hyperbole and the moving of mountains

Jesus told his disciples, “Have faith in God! I tell all of you with certainty, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ if he doesn’t doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. That is why I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. [Mark 11:22-24 ISV]

The idea of moving mountains is a great example of how Jesus used hyperbole.

Images of hating parents or blinding our sinful eyes are other examples.

These exaggerated statements are never meant to be taken literally.

Yet often, religious people read verses like these and are stymied by them.

I do love that Jesus begins by telling his followers to have faith in God.

Having faith in prayers, or the moving of mountains, is not the same.

There are prayers that are not answered and mountains unmoved.

God is really not in the business of moving mountains for you.

It is why I think that this whole passage may be an example of hyperbole.

Perhaps Jesus is exaggerating to prove a divine point?

It is possible that he is teaching about the futility of selfish prayer.

Teaching an absurdity such as mountain moving may be an indictment.

Perhaps an example of how self-centered prayer can be?

Maybe an exposition of the foolishness of the so-called sin of doubting?

However one looks at it, I think that Jesus desires us to reexamine prayer.

He wants us to avoid being certain and understand that it is okay to doubt.

In that sense, the Lord invites us to come to him with our doubts.

God is interested in the condition of our hearts more than our mountains.

I think that we should be as well.

Of course, the verses preceding these deal with Jesus cursing a fig tree.

More on that another time.

Lord give us grace to bring our doubts and cares to you in prayer.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.

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