And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.”
And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
This is a difficult passage if one interprets Jesus' rebuke to his disciples in a certain way. Many read this passage and do not understand that Jesus is speaking in hyperbolic fashion. Using imagery like mustard seeds and mountains Jesus paints a picture about the role of faith in prayer. He is not speaking about what we say.. he is talking about what we pray.. and he says that great obstacles can be removed when we pray.
The message of this passage is that even the smallest of faith is effectual when it is directed in the right direction. The fact of the matter is that God is the one who casts out demons and he is the only one who can remove mountainous obstacles.. and He must always be the focus of our faith. If our faith.. even great faith.. is directed in any other direction it will fall short. Yet if our faith.. small as a seed.. is focused on God it will accomplish much.
Help me to stay focused on you Lord.. in difficult times and in ones not so hard.