Faith like a mustard seed
Jesus moved from town to town doing miracles, healing the sick, and preaching the good news of the gospel (His arrival) to all those He came in contact with. We often misinterpret several scriptures that talk about how the disciples will “do even greater things” and how we have “been given authority” over the spirits etc., into thinking that we have the power to do things on our own.
One verse that seems to throw believers down this trail of incorrect thinking is:
And He did not do many works of power there, because of their unbelief (their lack of faith in the divine mission of Jesus) (Matthew 13:58)
This verse in Matthew comes from the Amplified translation. Most translations do not have the parenthesis with explanatory information as to the context of each verse. That being the case, most read the verse to merely say, “And He did not do many works of power there, because of their unbelief.” This leads believers into the mindset of “If I just believer hard enough then it will happen.”
The problem with this thinking is that we begin relying on the amount of faith that each person demonstrates, in order to measure the spiritual fruit in their lives. We attribute things like “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control […]” etc. to the works of man.
However, if perfect love comes from God and God alone, how then could a mere human branch produce it?
I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Initially one might look at this verse and say “oh it is because I am attached to the vine that I can grow fruit!” yet even this thought process is a little off. Branches can be cut off and the rest of the plant will still live and reshape. The trunk or the main vine is the source of life for the entire plant. The VINE is what brings life, while the branches “bear” the fruit of that life. The problem comes when we miss one key word in this scripture that can alter how we view what our role in the kingdom really is. That word is: bear.
The very first and most common definition of the word bear (not the animal) is:
1. To hold up; support: to bear the weight of
Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies),Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. (Galatians 5:19-23)
Notice how the good fruit is defined as being from the Holy Spirit. There is no fruit that man can bear that is any of these things. All good things come from God and therefore, so does the fruit. That means HE is the one that grows both the fruit AND the branches. Without nourishment and direction from the main vine, there are no branches to bear fruit. The Lord is who causes growth. The Lord is the one that produces fruit. Our job is to bear it. The bigger the branches, and the stronger the connection to the vine, the more fruit can be borne.
So how does this come back to the original concept of the size of our faith?
And Jesus said, [You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes! At once the father of the boy gave [an eager,piercing, inarticulate] cry with tears, and he said, Lord, I believe! [Constantly] help my weakness of faith! (Mark 9:23-24 AMP)
This verse is not pointing to the fact that those who merely have “enough faith” will receive whatever they want. A better way to understand this verse (in context) would be like this:
Jesus: “What do you mean IF I can do anything?? All things are possible to him *points to self* who believes/All things are possible to him who believes that I can do them.”
The reason Jesus says that if we have the faith of a mustard seed, we can tell a mountain to jump into the sea and it will, is because HE is the one that causes the mustard seed to grow into a large tree (of faith). Jesus is infinite, and therefore has infinite belief in the works of His Father and the Holy Spirit. WE need only believe in Christ and HE will display His power for all to see, according to the will and purposes of God.
JESUS is the one who has the name above all names. JESUS is the one with all authority and power. JESUS is the one who grows fruit. All we do is bear it. Our burden is the same as that of Christ: The fruit.
Jesus cannot produce bad fruit so any branches that cannot support or uphold who He is by proclaiming the gospel to the world, will be cast off into the fire.
Our lives are all about Jesus…because His life was all about us.