I see a picture of a beautiful flower – on its petal is a drop of dew – perfectly formed – clear as crystal – sparkling in the Sun.
“ This is a picture of My sustenance of the world – in billions of ways I am feeding and sustaining the whole of My creation – most of this goes unnoticed, but I give it freely. Just think of the air you breathe – the oxygen is vital for you life, as are all the other gases and substances – it is free – most people take it for granted until it is threatened by pollution. All over the world people are fighting over what I have given freely – as if it belongs to them. Recognize this, I don’t expect you to jump through a lot of hoops to receive from me – I give – all I seek is that you humble yourself under My mighty hand, look up to me and rejoice and be glad in Me – appreciate Me – that is how I am glorified and that is when I enjoy you the most“.
As we continue now with the exciting story of the disciples’ recognition of Jesus as Messiah in ch 16 (Matthew), there is a huge amount to learn. I just want to pick up on one or two points, which really struck me as I soaked myself in this passage this week.
The words of Jesus in 16:24 are the clearest depiction of what repentance means. Can you see the full depths of what He is saying? Taking up your cross means putting to death your old life, and then obeying His call to go in a new direction as you follow Him. Repentance is a vital part of our walk with God. We cannot follow our own path and God’s path at the same time. So we are called initially to repent when we start following Jesus, but we are also called to continue repenting daily, as this battle of following our own way rages within us. Now the point that struck me this week was; to be told to repent and follow Jesus in a vacuum would just result in a legalistic self-focused action. We see here the vital link in the chain, however. It is when they see Jesus for who He really is, that it becomes a natural action to want to turn and follow Him. His glory and beauty are the focus that causes them to be prepared to put their old life behind them and to follow Him unreservedly.
The key then to true repentance lies in the revelation, understanding and appreciating of Jesus for who He is and what He has done. At this stage the disciples still have to find out what the last part of that sentence was going to mean to Jesus and to them and therefore their repentance was not complete yet, as they followed a Saviour who they were still going to have to discover much more about, His humility and the road to victory.
What about faith? Last time I showed how important faith is in the very understanding of who Jesus was/is. Faith continues to be the vital link between ourselves and Jesus/God. The ingredient which makes all this come alive. Now here is the second point I realized this week. That is the point of the parable Jesus tells while they descend from the mountain after the transfiguration
Explanations of the meaning of the story of the mustard seed and the mountain have never really satisfied me in the past. So I sat at Jesus’ feet and said I am listening Lord, what is the point of that parable? What is the story of wanting to move a mountain? Then it came to me -look at vs 20 of Ch 17 with me. The key word in that vs is the word “size“, not the word mountain. Jesus tells the parable following His observation/rebuke earlier in that vs, “because of your little faith”. It was their lack of faith that had been the cause of their failure to drive out the demon from the little boy. It is to explain what He meant by that statement that He tells the parable. To show how powerful faith is He compares the size of faith needed – maybe a mm or two, to the size of a mountain, several thousand meters high. Typical Jesus hyperbole to make His point.
Can you see the point now? It is not actually your faith that moves the mountain, it is the One you have faith in. The question is, “in whom are you putting your faith”? You see Jesus/God has infinite power and can move a mountain with no effort, if He should please. It does not depend on how much faith we can generate, it depends on the One you are trusting in. Faith, as little as a mustard seed is all that is required from us. The question is who are you trusting in? Are you perhaps trusting in yourself to generate enough faith to get the result? Are you hedging your bets with some other solution? Are you prepared to get out of the boat to walk on the water, or is your one foot still in the boat, just in case?
Can you trust Jesus no matter how big the mountain before you is? Well, up to now in this gospel, Jesus has demonstrated His almighty power with one amazing miracle after the other and that is just the beginning. We have so much more history to look back on.
Faith is the essential ingredient of our relationship with Jesus, however we must not focus on our faith We must keep our eyes on the one whom we have faith in. Learn to know Him better and see Him in the light of His glory and repentance and faith will flow from that as surely as water flows from a bubbling fountain.
Is this not hugely releasing? Focus rather on Jesus and the Father and get to know them better through the Spirit and the word. When the mountain is in the way turn then and face the One you have come to know better and better over time. Be completely comfortable with the fact that He has a far better grasp of your situation than you could ever have. Faith as small as a mustard seed in the One bigger than he universe. Stop being double-minded. Focus your trust in Him alone.