Matthew 17:14-20: When they (Jesus & the disciples) came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

'O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. 

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive the demon out?”

Jesus replied, “Because you have so little faith. 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."

 So how big is a mustard seed and how does that relate to our faith?

The mustard seed is only 1-2 millimeters or about 1/64th of an inch!! It is almost the smallest seed there is that grows into a tree. It doesn’t grow into a plant, as some people think. It grows into a tree and can grow up to 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide.

The mustard seed grows rapidly and brings about a very large harvest.

Some interesting facts about the mustard tree and how it can grow and thrive are:

  • Can grow in arid, dry climates.
  • In clay or sandy soil.
  • In hot, dry weather.
  • In cool, wet climates.
  • It is drought tolerant.
  • If it is cut down to the trunk, it can grow back again.
  • Even if a mustard seed is planted on top of another seed, it remains the same.  It doesn’t take on any of the characteristics of other seeds.

So what was Jesus saying about our faith? 

  • Jesus didn’t mean for us to have “little faith” but a faith that is resilient like a mustard tree. Unshakable.
  • We are able to withstand or recover from difficult conditions. 
  • We are unaffected by our negative surroundings. 
  • We don’t take on the characteristics of things around us but look to God and ask Him to help us become imitators of Him.
  • We are unwavering in our faith even if struck down by trials. The Bible says, we may get struck down but not destroyed.
  • With God’s help we can get up again - stronger in Christ - as we keep our eyes focused on Him.
  • God can take our “small faith” and cultivate it so we can grow into what He has planned for us.
  • God provides the good soil of His Word so we can grow and mature in our relationship with Him 
  • God empowers us as we draw our strength from Him. 
  • God grows our faith as we trust in Him and believe in Him and His Word.

God is saying that our faith will grow as we take Him at His Word and step out in faith with our mind and heart focused on Him. 

Look at this example of two blind men’s amazing faith in Jesus in Matthew  9: 28-29: 

Jesus asked the two blind men who came to Him asking for healing: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said: “Yes, Lord.” Then Jesus touched their eyes and said to them: “According to your faith let it be done to you.” And their sight was restored.

In Matthew 14, we see Peter having enough faith to get out of the boat and walk on the water with Jesus – until he took his eyes off the Lord when the wind began to rage! That’s when Peter became terrified!

When doubt and fear set in, Peter took his focus off the Lord and immediately he began to sink.

But when Peter called out to the Lord in faith and desperation, “Lord, save me!” IMMEDIATELY, Jesus reached out His hand and saved Peter!

Then Jesus asked Peter, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

When Jesus stepped back into the boat everything became calm.

From there Jesus and the disciples crossed over to land and when the men on land recognized Jesus, they sent word to the surrounding country and the people came.

Notice the level of faith the people had in Jesus’ power?  They came expecting!

It says the people brought ALL the sick to Jesus and they begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak to be healed. What faith!!!! And ALL who touched him were healed!

God can take us places we never thought were possible. 

But it is important that we don’t limit what God has for us by thinking we can’t do something God is asking us to do.

When we doubt God and His ability to empower us, we have just built a box that will limit us, crawled inside of it with the intention of calling it “our safe place” but in doing so, will miss out on all those things that God wants to do through us.

God will NEVER box us in or limit us.

Listen to the ridiculous box one man put himself in and tried to get others to crawl into with him.:

In 1899 the U.S. Patent Office almost closed because the commissioner, Charles Duell said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

What a ridiculous thought that was!

Where would we be today if everyone believed that statement and just stopped dreaming and imagining? 

As we look to the future and God begins to give us different ideas and plans that may be “outside the box,” we can’t crawl into the “box of fear” or any other box that can hold us back or that will limit what God wants for us.

When some of the spies saw GIANTS in the Promised Land, they were afraid to go in and take the land that God had promised them. They wanted to go back to Egypt and the cruel and unjust treatment and the oppression they were under. 

Look at the deception we can believe if we allow fear to control our thought process and mind!

But Caleb believed God and stood on His promise and said, "The Lord will bring us safely into the land and give it to us."

Can you see the power of God as Caleb refused to be boxed in, but rather to trust God and take him at his word?

The Lord is trying to grow our mustard seed faith into a huge 20 foot by 20 foot tree!