“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 for you.” (Matthew 17:19-20)
Here we are told that even Faith that is as small as a mustard seed is Faith powerful enough for us to say to our Mountains, “Move from here to there,” and they will move.
The disciples already recognized how small a mustard seed was (Mt 13:32). Ancient peoples thought of mountains as rooted far beneath the earth so “moving mountains” was a typical Jewish teacher’s image for doing what was virtually impossible. David moved a mountain of a man named Goliath with a stone cast in faith. God could have knocked the big galoot over with a feather if he wanted to. The point here is that many of us are living far below our privileges in God because we are only scratching the surface of our faith.
Jesus here is certainly referring to a literal mountain, (perhaps the Mount of Transfiguration) and it is my personal belief that if the Holy Spirit gives you a personal word (a Rhema) to do the impossible you can do it; you can literally move a mountain. God is a God of miracles. And “what is impossible with man ius possible with God.”
On the other side of the same coin I believe that it may also refer to humanly impossible situations in our lives that tower over us like giant mountains. We do not have the human strength to scale them; we do not have the ability to tunnel through them. The only answer is that they must be removed.
In Matthew 21 we are told about the time Jesus cursed a tree and caused it to immediately wither. And then Christ says,
(Mat 21:21) … “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.”
In another place Jesus says,
(Luke 17:6) “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”
The mulberry tree is a very deep-rooted tree and next to impossible to move. And, in our passage Jesus says
(Mat 17:20) … “I tell you the truth, 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.”
However, faith like a mustard seed can remove them. God wants us to believe that His promises are bigger than all our problems bigger than all our needs. God is bigger than death and debt and disease and disabilities and despair, bigger than broken relationships, bigger than a dysfunctional family, bigger than alcoholism and hopelessly wayward children. Jesus is telling us here that true faith can move and overcome all such difficulties. Brick walls can look like immoveable mountains, but faith in the power of God can make the impossible possible.
Yes! Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. Faith the size of a mustard seed is not great faith. A tiny mustard seed grows into a towering bush of ten or twelve feet high. Likewise, a tiny faith can work great things. A big faith is not needed. God does not give big promises to those of big faith, medium promises to those of medium faith, small promises to those of small faith, and teensy promises to those of teensy faith. The biggest promise can be claimed by those with the teeniest faith. It is NOT a question of big or small faith; it is NOT a question of more or less faith; it is NOT a question of deep or shallow faith; it is a question of faith or unbelief. It is NOT a question of mature or immature faith; it is NOT a question of rock solid faith or a faith filled with doubts; it is a question of faith or unbelief. If only there is true faith its quantity or quality is irrelevant. True faith, however small, can wither trees, uproot trees, and move mountains. If you believe in Jesus, says our text, “Nothing will be impossible for you.”
What we need is faith in the promises of a great God.
Speak to your mountain right now and tell it to move from here to there.
As Jesus the Christ also says: “Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23, NIV).