The Mustard Seed Parable Does Not Make Sense . . .to me . . .used to be that way . . . not any longer.

The typical explanation of the following verse has never made sense to me. Is the Lord really saying if you have a little faith, you can move a mountain? I’ve always questioned that lesson.

Matt.17:20 – And Jesus said unto them, (his disciples,) Because of your unbelief: for verily I (Jesus) say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

I’d like to provide another possible explanation to this statement that our Lord made. Remember that you heard it here first. I’ve never seen or heard this explanation before. It was my original observation. To form an opinion, I needed to find out more about the mustard seed. Here’s what I found on the web.

  • Mustard was used in ancient Greece and Rome as a medicine and a flavoring.
  • The Romans probably developed the prepared mustards we know today. They mixed unfermented grape juice, known as “must”, with ground mustard seeds (called sinapis) to make “burning must”, mustum ardens—hence “must ard”.
  • Mustard is one of the oldest spices and one of the most widely used. The Chinese were using mustard thousands of years ago and the ancient Greeks considered it an everyday spice. The first medical mention of it is in the Hippocratic writings, where it was used for general muscular relief. The Romans used it as a condiment and pickling spice.
  • The seed must be crushed and mixed with cool water and then you need to wait 10 minutes to get the spicy flavor. (Key words: crushed, mixed and wait)
  • Recipes for mustard paste appear as early as 42 AD, the use of mustard as a condiment was not widely practiced in either Greece or Rome. When it was used, however, diners crushed mustard seed on their plate and mixed it with wine or water to suit their taste. (Key words: crushed, mixed)

What we now know based on the above:

  • Mustard was used as a flavoring during the time of Christ.
  • People who heard Christ speak knew how mustard was used.
  • To get the benefit from mustard, it must be crushed, mixed with a liquid and you must wait for the flavor to develop.

Based on the above, I propose another explanation of the powerful faith mentioned here.

  • It requires time (patience and waiting) for it to develop. Faithful living is not manifested by hastiness or impulsiveness. You’ll find yourself waiting, sometimes for years before God makes His will known and you will wait for Him.
  • It will be a faith increased and strengthened through trial. Difficulties and dark times come to all of us. When we Fear, Obey, Trust and Stay (Lean) on our God, our faith will become incredibly strong. See Isaiah 50:10.
  • In order for our faith to accomplish something, it must be a lively faith, as the flavor of mustard. It must be living, ever present and active. It must have an affect on what it comes in contact with.

“Faith is praying, waiting and expecting. It is not doing and expecting” — Rodger Copp, 2015

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