How many times have we read or heard sermons on Matthew 17:20? Right after the disciples were brought a child whom they could not release from the power of Satan, Jesus cast the demon out. The disciples then asked why they were unable to help the boy. Jesus' answer came in verse twenty. "Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, 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."
The common expositions on these words of Jesus have long bothered me. In Bible studies or sermons, mustard seed faith often becomes, "If YOU have faith as a grain of mustard seed then YOU can move mountains," but Jesus never said that. Jesus said if you have faith as a grain of mustard you can say to a mountain "remove" and it will be removed. What is the emphasis here? Is it on having faith enough to watch a mountain quake? No! It is on having faith in the One who could shift that landmass by its roots!
The disciples surely had faith in their own abilities to say the right words or pray the right prayer over the boy - hence the question to Christ as to why they were unable to do so. Faith in their own ability, however, didn't matter. It was faith in Christ and Him alone which would make the difference. It was not just "having faith," but having it in the One who could move those mountains!
It is no wonder Christ said only a mustard seed of faith would accomplish such grand and glorious objectives - look at who that seed of faith is to be placed in! It is to be placed in God Almighty! It is to be placed in the Creator of the heavens and earth, the mover of mountains, our Sovereign Lord and Savior of all humanity! Of course a mustard seed of faith in Him could move mountains! He is SO vastly great that the smallest amount of faith in Him could shake the world! Look at what He has done through faith in Him: He has healed countless people, restored sight, made whole the broken, cleansed leprosy, conquered sin and death, and restored countless sinners unto salvation and a relationship with Him for all eternity!
Mustard seed faith has absolutely nothing to do with us and everything to do with the One through whom all things are made possible! It is through faith in Christ that we are restored, made whole, and caused to become sons of God, joint heirs with Christ. It is through faith in Christ that we are made free from the bonds of sin and death, raised to new life with Him. It is through faith in Christ that we are lead and guided and directed to live out His will for our lives. It is through faith in Christ that mountains will be moved and obstacles destroyed -because when that mustard seed faith is placed in the Lord on High, all things truly are possible.