Why Are You so Fearful & Lack Faith?

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. More specifically today’s passages begins with the thirtieth verse of the fourth chapter and continues through to the twentieth verse of the fifth chapter. “And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard see, which when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it growth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it. And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without parable spake he not unto them: And when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples” (Mark 4:30-34).

 

            “And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:35-41).

 

            “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediatelyl there met out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, whoc had his dwelling among the tombs; and. No man could bind him, no, not with chains: because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asundery by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure the by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country” (Mark 5:1-10).

 

 

            “Now there was nigh unto the mountain a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. And when he was come into the s hip, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home o thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him; and all men did marvel” (Mark 5:11-20).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find a parable, an encounter upon the sea and an encounter on the shoreline. It is actually quite astonishing to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for as you begin reading it you will find Jesus teaching another parable concerning the kingdom of God. The parable which you will find the Lord Jesus teaching concerning the kingdom of God is that it was like a grain of mustard seed, which when it was sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: but when it is down, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs and shoots out great branches. In all reality I am absolutely convinced this parable is not only pertaining to the kingdom of God but it is also one that centers upon the manifestation and reality of faith within the hearts and lives of the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words found in this parable that while the Lord Jesus taught the parable concerning the kingdom of God being like a grain of mustard seed He wasn’t just teaching the truth that the kingdom of God was like unto a mustard seed but also how faith itself was likened unto a mustard seed. What’s more is I firmly believe the words which are present in this passage of Scripture are directly linked to that which is found in the final verses which also deal exclusively and specifically with faith. As the disciples were present upon the sea in the midst of the storm Jesus would speak directly to them after speaking to the wind, the waves and the sea commanding “Peace be still.”

 

            As you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus teaching a parable concerning the kingdom of God and how it is as a grain of mustard seed which is the smallest of all seeds and grains. The parable would continue with the Lord Jesus describing as this seed—when it was sown in the earth—is less than all the seeds which are in the earth but how when it was sown it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs and shoots out great branches. What makes this parable so incredibly intriguing when you think about it is how it not only ties into the encounter in the midst of the sea but also another parable which the Lord Jesus spoke concerning faith. There is not a doubt in my mind that this parable which the Lord Jesus taught and spoke was not only meant to teach concerning the kingdom of God but it was also meant to teach concerning faith. I do not believe it is any coincidence that when you continue reading this passage of Scripture you will find there on the midst of the sea after Jesus had commanded the wind and the waves to be still and at peace He would ask them two very important questions. The first question the Lord Jesus would ask His disciples was one which for many is at the very heart of why they lack faith within their lives. The question the Lord Jesus asked His disciples after speaking to the wind and the waves and calming them down was why they were so fearful. The second question is one which I am absolutely convinced is intrinsically linked and connected to that of fear within their hearts and souls. The second question the Lord Jesus asked them was how they could have not faith—a question which I am absolutely convinced He continues to ask many of His disciples today in this generation.

 

            It would be very easy to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and consider the parable the Lord Jesus taught to be concerning the kingdom of God alone without and apart from faith. The truth of the matter, however, is I firmly believe that this parable is about so much more than the kingdom of God. I believe this parable strikes at the very heart of one of the core tenets and realities of the kingdom of God—namely that of faith. There is not a doubt within my mind that we cannot talk and speak concerning the kingdom of God without at the same time talking and speaking concerning the kingdom of God. What’s more is I would dare say that if we want to speak about the kingdom of God we must needs recognize that such a conversation must also include one around faith. If you want to speak of and concerning the kingdom of God you must needs strongly consider and recognize that faith is one of the foundational principles surrounding the kingdom of God. Those who wish to enter into and access the kingdom of God must needs be those who do so by and through faith. There would be those who would seek to access the kingdom of God absent faith within their hearts and souls and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. We must needs recognize and realize that at the very heart of the kingdom of God is faith and that in order to appropriate the manifestation of the kingdom of God within our hearts and lives we must needs do so through and by faith and faith alone. I do not believe this parable which the Lord Jesus taught and spoke concerned the kingdom of God alone without also touching the reality of faith.

