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Jesus said; Your faith can move mountains

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posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 05:00 PM
“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea’, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him” (Mark ch11 v23).

This assurance is prompted by the episode of the cursing of the fig-tree.
Jesus was walking into Jerusalem, looked for fruit in the tree and failed to find it, and said to the tree “May no-one ever eat fruit from you again”.
The next time they passed, the fig-tree had withered away.
In Matthew, the story is improved. The withering takes place instantly.
Either way, the disciples are impressed.
So Jesus takes the opportunity to spell out the moral of the event; “Have faith in God”.
Followed by the words quoted above.

We learn from other Gospel stories that faith has power in attracting the work of God, acting through Jesus.

Thus faith is almost a precondition for his works in Galilee.
He looks for it, and remarks upon it when he finds it.
Two blind men were following him and crying aloud “Have mercy on us, Son of David.
When they caught up with him, he asked “Do you believe I am able to do this?”
They confirmed that they did believe, and he said it should be done to them “according to your faith”;
KATA TEN PISTIN HUMON- that is, to the same extent and measure as their faith (Matthew ch9 vv27-30)

The same principle works through many other stories.
The centurion at Capernaum was anxious about his servant, but he was confident that Jesus could heal him just by a word, even at a distance.
Therefore Jesus marvelled and said “Not even in Israel have I found such faith”.
And he said to the centurion “Be it done to you AS you have believed.
That is, the power of the event should match his faith (Matthew ch8 vv5-13)
And he mentions the “great faith” of the Syro-Phoenician woman as the reason for granting her request (Matthew ch15 v28).

We see the power of faith, at its height, in the story of Jairus’ daughter.
Jesus went to the house in response to the father’s urgent appeal.
While he was travelling through the crowd on the way there, the woman with a haemorrhage touched his garment. She was looking for healing, and she received it.
What is most remarkable about that incident is that Jesus “perceived that power had gone forth from him”; it had happened almost without the involvement of his conscious will. Such was the power of her faith in what God could do in the person of Jesus.
As they were approaching, the news came that the daughter had already died.
Jesus responded by telling the father “Do not fear, only believe”.
When he got to the house, he evicted the distracting mourners, leaving only the immediate family, and the raising of the daughter was accomplished. (Mark ch5 vv21-43)

The other side of the coin is that these works of God would not happen at all when faith was completely absent, as it was when Jesus returned to his hometown;
“And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them” (Mark ch6 v5).
This might have been his reason for removing the (unbelieving) mourners from the scene in the house of Jairus.

When the disciples were waiting for Jesus to return from the Transfiguration, they tried and failed to heal a boy who was “convulsed by a dumb spirit”.
The father asked Jesus to help them “if you can”.
To the words “If you can”, Jesus gave the response “All things are possible to him who believes”.
This drew out the cry “I believe; help my unbelief!”
The faith evident In that appeal was enough, and Jesus carried out the task quickly, for a crowd was gathering. (Mark ch9 vv14-27)

All these are examples of people trusting what Jesus could do at their request.
But the promise quoted at the beginning takes things much further.
The disciples are encouraged to make their own direct prayers, with an assurance that their prayer will be effective even to the extent of moving “this mountain” (the Mount of Olives).

This “moving mountains” image quickly became proverbial; “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains…” (1 Corinthians ch13 v2).
There is also a saying in the tradition about the effectiveness of the smallest amount of faith, faith “as a grain of mustard-seed”.
Matthew attaches it to another version of the saying about the mountain, and includes it in the story of the epileptic child;
“If you have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, you will say to this mountain ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move” (Matthew ch17 v20).
While Luke condenses the whole fig-tree episode together with the mustard-seed tradition into the detached observation;
“If you had faith as a grain of mustard-seed, you could say to this sycamine tree ‘Be rooted up and be planted in the sea’, and it would obey you” (Luke ch17 v6).

Thus Faith is encouraged by promise.
In fact the promise is made absolute;
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark ch11 v24)
“Nothing will be impossible to you” (Matthew ch17 v20).

