14When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, 15and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 17Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” 18And Jesus rebuked the demona, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
On the one hand we can interpret this as harsh judgement, and it is. Jesus indicts the disciples for their lack of faith. Had they faith the size of a mustard seed they could move mountains. What little they would have needed to cure this man’s son! And yet, there is something more here. We recognize that we could all do with more faith. We have little enough ourselves. Some days it feels like we have hardly any at all. After a year of pandemic, political disfunction, injustice unmasked, and civil disorder, why should we have faith? Some days it can be hard enough to believe—that in Jesus Christ God’s will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Then we read the words and hear the promise. It may not be much. It may only be the kernel of something better, but it’s enough to move mountains—and certainly enough to move us.
Gracious God, let your Gospel take root in our hearts, to grow faith in us until we have reached our fullness in you, in the image of your love, in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.