 

            What adds even more weight and significance behind this is when you consider the words the Lord Jesus declared unto His disciples at a later time when speaking unto them concerning the fig tree. You will recall that Jesus and His disciples drew near to a fig tree and there was an anticipation within the heart of Jesus that coming to this fig tree He would find fruit upon it. When, however, he came to the fig tree He would find it completely and utterly barren. As a direct result of this fig tree being barren the Lord Jesus would curse it that nothing might every grow upon it again. Initially and immediately nothing would happen to the fig tree, however, when the disciples and Jesus passed by the fig tree a second time they marveled that it was so soon withered away. In response to the astonishment within the hearts and souls of the disciples the Lord Jesus would proceed to speak unto them concerning faith. What’s more is that not only would He speak unto them concerning faith but He would also liken faith unto a mustard seed. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for within the four gospels there are only two things the Lord Jesus compared to a mustard seed. The first is the kingdom of God while the second is faith which is possessed within our hearts and souls. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something to be said about both faith and the kingdom of God being compared and likened unto a mustard seed. I firmly believe we must needs recognize and understand the words present in this passage of Scripture for when it came to teaching concerning the kingdom of God Jesus would speak of the kingdom of God being likened unto a grain of mustard seed. Immediately after this we find the Lord Jesus and His disciples being out on the open sea in the midst of a storm which had come upon the sea. Not only had this storm come upon the sea but the waves beat upon the ship and so much so that the ship was full of water.

 

            I am absolutely convinced that in order for us to understand the strong and intrinsic link between the parable Jesus taught concerning the grain of mustard seed and this experience upon the sea we must needs consider His use of the imagery of a grain of a mustard seed. There is not a doubt in my mind that just as faith begins as small as a grain of mustard seed it grows up and becomes greater than all other things within our lives. Despite faith’s small beginning and appearance within our hearts and lives it has the potential to grow up and to become something incredibly mighty among us. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for to do so would be to miss out and ignore the growth and the increase of the faith. I am absolutely and completely convinced that while faith is indeed as small as a grain of mustard seed it has the ability to grow and to become something mighty and powerful within our hearts and lives. It would be when speaking unto the disciples the Lord Jesus would emphatically declare unto them that if they had faith as small as a grain of a mustard seed they could move mountains. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that if faith as small as a grain of a mustard seed which is the smallest and least of all the seeds which are in the earth can move mountains—imagine what it can do when it is fully grown. What’s more is that I am convinced that there is a progression of the growth of faith within our hearts and lives for if faith as small as a grain of a mustard seed can move mountains then I can’t help but wonder what it can do when it is fully grown within the life of a saint of God and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding faith—and not only faith but how faith can indeed begin as small as a grain of a mustard seed within our hearts and lives. What’s more is that while it is indeed that faith does indeed begin as small as a grain of a mustard seed it is designed and intended on growing up and become so much greater within our lives. We would like to think that we are destined to live our lives walking in and experiencing mustard seed faith, however, the truth of the matter is that we were never called nor will we ever be called to experience faith that remains the size of a grain of a mustard seed. It is true that faith the size of a grain of mustard seed can move mountains, however, I am convinced that we haven’t been called simply and solely to mustard seed size faith nor merely moving mountains. When Jesus described faith being as small as a grain of a mustard seed He was not only describing the power that is found in that tiny object within our hearts and lives but also what that tiny object can accomplish in the earth. Jesus emphatically declared that faith as small as a grain of a mustard seed could indeed move mountains—and not only move mountains but also emboldens and empowers men and women to speak to mountains and command them to move. As Jesus spoke of and described faith as small as a grain of a mustard seed within one’s heart and soul as being able to move mountains He was in fact describing a wonderful and powerful truth concerning the power of faith—even if it is small and seemingly insignificant within our hearts and lives.

