There are two key aspects that we need to practice the mustard seed faith. First, let’s go to Mark 9:14 – 29 to see what they are.
Jesus and Peter, James and John are coming down from the mountain after the glorious transfiguration of Jesus. The 9 other disciples were at the foot of the mountain trying to chase a demon from a young boy.
Jesus enquires why the heated discussion is taking place, and his immediate response reveals it is a matter of faith or rather a lack of it. In verse 19, Jesus says, “You unbelieving generation,” ….. How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
Jesus reveals that the inability to heal the young boy was due to the people’s lack of faith, both the father and the disciples. What did they lack? Why were they not able to deliver the boy from the clutches of the devil? How could we bring deliverance in our lives and in the lives of others around us? What does mustard seed-like faith mean? Could we do it today?
The two key aspects that Jesus reveals in this incident demonstrate how a mustard seed-like faith may be deployed. Jesus divulges that by acknowledging that He is God and taking the necessary action, one can realize the power of God in their lives.
Let’s dive a little bit deeper and see how Jesus does these two things.
Jesus is God
The father of the young boy is desperate for deliverance. He had tried everything that he could do, and they have come to Jesus as their last hope. How is that today? How many times do you go to God as the last option? You have tried everything you could do in your own strength and exhausted every available opportunity you could access, and then you think about Jesus when all your hope is gone.
In verse 22, the father says, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” The father’s hopelessness is revealed in this statement. He does not realize what Jesus can do for his son. First, he is disappointed that the disciples could not heal his son, and now, his doubts are even louder in his mind. He must have thought that his family is cursed, and all the worse rumors that he had heard from his neighbors and the community are accurate. His family is cursed for some great sin that they had committed.
How often have we felt the same way? Desperate to know why we have to undergo this situation and if there will be any deliverance.
Jesus corrects the father immediately and reveals the first fundamental principle. In verse 23, Jesus says, “‘If you can’?”, “Everything is possible for one who believes.” It is not about if Jesus can do anything in this situation, It is about you. Do you believe that Jesus can do it for you? Jesus says that we need to be confident that God is all-powerful and nothing is impossible for Him.
Trust in God’s ability is the first step that one needs to demonstrate mustard seed faith. Peter and John do that in the temple to the lame man. They said, “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” The name of Jesus is capable of doing all things because Jesus is God.
After the healing, Jesus and his disciples are alone in the house, and the disciples want some feedback from Jesus. First, they wanted to know why they could not perform the miracle for the young boy.
Here Jesus reveals the following principle in mustard seed faith. In verse 29, He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” In some manuscripts, you read “only by fasting and prayer.” So it is that one needs to take action to demonstrate the faith they claim to have. One cannot sit still and expect that everything will fall in place just because they have prayed.
The lame man in the case of Peter and John had to rise up on his feet to see if he was healed, he had to jump for joy and claim that he was lame, but now he is healed in Jesus’ name.
When Jesus said that “Everything is possible for one who believes.” He meant that one need not look for outward evidence of the miracle that one is seeking. Instead, we need to go about our work believing that we already possess the solution that we seek, and it will be revealed to us in due time.
Paul defines faith succinctly in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Even though you have not seen the evidence for it, you know it will come to pass as you know that you depend on the omnipotent God to give it to you.
How should we respond to this? The father of the boy had the perfect response. He was candid about how he felt and did not seek to hide his thoughts. In verse 24, we read, Immediately, the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Overcoming our unbelief is not going to be easy. We have been educated to keep our rational mind sharp, but to implement the mustard-seed faith, we need to think like a child and hope like one. Even though we don’t see any evidence of it, we should bring ourselves to know that it will come to pass at the appointed time.
When a farmer plants the seeds, he does not have any evidence that shows that he will have a bountiful harvest, but the farmer believes that he will have one. He waters the ground, knowing that the seed will sprout any day and grow and yield a plentiful harvest. Why should we think any differently? What are you seeking from God today? As you go about your day today, praise Him for granting your request. He is willing and able to do for you more than you can imagine.
All glory be to God!