The absolute version of the promise has the obvious purpose of boosting our confidence in prayer, counteracting our natural tendency to relapse into “little faith”.
But this absolute claim, when taken to extremes, can cause problems of its own.
When believers have been earnestly praying for an event which does not happen, they may be prone to blame their own feeble faith. There may be fellow-believers, like Job’s comforters, telling them the same thing.
So it’s worth considering just how literally the absolute promise needs to be taken.

Common sense will tell us, in the first place, that God will not lend himself to prayers which are alien to his character, no matter how much faith appears to back them up.
So that in itself would limit their effectiveness.
Also they may be in conflict with his own intentions for the future
Examples of “prayer refused” can be found in the New Testament itself.
Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that “this cup” might be allowed to pass from him, “if it be possible… if thou art willing”. He was “heard”, according to Hebrews, but a purpose was in motion which could not be changed.
Paul tells us that he earnestly prayed, three times, for a “thorn in the flesh” to be removed from him, but this request was denied (2 Corinthians ch12 vv7-8).
James tells his readers that “You do not have because you do not ask”.
But he then supplements this with “You ask and you do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James ch4 vv2-3).
Insufficient faith is only part of the story.

Perhaps the two explanations need to be combined.
Before the event, we do need to be allowing our faith to motivate our prayer, approaching God in confidence as though the promise were literally absolute.
But the habit of “claiming” the promise of God, treating it almost as a legal right, runs the risk of becoming presumptuous.
Maybe there is a difference between the genuine faith that is possible when God is willing to act, and a worked-up expectation that is being used as a lever to twist his arm.
After the event, therefore, if we have not received what we wanted, we ought to consider that possibility that the second explanation of James might be more applicable.
That is, we did not receive because we were asking for the wrong thing.

Believing the full promise before the event, accepting God’s will after the event;
They are both aspects of placing trust in God, which is what “faith” means.

posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 05:13 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Dont forget to put "your" opinion in a huge context on top. Cause you cant fill this out as fact its an opinion, right?

posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 05:14 PM
a reply to: AnneNancy
It's a presentation of theology, which is perfectly appropriate for a theology sub-forum.

posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 05:15 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Do you study theology? or is it a hobby?

posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 05:16 PM
a reply to: AnneNancy
I have academic qualifications in theology, but my reading is not limited by academic requirements.

posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 05:46 PM
This is why I hesitate to ask for things for myself, even health related things. I don't want to ask for selfish things, and even if I am not asking for selfish things, I don't want to get the answer as "no." Some thing, you don't want to know there is a reason for. I figure it's best to ask him to help me find the strength to bear my challenges because I know he'd never send more than I can bear and it's all for a reason.

posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 05:52 PM
a reply to: ketsuko
There is no harm in asking for health-related things. People asked Jesus for such things and got what they asked for. The real mistake here is the idea some people have that God will always cure this way, if the faith is available, and it's wrong to make use of other medical help.

Having said that, I have on my bookshelves a booklet written by a bed-ridden Anglo-Catholic (Edith Barfoot) called "A vocation to suffering", which does take the "strength to bear" approach. Not suitable for my Evangelical friends, who prefer to think in terms of "praying for healing".

edit on 22-4-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 06:07 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Nah, it's not like I feel a vocation to suffer. It's more like I feel I was made the way I am for a reason, and if He wants to change that, He will. Make no mistake, I've asked a time or two, and He can change it if He wants.

posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 09:48 PM
Why did Jesus curse a fig tree out of season anyways. Seems like he got angry at the fig tree. Anger is a sin. Therefore he wasn't sinless. And nobody has moved a mountain with faith.

posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 09:54 PM
a reply to: Joecanada11

Gee-whiz Mister!

I guess you just proved to all Christians that Jesus sucks.

The vale of ignorance and stupidity has suddenly been lifted from my eyes!

Seriously, if you don't have any input to the topic than just ignore it the thread.

As to the OP, one of my favorite quotes (not sure who it's from) is: Faith can move mountains, but don't be surprised if God hands you a shovel.

Another example is if we pray for patience we will not suddenly gain patience. We will be given opportunities to practice our patience.

posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 10:30 PM
a reply to: ArnoldNonymous

The title of the thread is Jesus said your faith can move mountains and guess what. It's never worked yet. So Jesus was wrong or the right amount of faith hasn't come along yet.

