Have you ever wondered why Jesus said that, with faith, you could make a mountain move? After all, why would anyone want to move a mountain, or is it just an analogy for any obstacle in the way of our life? Now this understanding is, no doubt, relevant, but could it be that the specific words that Jesus used had a deeper meaning for his hearers on that day?
Pondering this recently, I remembered a place I had visited in Israel some years ago. It was the ruins, partly excavated, of a grand palace called Herodion, which as its name suggests was named by Herod the Great, its builder, to give himself all the glory. Herod the Great was a man of enormous power, and made this clear to everyone by constructing several magnificent palaces, some of which he never actually visited, full of mosaic floors and rich ornamentation.
Specifically, the palace at Herodion was built to celebrate a great victory over the Parthians around 40BC, and to declare Herod’s influence and might. But what is most significant about Herodion is that, to construct it, Herod moved a mountain. Well, to be precise, his multitudes of slaves moved a mountain, by demolishing a nearby hill, and artificially building up a round, steep-sided hill of Herod’s own design, at the edge of the desert, 8 miles from Jerusalem. It had intricate chambers in the hill and internal water storage to store water piped in from many miles away.
So, when Jesus says that faith like a mustard seed will move a mountain, I wonder if those first disciples, in whose lifetime the earth-moving power of Herod the Great had been clearly demonstrated, were understanding something of a practical example of victorious power and influence that we might miss today.
Possibly Jesus was using these specific words to remind them of a physical example of what is possible for a powerful, earthly king, to fulfil his desires and bring himself glory. Jesus was saying, if Herod can do that, then your God, the great King over all things, is even more powerful. And, what’s more, His mountain-moving power is available through our simple, and possibly even miniscule, faith.
After all, if Herod the Great could desire to move a mountain and accomplish this for his own aggrandisement, then surely God can do whatever He desires to bring glory to His Own Righteous Name. We only need to believe that this is possible.
Prayer: Father God, I know Your word tells me that nothing is impossible for You, and, if You wanted to, You could move a mountain. Help me to be real about my level of belief in Your ability to fulfil Your desires on earth, and to increasingly grasp that even my very weak and small faith in You will in some way help You to fulfil Your desires on earth. I pray this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
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