Faith to Move Mountains Matthew 17:14-20 This is a modern view of Mt. Tabor. It is thought by some to be the “high mountain” on which the Transfiguration took place, cf. Matt.17:1ff
What does “Faith to Move Mountains” mean? As always, understand a word or phrase within its biblical contextfirst. • Jesus is speaking to “the disciples”- more specifically, the Twelve to whom He had given power to perform miracles, cp. vv.16,19 > 10:1. • Such power was neither promised nor given to allwho followed Jesus. Even at Pentecost, the ability to perform miracles was not given to everyone, cp. Acts 1:13,15-26 > 2:1-4(not the 120, but the Twelve). • After Pentecost, only those on whom the Twelve Apostles laid their hands could perform miracles- but even these could not pass on the gift(s), cf. Acts 8:18ff.
What does “Faith to Move Mountains” mean? So…. • Unless you are one of the original Twelve Apostles according to Acts 1:21-22; or • Have had one of the original Twelve Apostles lay their hands on you to impart the ability to perform miracles, • Neither you nor I can perform miracles regardless of how much faith we have! • Jesus was not speaking to or about us- He was speaking to and about the Twelve in Matt.17:20.
What does “Faith to Move Mountains” mean? Therefore, • We probably shouldn’t quote this verse in motivational speeches to kids today; or • Apply it to ourselves implying that we can perform miraculous feats if we just have enough faith. But, there are lessons (besides these) that I’d like us to consider from this text. Just because it is not ours to perform miracles, it does not follow that our faith is powerless, cf. Heb.11:37-40; 1John 5:14.
Where, then, is the power of our faith? It could be hidden (or overshadowed) by: • Doubt; Jas.1:5-8 > Matt.19:25-26. • Self-Reliance; Luke 18:9-14> Rom.9:16 > Matt.6:25-34. • Lack of Growth; Question: did the faith of the Twelve grow from the time of Mt.17:20? • Had it grown in Acts 2:14ff? In Acts 5:29? In Acts 8:1-3? In Acts 12:1-4? • The point is that the Twelve’s faith grew tremendously from the time of Mt.17:20; and this growth enabled them to be faithfully courageous. • The growth of your faith will enable you to be faithfully courageous as well, cp. 2Cor.12:7-10.
The Conclusions are simple: Your faith nor mine, no matter how strong, was ever promised to be able to “move (physical, literal)mountains.” But it will enable us to do everything we need to do to go to heaven, and help others do likewise, if: • We won’t cover it with doubt; • We won’t replace it with self-reliance; or • We won’t choke it with lack of growth!