“Straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24). He recognized his unbelief and desired to grow in faith. Jesus’ disciples had to be told why they could not cast out the demon possessing this man’s son. Jesus said, “Because of your unbelief” (Matthew 17:20). But that was not all that Jesus instructed his disciples on this occasion. He continued, “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” (Matt 17:20). Therefore, there is “nothing impossible” for the faithful follower of Jesus. Why “faith as a grain of mustard seed?” The mustard seed is used proverbially for being among the smallest of seeds that grows into a tree. First, Jesus was rebuking their lack of faith. By saying they need to have “faith as a grain of mustard seed,” Jesus was implying that their faith was even smaller than the mustard seed. Second, Jesus was encouraging a faith that is alive and growing. The mustard seed begins small, but it grows into a large, beautiful, and flourishing tree. For this reason, Jesus used the mustard seed in a parable about the church (Matthew 13:31–32). How is our faith? Is it even as large as a mustard seed? Is it alive and growing? Jesus said, there is “nothing impossible” for His faithful followers. Next, did the disciples move mountains? There is no N.T. record in which Jesus and His disciples ever moved a literal mountain. This also was a proverbial phrase used to illustrate the great tasks accomplishable by a living and growing faith. Paul used it in discussing godly love (1 Corinthians 13:2). If needed in confirming God’s revelation, Jesus and His apostles certainly could have miraculously moved an actual mountain. However, the phrase was used figuratively, and its principle carries even into today when men are not given miraculous capabilities. The principle is this: With a living and growing faith, Christians can accomplish even the largest of spiritual responsibilities and tasks. There is “nothing impossible” for the faithful followers of Jesus. Jesus was constantly pointing his followers to spiritual things over physical things. Many may be tempted to think there is nothing impossible physically for followers of Jesus. This simply is not true. Even if I have a living and growing faith, it does not mean I will always have physical health, wealth, and well-being. However, I can have spiritual health, wealth, and well-being. Drug addicts can become clean. Murderers can find life. The sexually immoral can repent and refrain. Liars can learn the truth. In the church, the fatherless can have a spiritual family, the homeless can have a spiritual home, the diseased can be made well, spiritually. There is nothing spiritually impossible for what God has called upon Christians to do.
- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater
Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that
congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/