            It is with all of this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote concerning faith. In the eleventh chapter of this epistle we find the author writing and speaking of faith—and not only concerning faith but also that which faith accomplishes within the earth. I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for if faith as small as a grain of a mustard seed can move mountains then what size was the faith which is found and presented within this particular chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews? We know that faith as small as a grain of a mustard seed can enable and empower one to speak to mountains and command them to be removed from their place and cast into the sea and yet in the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews we find the author not only describing what faith is but also—and perhaps more importantly—describing how faith moves and operates within the earth. It is in addition to this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the second chapter of the epistle written by James the brother of Jude as well as the first and opening chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Peter. I firmly believe the words which we find in these two epistles help shine an even greater light on to the reality of the manifestation of faith within our hearts and lives. Oh with this in mind I invite you to first consider the words which are found in the eleventh chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews beginning to read with and from the first verse:

 

            “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were famed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:1-3).

 

            “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

 

            “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:13-16).

 

            “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:24-27).

 

           

And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trials of cruel mocking and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:32-40).

 

            It is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand the words and language we find within these verses for they help us to understand—not only what faith is but also what faith accomplishes in the midst of the earth. Important to note when reading the words found in this chapter is that it is not as important to be able to define what faith is but rather how faith operates within our hearts and lives. There would be those who would choose to focus more on the doctrine of faith rather than the demonstration of faith within their hearts and lives. In all reality I would dare say that the living and eternal God cares more about the demonstration of faith within our hearts and lives as opposed to the doctrine of faith within them. There are countless men and women who have allowed themselves to get caught up in the doctrine of faith and the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular reality for it helps us to truly understand the importance of the presence of faith within our hearts and lives. We know that Jesus declared how faith as small as the grain of a mustard seed can empower and embolden one to speak to mountains—and not only speak to mountains but also command them to be removed from their place and cast into the sea. If faith as small as a grain of mustard seed can empower one to speak to a mountain and command it to be removed from its place and cast into the sea then imagine what level the faith of those whose lives and stories mentioned in the eleventh chapter of the epistle written to the Hebrews truly was. Stop and consider how absolutely incredible the presence of faith truly was within the lives of those mentioned in this chapter such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Moses, Rahab, David, Gideon, Jephthah, and others.

 

            Having said all of this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the second half of the second chapter of the epistle written by James the brother of Jude. It is in the second half of this particular chapter we find James writing and speaking—not necessarily of the demonstration of faith in terms of  exploits and mighty feats but even as simple as ministering unto others. What we must needs understand is that the context of faith being shown and demonstrated by and through works in this passage of Scripture is directly linked and connected to the words which we see in the first half of this particular chapter. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand concerning faith is that it does indeed and does in fact demand action within our hearts and lives. James was incredibly bold when writing and declaring concerning faith that faith without works is dead. James believed that faith cannot, must not and should not abide alone and that directly linked to and accompanying faith must needs be works. James would write how faith demanded and required action and demonstration within our hearts and lives. What’s more is I am absolutely convinced that the works which James spoke of accompanying faith can even be that which the Lord Jesus spoke in the twenty-fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of the epistle written by James as well as the words which are found in the twenty-fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:

 

            “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord og glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and ssay to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not them partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blasphem that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (James 2:1-13).

 

            “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwisthanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath. Not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me they faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his good works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:14-26).

            “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and feed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily, I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or a thirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal ” (Matthew 25:31-46).

