingdom of darkness (demon possession of the boy). It was not a matter of working up their faith, but in understanding their faith. It was a call to “revelation”.
Jesus shows them the power of the Kingdom by using a “hyperbole”, a teaching method which uses extreme exaggeration to make a point. In essence Jesus was saying – “If you had the smallest amount of faith in the Kingdom, you could move the largest mountain in this kingdom.” It was not about them, it was all about the Kingdom of God. They did not yet fully understand that so they failed when they prayed for the boy. Jesus on the other hand recognized the Kingdom dimension of the confrontation and with a simple word cast out the demon and the boy was healed.
Not every confrontation involves a demon. Yet every difficulty we face in life originates between the struggle of two kingdoms. We have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of Light. We need to pray for revelation of the power of the Kingdom in and through our lives. We can not “work it up”, it can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God. Lord, open my eyes to see the power and potential of Your Kingdom in every situation I face, and seeing – may I believe! Lord increase my faith through Your revelation. In Jesus Name!