Is ‘More’ Faith the Answer?

The Parable of the Mustard Seed is one of the shorter parables of Jesus. It appears in Matthew (13:31–32), Mark (4:30–32), and Luke (13:18–19).

In the accounts recounted in both Matthew and Luke, the disciples long for more faith. ‘Then‘ they could do great things for God. ‘Then‘ they could cast out demons. ‘Then’ they could forgive a brother or sister who’s especially annoying.

Jesus tells them they don’t need great faith; they need just a little faith. He clearly speaks of a small amount of faith and compares it to the mustard seed which was the smallest seed known in his day.

  • We’re prone to think if we just had more faith, ‘then’ God could do amazing things through us.
  • But Jesus tells us something quite astonishing. The issue isn’t whether we are full of faith but whether we have any faith.
  • If we have the smallest amount of faith, God works on our behalf. Jesus stops his disciples short and asks them: Do you believe in me at all? Do you trust God at all?

Why is Jesus’s answer encouraging? Because we don’t get caught in the morass of thinking about whether we have enough faith. When facing a given situation, we call out to God to give us faith—no matter how small.

A small amount of faith is sufficient because the focus is not on our faith but its object.

Why is it true that mustard seed faith can move mountains and uproot mulberry trees? Jesus plainly tells us. It isn’t because of the quantity of our faith but the object of our faith.

If our faith is in God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, then it has a great effect.

Our faith makes a difference not because it is so great but because God is so great, because He is the sovereign one who rules over all things. Our faith doesn’t thrive when we think about how much faith we have; it springs up when we behold our God—when we see Jesus as the One crucified and risen for us.

Still, we have questions about this verse? Does our mustard seed faith move mountains and uproot mulberry trees? Do we see this happen today? Are prosperity preachers right in saying that if we had more faith, we wouldn’t get sick and would enjoy the riches of this world?

  • It’s critical to note Jesus is using an illustration. He’s not literally talking about moving mountains and uprooting trees. There’s no example in Scripture of mountains disappearing because someone had faith.
  • Jesus is teaching that stunning things happen if we have faith. The question is, what kind of stunning things should we expect?

Here we must take into account the entire Bible. The old saying is correct: a verse without a context is a pretext. We can’t just pluck any verse in the Bible and apply to our lives without considering how it relates to the sweep of Scripture as a whole.

Excerpts taken from online by: Thomas Schreiner|thegospelcoalition.org|Faith that Encourages | 11.22.16


How’s your faith?

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

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