 

            Please don’t miss and lose sight of the words found in these passages of scripture for in the opening part of the second chapter of the epistle written by James we find him speaking of faith when he instructs his readers and audience to have not the faith of the Lord Jesus in partiality and favoritism. Laster on in this same chapter James would go on to declare that faith without works and would speak of showing and demonstrating faith by and through works. Oh if there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand concerning this is that the demonstration and manifestation of faith does not always have to be mighty exploits or powerful feats of courage, bravery, strength and power. It is absolutely possible for the demonstration and manifestation of faith to be as simple as giving a cup of cold water in the name of the Lord Jesus. The demonstration of faith can be performed within our lives as simple as clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, taking in the strangers, giving drink unto the thirsty and visiting the sick and those in prison. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the demonstration and manifestation of faith within our hearts and lives and how absolutely necessary, critical and vital it is for us as the saints of the living God. What’s more is I firmly believe and am convinced that this directly ties into the words which the apostle Peter wrote in the first chapter of the second epistle written unto those saints which were scattered and suffering. Consider if you will the following words found in this passage of Scripture beginning with the third verse of the first chapter of this second epistle before returning unto the gospel narratives:

 

 

            “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:3-11).

 

            The words which we find in this particular epistle help bring us back to the incredible importance of what we find in the gospel narratives of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus for within it the apostle Peter emphatically declares how according to the divine power the living God has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue. The apostle Peter goes on to write how we given unto us are exceeding great and precious promises that by and through these we might be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. What we must needs recognize and understand as we continue to read the words found in this passage of Scripture is that the apostle Peter would go on to write and refer to faith as the starting point of all other virtues and graces which are and can be present within our hearts and lives. The apostle Peter recognized and understood the tremendous importance of faith as he would choose faith as the starting point upon which to build all other virtues and graces within our lives. For the apostle Peter it was faith that was the starting point and foundation upon which all the other characteristics and attributes mentioned in the coming verses would be added to. There is something we must needs recognize and understand for when we read Jesus’ parable of the kingdom of God we find that He likens and compares it unto a mustard seed. What’s more is that not only does the Lord Jesus compare the kingdom of God to a mustard seed but He also goes on to describe how it is the smallest among all the seeds and yet when it grows it becomes the greatest of herbs and becomes a mighty tree that provides shade, shelter and a place for the birds of the air.

 

            With this in mind I am absolutely convinced we must needs consider the following passages found within the four gospel narratives written by the gospel authors. Within these four gospel narratives we are brought face to face with the only other thing the Lord Jesus compared the mustard seed—and not only a mustard seed but the grain of a mustard seed to. As you read and study the four gospel narratives you will find that there were only two things the Lord Jesus compared the mustard seed to and those are the kingdom of God and faith. This is something we have a great need to recognize and pay close attention to for it brings us face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding faith and the kingdom of God and their intrinsic link and connection to them. Oh dear saint there is a great need within our hearts and minds to recognize and understand this link between the kingdom of God and faith for at the very heart, core and center of the kingdom of God is faith. It was Jesus Himself who asked the question of whether or not He would find faith upon the earth—and not only whether or not He would find faith upon the earth but would also proclaim concerning the Roman centurion and how He had not found faith so great in all Israel such as this centurion demonstrated and exercised.

 

            Having said this I would like to call and draw your attention to the following words found within the various passages of the four gospels that highlight and speak to this reality concerning a mustard seed. The more you read the four gospel narratives the more you will be brought face to face with the fact that not only the kingdom of God but also faith can indeed begin as small as a grain of a mustard seed and yet grow into and become something incredibly mighty and powerful—not only within the earth but also within one’s heart and life. Before I delve into the words which are found within this passage I find it absolutely necessary to consider a powerful picture of the kingdom of God as it was portrayed by the prophet Daniel as he interpreted the prophetic dream which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had. It is within this prophetic book we find the king of Babylon having a dream that shook him to his core—a dream in which part of the revelation was a stone which was hewn out of a mountain which not only struck the large image at its feet but would also grow into and become a large mountain that would fill the whole earth. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel before we consider the following words which are recorded within the four New Testament gospels concerning both the kingdom of God and faith being likened and compared unto the grain of a mustard seed:

 

            “Thou, O king, sawest, and behold la great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which some the image upon his feet that were of iron and cly, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:31-35).

