He said to them, “Because you have such little trust! Yes! I tell you that if you have trust as tiny as a mustard seed, you will be able to say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there!’ and it will move; indeed, nothing will be impossible for you!”
This is a difficult teaching. I feel like there is some missing element here. Yeshua adds to the situation with this particular demon that prayer and fasting were also needed to expel it. What does that mean? Does that mean he had been praying and fasting? Does that mean his disciples had not been praying and fasting? Were they not praying and fasting because of a lack of faith? As I read it, it wasn’t the man with the son who lacked faith, it was the disciples. I can’t imagine that there is a demon powerful enough that Yeshua himself would had to have been fasting at that time in order to be able to cast it out. Though that is possible. After all, he did bind himself to a fleshly body. Though he hafted for 40 days and nights like Moses, Moses was still a man and I’m sure he was sustained by grace. So where does that leave us? What was the real issue here? Why include the detail about fasting and prayer? I’m not sure. Perhaps a more scholarly exploration of this passage would reveal some greater truth. I am not yet the one to do that. I will move on to a different aspect of the passage, I am perhaps less qualified to speak on: the faith of a mustard seed.
Earlier I wrote about Joshua 17 and how the Josephites came to Joshua complaining about their lot in the Land of Israel. He encouraged them to put in the work to take it and make it to their satisfaction. In order to take it they would had to have enough trust and faith to make it happen. I get that. I know that certain things are hard, but with Heaven’s help, we can accomplish them. I don’t get this. How literal is Yeshua being here? Is there some Hebrew idiom that has to do with moving mountains? Passages like this scare me a little. I don’t know that I have that level of faith. I want to. I would love to be able to tell a mountain to move, but this little voice in me asks “Why would you need a mountain to move?” and I somewhat agree with that. Faith doesn’t make us Jedi or wizards. Perhaps Yeshua is specifically talking about doing works of the kingdom? If the point was literal, why wouldn’t he have moved the mountain?
One last point. The disciples were already casting out demons. They came to Yeshua with this one because they were having difficulty with it. Perhaps it really is as simple as the fact that they didn’t have enough faith. What is the difference between one demon and another if you are a tool in the Hand of the Almighty? There is no difference. Perhaps the lesson is this: If you can let go of your worries and trust in the path you are on, if you can keep doing the good things you are doing, you will be amazed by what you are able to accomplish.