Also by cursing the fig tree it shows his human nature. He was not without sin. He was not perfect. His words haven't come true yet. So we continue to wait and wait. Look up an empirical study on the efficacy of prayer.

posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 11:06 PM
a reply to: Joecanada11

At least now we can move on from the literal interpretation

posted on Apr, 23 2016 @ 02:05 AM

originally posted by: DISRAELI
Jesus said; Your faith can move mountains

Ignoring the obvious poetic metaphor;

You cannot 'define' Faith!
All 'definitions/thoughts/concepts' are 'conditional dualism', while 'Faith' is an "unconditional" Virtue of unconditional Love/Enlightenment!
It can only be Known by experiencing it!

“Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” - Rumi

True, unconditional Love is ALWAYS recognized by It's unconditional Virtues; Compassion, Empathy, Sympathy, Gratitude, Humility, Charity (charity is never taking more than your share of anything, ever!), Honesty, Happiness, Faith...

There are, of course, analogies, though weak, as 'understanding' (conceptualizing) is impossible!

"Do what you know to be right, say what you know to be true, and leave with faith and patience the consequences to god!" - F.W. Robertson

This ^ is the essence of 'Faith'/Love! Robertson calls Us 'God', but call Us whatever works for you; the Universe, Nature, Tao, Truth, Consciousness, Buddha, 'Self!'!, The Great Balloon Butted Big Bellied Bimbo in the Sky... whatever..., they all refer to the same One Reality, the same One Truth!
We Are All
One Omni- 'Self!'!

'Faith' is, also, Knowing that;

"Sometimes we get what we want, but we ALWAYS get exactly what we need!"

posted on Apr, 23 2016 @ 02:20 AM
a reply to: ArnoldNonymous

I heard a story of a group of brothers praying and one asked God to give him humbleness .One of the other brothers said to God "make him do it himself Lord" Prayers can and will take God time to work out in some cases .I find most of mine are worked out much better then I could have imagined at the time .Usually it takes me awhile to see the answer to a previous prayer because it looks nothing like I could have imagined ...

posted on Apr, 23 2016 @ 03:20 AM
a reply to: namelesss
To me, the essence of New Testament faith is "trust".
So in this case, it is a matter of trusting that the event will happen.

posted on Apr, 23 2016 @ 03:48 AM
a reply to: Joecanada11
Neither author says that he was angry. A penalty can be applied dispassionately, like a judge in court.
Commentators from the earliest days of the church have seen the episode as an acted-out parable about Christ coming to the people of Jerusalem and "finding no fruit".

As for "moving this mountain";
Jesus was prone to using exaggerated images, so that his point would have a greater impact on people's minds.
One classic example is "camel through the eye of a needle".
As I said in the OP;

The absolute version of the promise has the obvious purpose of boosting our confidence in prayer, counteracting our natural tendency to relapse into “little faith”.

In practice, nobody has been able to convince themselves that literally moving a mountain was something which needed to be done (except for showing off, which does not count), so the necessary faith has never been present.

posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 12:39 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Cursing the fig tree is clearly an example of his anger. Or was he judging it. As if a plant can 've judged. If the story were true (which it probably isnt because nobody can make a tree whither overnight) but lets say it is true. Then not only was Jesus showing his angry human nature but also he took away a food source from other people.

posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 03:12 AM

originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: namelesss
To me, the essence of New Testament faith is "trust".
So in this case, it is a matter of trusting that the event will happen.

I have no problem interpreting Faith as Trust, but it is as far from the trust for a buddy or a guarantee as it is Faith that the guy told you the truth about the car!
Unconditional Faith/Truth transcends ALL duality!

posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 03:35 AM
a reply to: namelesss
New Testament faith is by definition faith in a person, the difference being that this person is more trustworthy than humans in general.
"Many believed in his name... but Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all men" (John ch2 vv23-25)

Incidentally, this thread is focussed on Biblical theology. The idea that duality is something to be rejected belongs to other religions or philosophies, so it is alien to Biblical thinking and has no relevance here.

posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 12:16 PM
a reply to: namelesss

the Bible does define faith

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

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