 

            “This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the see of men; but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure” (Daniel 2:36-45).

 

            It is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the truth surrounding the increase of the stone which was hewn out from the mountain which grew to become a great mountain itself that filled and covered the earth. There is not a doubt in my mind when we read the words found in this passage of Scripture that we see within it a powerful image of the type of increase that surrounds the kingdom of heaven and faith itself. As we read the words found in this passage of Scripture we are brought face to face with the incredible truth of faith beginning and being as small as a grain of mustard seed which can indeed be used to speak to a mountain and command it to be uprooted from its place and be cast into the sea. Not only this but the Lord Jesus Christ would also deliver a parable concerning the kingdom of God and how the kingdom of God itself was as a mustard seed which although it was the smallest among all the herbs would indeed grow into becoming a great and mighty tree that would provide shelter and solace for the birds of the air. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that there is a strong and intrinsic link and connection between the words found in this passage of Scripture concerning the parable of the kingdom of God being likened unto a mustard seed and the need for faith that is found in the very next passage. It’s absolutely astounding to read the final two passages of Scripture found in the fourth chapter of this gospel for within them we see a picture of the kingdom of God being likened unto a mustard seed while in the very next passage we find the disciples in the midst of the ship in the sea threatened by the wind and the waves. Oh there is something incredibly unique about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for what we find is the disciples out of fear and terror awakening Jesus out of His slumber over fear of them perishing as a direct result of the storm.

 

            As you read the words found within the final passage of the fourth chapter you will find Jesus being awakened out of his slumber by the cry of His disciples. What’s more is that before the Lord Jesus would speak unto His disciples He would speak to the wind, to the waves and to the storm itself. Jesus would stand up in the midst of the storm and would command everything to be still and to be at peace. What is truly astonishing about the words present in this passage is that the Lord Jesus would speak unto the storm upon and in the midst of the sea and once the storm itself was calm and everything was at peace He would speak unto His disciples. Important to note is that when the Lord Jesus spoke unto His disciples He would proceed to calm the storm which was raging within them. Oh we must needs recognize and acknowledge that within this passage there are two different types of storms—the physical storm which we can see with our eyes and hear with our ears and the internal storm which is unseen by the physical and natural senses. While it was indeed true there was a physical storm present in the midst of and upon the sea on this particular occasion there would be a secondary storm that would be present—a storm which wasn’t visible to the naked eye but one that was present within the hearts, the minds and the souls of the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh how much we must needs recognize and understand that both of these storms were addressed by the Lord Jesus on this particular occasion as the Lord Jesus would speak to the physical storm which was seen before speaking to the internal storm which was unseen.

 

            When we read the words found in this passage of Scripture we find the Lord Jesus speaking unto the physical and natural storm commanding peace and instructing it to be still. Immediately upon the command of the Lord Jesus as He stood up in the midst of the storm we find the wind and the waves obeying and everything becoming completely and utterly calm in the midst of the sea. It would be from that place of external peace and calm the Lord would then proceed to speak to and calm the storm which was present within the hearts and minds of the disciples. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding how the Lord Jesus addressed the storm which was present within the hearts and minds of His disciples. The Lord Jesus would first ask them why they were so fearful before he would then proceed to ask them how they didn’t have faith. Oh this is something we must needs recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the antithesis of faith which is fear. The words of the Lord Jesus in this passage of Scripture seem to indicate that in order for faith to thrive and grow within our hearts and souls there is a great need for fear to be expelled. There on the calm water of the sea the Lord Jesus not only asked them why they were fearful and afraid but also asked them how they had no faith. These are questions I am absolutely and completely convinced we must needs recognize and understand are still being asked of many men and women among us within this generation—particularly and especially during the days in which we are living. The Lord Jesus is still asking men and women why they are so full of fear and lack so much faith within their hearts and souls.

