The Disciples followed Jesus with a sense of excitement and amazement. They responded to Jesus’ leadership to the point of blind obedience. There were things they did not understand, but they were willing to follow Him no matter what. The three year course on Grace and its effect on human nature caused them to experience the valleys and mountains of emotional responses. Their reactions to Jesus’ teachings and miracles were expressions of both bewilderment and joy. Jesus witnessed their emotional responses to life and by His tough love He continued to teach them. He would verbally chastise them for their lack of faith or their hardened hearts. They would see a miracle, but within days they would forget its significance. The Disciples took part in the feeding of the five thousand and witnessed a miracle, but within a short time, when confronted with four thousand hungry people, their memory bank had no recall of the previous miracle of the feeding of the multitudes. Sometime later, Jesus rebuked them because of their hardened hearts, and sternly questioned their lack of understanding of His power to provide. (Mark 8:17-21) As one studies the Scriptures, (that have not been underlined!) one will be brought into an awareness of the shallow faith of the Disciples. Whenever they were with Jesus, they walked with the assurance that their faith was in full operating mode. However, when they were not with Jesus, their reasoning overshadowed their faith. In fact, even after His resurrection when He appeared to them in the Upper Room, He rebuked them because of their unbelief and hardness of heart. (Mark 16:14) There is a tremendous similarity between the Disciples and Believers today.
When we are around other Believers, our Faith is manifested for all to see. But when away from other Christians or spiritual surroundings, we display a different action that is built upon feelings instead of faith. When the Disciples could not heal a young boy, they sought out Jesus and asked Him what they were doing wrong. Jesus simply told them it was because of their unbelief. It seems that these men were resting on the faith of Jesus and not their own faith. When it came time to initiate their faith, they failed miserably. What Jesus was telling them was that their verbal faith was active, but the root of their faith was almost non-existent. Verbal faith talks about belief, but displays little or no results. Jesus told them that if they had the least amount of faith (mustard seed) they would be exposed to unlimited possibilities. They would be able to move obstacles from their paths. I can just hear Jesus’ compassionate voice telling them that nothing was impossible to those who had true faith. (Matthew 17:20) How many of us know all about Faith, but when we need to exercise that faith, we revert to feelings and emotions. To counter that action, we get together with other Believers and “piggy back” on their faith.
When the Disciples failed to bring about healing to this young boy, the father sought out Jesus. Jesus simply told him if he believed, all things were possible. I can see Jesus looking at His men as he said this, hoping they were hearing what He was saying. The man responded (with tears flowing down his face) that he, in fact, believed, but needed help with his unbelief. (Mark 9:24) We have many Christians today that verbalize that they have faith, but when push comes to shove; their faith is useless to their “mountain” situations. All Believers are given a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3) We then have the responsibility to develop that faith into an action of extraordinary power. One way to grow that seed faith is through hearing the Word of God and then watering it with our obedience. (Romans 10:17) The more we feed the faith seed, the more growth we experience, and the more potential for “mountain moving” results. Eventually, when situations arise, we will be able to initiate our faith to the point of displaying God’s Word with assurance. It is more than saying we have faith; it is displaying what we proclaim. Self-initiating faith is not contingent on the faith of others, but it is based on our own initiative to face whatever situation presents itself.