Matthew 17:14-20




14 When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying,

 15"Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.

 16"I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him."

 17And Jesus answered and said, "You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me."

 18And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.

 19Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not drive it out?"

 20And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to 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 to you.


At first glance, this passage seems to be contradictory. Jesus tells His Disciples they could not drive out the demon 'because of the littleness of their faith'. He subsequently says that with the faith of a mustard seed anything is possible.

On the surface, these statements are contradictory. When we see what appears to be a contradiction, it is an invitation to investigate further. Jesus has given us a riddle to solve – How can the faith of a mustard seed move a mountain if the Disciples couldn’t cast out a demon because of the ‘littleness of their faith’?

The key to solving this riddle is in understanding what the mustard seed represents. The contradiction exists because we assume that a mustard seed represents a small amount of faith.

Jesus provides us with a parable about a Mustard seed:

Matthew 13:31-32

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field;  32and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."


At a basic level, this parable teaches about the death and resurrection of Jesus. In this parable, JESUS IS THE MUSTARD SEED.

Back to Mathew 17. If Jesus is the Mustard Seed, then the ‘faith of a mustard seed’, is NOT a SMALL amount of faith. It is actually the MOST amount of faith.

 It is total and complete faith.

 The Disciples could not cast out the Demon because they didn’t have enough faith. Jesus then told them that if they had total and complete faith, that nothing would be impossible to them.


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