 

            It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the following passages contained within the New Testament gospels concerning this reality of mustard seed and its connection to the kingdom of God and even faith itself:

 

            “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof” (Matthew 13:31-32).

 

            “..Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, 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. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:19-21).

 

            “Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? And whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it” Luke 13:18-19).

 

            “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye. Might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him: I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, we are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:5-10).

 

            If you read the words which are found within these passages of Scripture you will find find Jesus likening and comparing the kingdom of heaven unto a mustard seed—not only based on the fact that it starts off small and seemingly insignificant but also because it grows and blossoms into something incredible strong, great and powerful. With this being said we must also recognize and understand that the Lord Jesus doesn’t merely describe and liken the kingdom of God unto a mustard seed but He also likens faith unto a mustard seed. What’s more is that not once but twice our Lord likens faith unto a grain of a mustard seed—once after the disciples could not expel an unclean spirit from a young lad despite what might have been a variety of different attempts. The disciples were given authority and power over unclean spirits to cast them out and yet on this particular occasion the disciples were unable to expel this particular unclean spirit. When the disciples asked the Lord Jesus why they were unable to cast this spirit out Jesus would declare unto them how this kind comes not out but by prayer and fasting. We know from Scripture that so long as the Lord Jesus was present among and with the disciples they would have no need to engage themselves in fasting. If and when the Lord Jesus would depart from this world and return unto His Father who was in heaven they would not only have a need to fast but they would also pray like they had not done while the Lord Jesus was present among them in their midst. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the words the Lord Jesus would speak and declare unto the disciples thereafter.

 

            As you continue reading the words found in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find the Lord Jesus would go on to declare unto the disciples that if they had faith as small as a mustard seed they would be able to speak unto this mountain and command it to be removed from its place. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would also go on to declare unto them how nothing would be impossible unto them. Oh we must needs recognize and understand just how incredibly significant these words truly are for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous and incredible reality of Jesus’ words and how He declared that they needed faith as small as a grain of a mustard seed to speak unto “this” mountain and command it to be removed from its place to another and it would be removed. Scripture is unclear as to what mountain the Lord Jesus was speaking of, however, upon reading the opening verses of this passage you will find the Lord Jesus taking Peter, James and his brother John up a mountain where He would be transfigured before their presence and would appear speaking with Moses and Elijah. Is it possible the mountain the Lord Jesus referred to on this particular occasion was the very mountain which was before them and Jesus’ words suggested they needed faith as small as a grain of mustard seed to speak to the mountain and command it to be removed?

 

            With this being said it’s important to note that when you come to the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the physician Luke you will find the disciples speaking unto Jesus and asking Him to increase their faith. Instead of the Lord Jesus praying for the disciples that their faith might be increased and instead of even increasing the faith of the disciples when they asked Him He would declare unto them once more that if they had faith as a grain of mustard seed they might speak unto this sycamore tree and command it to be plucked up by the root and be planted in the sea and it would obey them. Oh we know from Scripture—even this very same gospel—that when Satan asked Jesus to have Simon called Peter that he might have him to sift him as wheat Jesus prayed for him that his faith might not fail. There is nothing in Scripture that seems to indicate that Jesus ever increased the faith of the disciples nor even prayed that the faith of the disciples might be increased. What we do find is the Lord Jesus praying for Simon called Peter—not that his faith might be increased but that his faith might not fail. What a vast difference it is between the Lord Jesus praying that faith might increase and that faith might not fail. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this for when the disciples came unto the Lord Jesus asking Him to increase their faith He didn’t even immediately address their request but rather declared unto and encouraged them concerning faith which might be as small as a grain of mustard seed and how it was powerful enough to speak unto the sycamore tree and command it to be plucked up by the root and be planted in the sea. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would indeed declare that when the disciples spoke unto the sycamore tree and commanded it to be plucked up and planted in the sea it would obey them.

