A desperate father approached Jesus to heal his son from seizure and self-harm, desperate because the disciples were not able to do it. After Jesus released the man, the disciples came to Jesus privately asking, “why were we not able to release this man’s son from what was a demon?” Jesus’ response was, “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible” (Mt 17:20). This is one of the star verses on the capability of faith. But can I take your further?
When Jesus refers to the mountain, he had just descended from the Mt of Transfiguration, possibly Mt Tabor -no one really knows. This to say the mountain Jesus refers to is not just any ordinary mountain. It is the mountain where Jesus’ identity as a glorified man is revealed, where Moses and Elijah descended to discuss Jesus coming death and resurrection (Lk 9:31), and where the voice of God the Father speaks out of a cloud. All this to say the mountain Jesus is referring to, has huge spiritual significance. Considering Jesus’ reference to faith and this mountain, is he saying, operating in faith can shift spiritual agendas? We are talking about much more than transferring a massive amount of dirt. Is Jesus saying faith has the capability to alter the plan of God? It’s an idea, now we need proof, we need some a concrete example.
A woman approached Jesus from the Tyre-Sidon (modern Lebanon) region, approached Jesus asking him to deliver her daughter from a tormenting demon. Jesus at first ignored her until his disciples acting as minders and urged Jesus to send her away. ‘Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel”’ (Mt 15:24). Jesus was in effect saying, “you are outside my area of mission. At this time God has sent me to focus on Israel. You aren’t from Israel.” The statement did nothing to deter her. Jesus then uses a metaphor to get the point across, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs” (Mt 15:26). The woman knew exactly what Jesus was saying and responded in kind, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table” (Mt 15:27).
The results were catastrophically good, her daughter was healed instantly (Mt 15:28). Why? The woman exercised mountain moving faith. Jesus responded to her, “Dear woman … your faith is great. Your request is granted.” The woman operating in faith shifted the agenda of God. Do we understand the immense capability of faith? Do we, do I, understand the potential God has invested in humanity to influence his will?