The Faith to Move Mountains

Text: Matthew 17:14-21

On this occasion, a man came to Jesus requesting that He cast a demon out of his son. He first brought his son to Jesus’ disciples. They could not cure him, but Jesus was able to do so immediately. Afterward, Jesus’ disciples asked Him why they could not cast out this demon. Jesus’ answer provides an important lesson about faith.

A Misconception

  • Faith that’s strong enough to move mountains & able to make all things possible is a powerful & appealing thought – but many miss the point of this passage
  • Many have the concept of faith that if we believe sincerely & pray hard enough, then anything can happen – this is not Jesus’ point here
  • Sincere & fervent prayer may not result in the outcome we desire (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) – the requests that are granted are those that are according to His will (1 John 5:14-15)
  • It’s certainly true that God has the power to do anything He chooses to do (Psalm 33:6,9; Ephesians 3:20) – but this is not about what God has the power to do; it is about believing what the Lord told His disciples they should expect Him to do

The Context

  • The disciples were unable to cast out this particular demon because of their lack of faith (Matthew 17:20) – the problem was that they ignored what the Lord had already promised regarding the casting out of demons
  • The disciples had previously been instructed to “cast out demons” (Matthew 10:8) – they should have known that the Lord had granted them the power to cast out demons; this understanding would have been based upon the Lord’s explicit instructions
  • Remember where faith comes from (Romans 10:17) – the disciples should have had faith that they could cast out this demon because they had received word from Christ that they had been given the ability to do it
  • Lesson for us – we need to believe that God will do what He has said He will do & deliver on His promises; that which is revealed in His word is what we can, and must, accept by faith


  • The disciples should have had enough faith in the Lord & His word that they could cast out this demon; it was for this lack of faith they were rebuked – in the same way, we must have faith to understand that we can do what the word of God says we can do
  • We can be saved (Hebrews 11:6) – despite sin & punishment (Romans 3:23; 6:23); but we must have faith & do what He commands (Hebrews 5:9)
  • We can overcome sin (1 Corinthians 10:13) – God promised that every temptation can be overcome; we must have faith that this is true, then find & take the way of escape
  • We can do all things (Philippians 4:13) – whatever challenging circumstances exist, if we are faithful to the Lord, we will be able to handle the trials of life & continue to follow Him

When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on Hope, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Road Trip.