 

            I have to admit that this is incredibly unique and powerful when you think about it for in the final verses of the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark we find the Lord Jesus delivering a parable concerning the kingdom of God and how it was likened unto a mustard seed which would indeed begin as the smallest of all objects and yet would grow into something mighty and powerful—a great and mighty tree which would be planted in the earth. What a vast and powerful difference the words we find in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark and that which is found in the fourth chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel where Nebuchadnezzar saw himself as a great and mighty tree within a second dream he had. Within this passage of scripture we find that this dream would actually be a call and invitation given unto Nebuchadnezzar to humble himself in the sight of the living God and to abandon and forsake all pride. What a strong and powerful contrast this truly is compared to the greatness and strength of the kingdom of God which would begin as a grain of mustard seed and would grow into a strong and mighty tree. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this for not only would Jesus describe the kingdom of God as a mustard seed but he would also liken and compare faith itself as a mustard seed—and not only as a mustard seed but also as a grain of mustard seed. Moreover the Lord Jesus would declare unto His disciples on two different occasions that if they had faith as small as a mustard seed they would be able to speak to that which is before them and give command unto it.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the final verses of the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark. We know from the gospel narratives written by the apostle Matthew as well as Luke how Jesus would declare unto His disciples that if they had faith as small as a grain of mustard seed they would be able to speak to that which was before them, command it to be removed and it would obey them. Within the final verses of the fourth chapter we find Jesus standing in the midst of the storm and doing the very same thing which He would speak unto the disciples of—namely, speaking to that which was before them. It would be in the final verses of the fourth chapter we find Jesus standing up in the midst of the storm and speaking unto it and it obeying His voice and command. Not only this but within this passage we find the wind and the waves obeying the voice and command of the Lord Jesus and all becoming calm and peaceful and at rest. As if this weren’t enough the Lord Jesus would then ask His disciples how they had not faith within their hearts in the midst of the storm. Pause for a moment and consider how in the same encounter as the Lord Jesus speaking unto the storm which was before them He would also call and draw their attention to the lack of faith which was present within their hearts and souls. Jesus would stand up and speak to the storm and it would obey His voice and command and when speaking of faith within the hearts and lives of His disciples He would declare unto them that if they had faith as small as a grain of mustard seed they would not only speak unto a mountain and command it to be removed from its place but they would also speak unto a sycamore tree and command it to be removed from its place and planted in the sea. In both declarations concerning faith Jesus would reveal the command of speaking unto the object before them, the object being removed from its place and its being planted and established in a different place.

There is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words which are found within this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the strong and intrinsic link and connection between the kingdom of God and faith. What’s more is that not only is there a strong and intrinsic link between the kingdom of God and faith but both would be compared to a mustard seed which was indeed the smallest of seed within the earth. There would be a wonderful and powerful connection between the parable the Lord Jesus spoke unto His disciples on this particular occasion and the final verses in the fourth chapter as the Lord Jesus would indeed stand in the midst of the storm and speak to it commanding it to be at peace and to be still. What’s more is that within this same passage of Scripture the Lord Jesus would ask the disciples how and why they were so fearful and how they had so little faith. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this for just as the Lord Jesus would speak of the kingdom of God as being likened unto a grain of mustard seed so also would He speak of faith as a grain of mustard seed. This is something we must needs pay close and careful attention to as it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the presence of faith within our own hearts and lives. There is indeed a great and powerful need for faith to be present and manifested within our hearts and lives—and not only to be manifested within our hearts and lives but also that faith can be as small as a grain of mustard seed and we can speak to that which is before us and command it to be removed from its place and planted elsewhere. Perhaps the single greatest reality we must needs learn from this passage of Scripture is how incredibly vital it is to have faith present within our hearts and lives and faith can indeed enable us to speak to that which is before us and give command and it will indeed obey

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