Today’s Scrip-Bit   15 May 2023 Matthew 17:20a.

Matthew 17:20a.          if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, 

Then it was Monday…yes, Monday, the nemesis of my working life! Oh, and come to think of it, Monday was also my nemesis, my adversary and foe during my school life, because for some reason or other, I could never awaken early on Mondays, so, on many of those days I arrived either late or just in time for school. The other four days of the week were fine, just Monday had my number. (smile) Now it’s not as bad in my working life because I can’t afford to be late for work too often or their will be no work, but I still have problems getting up on a Monday, regardless of how hard I try to do otherwise. 

That’s because you haven’t sincerely asked Jesus to help you, and if you think you have done it, but without any success, then maybe it’s because your faith is too weak. Remember Jesus’ words to the disciples after they asked why they were unable to cast out a demon from a young boy. ‘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 (move); and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.’ (Matt. 17:20-21) 

Ah my people, it’s all about faith, but mustard seeds are amongst the smallest of plant seeds, and if indeed faith that small can move a big mountain, then it’s not really the quantity of our faith that matters, but more importantly the quality that makes the big difference. One commentary reminds us of it with this explanation. ‘As small as a mustard seed’ was a common expression in Jesus’ day. It had become a proverbial saying used frequently by Rabbis to indicate the smallest amount. Jesus is telling his disciples they don’t need an abundance of faith, just a little bit of faith. Remember the emphasis is on the quality, not the quantity.’ 

Yes friends, very little faith is required to accomplish great things. And Jesus reiterated this philosophy later on after He cursed the fruitless fig tree and the disciples wondered how quickly the fig tree had withered after He cursed it. ‘Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ (Matt. 21:21:22) 

Now that’s a big scripture my brethren! Notice Jesus specified – ALL THINGS.  Not just some things. But the crux of the problem is that one has to pray and then have the faith to believe that you will receive whatever you’re praying for. Note though, that it doesn’t say when you’ll receive whatever you’re praying and believing for. (smile) You also need patience and perseverance to wait for God’s marvellous timing. And that’s what often dooms our ability to receive our prayers and heart’s desires. 

Now, it’s time for us to take a look at how faith, which can apparently move so many mountains, truly operates. The Bible says: ‘Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ (Heb. 11:1) That simply means faith is hoping and believing for something that you don’t yet see. The opposite of that is why hope and believe for something that you already see or have? And that’s what our Christian faith is all about; believing in Jesus, whom we’ve never seen, but hoping that one day soon, we will see Him coming in the clouds in all His majesty and glory. 

As Jesus told Thomas when he doubted that He was the resurrected Christ. ‘Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen (me), and yet have believed.’  (John 20:29) That’s us friends. Those who have faith to believe that Jesus exists and is who He says He is, and has done what He says He’s done. That’s true faith; believing without seeing! 

But listen as the scholars add some depth to our knowledge on faith. They say: ‘Two truths concerning its activity are stated here. First, faith provides substance or assurance. Second, faith provides evidence. It is evidence in the sense of proof that results in conviction. The difference between assurance and evidence would be minimal were it not for the phrase qualifying each: of things hoped for and of things not seen. 

The first involves future hope; the second involves present realities that are unseen. The first includes the hope of the resurrection, the return of Christ, and the glorification of the saints. The second involves unseen realities, such as forgiveness of sin through Christ’s sacrifice and the present intercession of Christ in heaven. Hope is faith relating to the future; conviction is faith relating to the present.’ 

Now that’s insightful and a tad deep, but it’s time for us believers to go deep into the Word of God if we expect to make any serious headway against the enemy. We can’t be drinking milk or eating desert all the time, but need some heavy food, meat and spuds to make a difference. So, if you don’t understand what the scholars say above there, then read it again, meditate on it, until you do get the gist of it. That’s the only way to know and understand scripture. 

Remember what the Lord said to Joshua on the subject? ‘This book of the law shall not depart out of (shall be constantly in) thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.’ (Josh. 1:8) Now if the Lord said that Joshua, whom am I to say otherwise eh? (smile) So let’s go to Him right now nuh, through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn and ask for divine grace and mercy to help in these oh so troubled and dangerous times. 

As one voice: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You this Monday morning for life and strong faith in Christ, despite the mass confusion in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously disobeyed Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, who has faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us wise guidance and direction to alleviate our problems.  

And Father, we pray that you will ease the pain of the many who are suffering from negative situations. Please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again, we say: Amen!’ 

And the only way to be assured of divine help is to have faith in God’s Word and change our evil ways. Much LOVE!

…the aim of the Christian…is to have plenty, strong faith in Christ Jesus… 

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