Most Christians have heard about “mustard-seed faith,” but it is rare that we really understand what Jesus is saying.
Jesus’ words here are in response to a question. A demand really. The disciples had just heard Jesus talk about doing the impossible… forgiving people that don’t really seem to be sorry for what they have done.
Their response is quite natural… “We can’t do that. We don’t really want to do that. So, Lord… if that’s what you are wanting us to do, then… Increase our faith!”
But Jesus’ answer is shocking. His solution is not MORE of the ineffective faith that you already have… but to possess even the tiniest amount of the genuine thing.
Jesus’ solution to our impossibilities is to approach those things with a genuine faith. With the very faith that God Himself possesses.
That is exactly what God is offering to those who have devoted themselves to Him… the things that He Himself possesses. We are brought into God’s Household so that God can impart what He has to us. We are Family now. We belong to Him. We are to represent Him… and we can’t do that in our human ingenuity or resources. We must have what God has. And that is exactly what He is offering to us… IN Christ.
Most of Jesus’ teachings are a study in contrasts. “This is the way the world views things and does things… BUT here is the way things are viewed and done in the Kingdom of God. Live this way. Think this way. Because that’s why I came… to bring a whole bunch of brothers and sisters into the King’s Household… and into His way of seeing things and doing things.”
The answer to our lack in life is not MORE of what doesn’t work – but to apply even the smallest portion of what does work. God’s faith always works. God’s faith is genuine faith – and it is the gift He graciously gives to those who will abandon their hearts to Him.
The mustard seed is not just one of the smallest seeds in the plant world… the point is that its size belies what it produces. From such a tiny seed comes a tree that even the birds of the air can build their nests. The picture that Jesus gives is unmistakable. Apply the genuine thing… and something bigger than we would think, happens. He tells us plainly, that with genuine faith, nothing will be impossible for us!
That is why God is committed to genuine faith in all of us. The world (and the Church!) has seen enough of non-genuine faith… and the meager results it “produces” in our lives.
God is serious about bringing the Kingdom to this earth… and He will do it through people who have even the tiniest bit of the genuine thing.