Mustard Seed Faith

From seed to tree

From seed to tree

For those of us who have grown up around faith talk we have heard a thousand times that if we have faith the size of a mustard see that we can move mountains. Not only is that a teaching not supported by any other scripture, but it is a misquote.

Jesus said in Matthew 17: 20 ” . . . I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Move from her to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

The down side is that there are a few translations which translate this to say “the size of” or “as small as.” And yet, in the original text it is a comparative.

Allow me to explain.

1. In Matthew 6:30 Jesus chides the disciples for having little faith.

2. In Matthew 8:26 Jesus scolds the disciples for fearing the storm and having little faith.

3. In Matthew 14:31 Jesus tagged Peter as having little faith when he began to sink on the water.

4. In Matthew 16:8 it happens again.

Now on the other hand Jesus praises several individuals for having great faith; the Centurion in Matthew 8:10 and the gentile woman in Matthew 15:28.

So, if Jesus is not referring to the size of the mustard seed then what is He referring to? We find the answer in Matthew 13:31-32. The mustard seed one of the smallest of all seeds and yet when it grows it is as big as a tree. The mustard plant in Israel will grow to 6 to 9 feet tall within 6 months.

With that information we can better understand that Jesus was saying that faith, like that of a mustard see, can move a mountain. For the mustard seed understands that it may be the smallest yet it will be great. It is growing faith!

Feel free to leave your comments or insights.


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