By Janet Keefe
“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you.”Luke 17:6
“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you.” (Luke 17:6). Grammatically in this verse, faith is a noun. Nouns are defined as a “person, place, thing, or idea”. In this case, the noun “faith” is an idea. But what if faith in this verse was defined, not as an “idea”, but as an actual “thing”?
If that were the case, then faith would become a real, tiny object, perhaps the size of a mustard seed. Faith would be something that you can see and feel. It would take up a tiny bit of space, and have mass in this world. You could see faith, you could feel faith, you could hold faith in your hand. Faith would exist in this world as something solid and tangible. It may seem inconceivable, to take a concept like faith and make it physical.
And yet, a seed tinier than a mustard seed bore something even greater than faith. It bore hope. It reconciled us to God. This seed became the physical manifestation of God, made flesh. The idea, hope, was made flesh. Hope grew in the womb of a virgin. It existed in our world over two thousand years ago. It became a baby boy, a man, our Savior.
Jesus as an infant still seems inconceivable to me. God lying in Mary’s arms, while angels sing. Jesus who was “pleased as man with men to dwell”. Thinking of God taking on flesh is as far beyond my comprehension as my ability to reach my hand out and touch a star. Why would God become flesh?
Maybe, as with the example of the mustard seed, we need little bits of hope to hold onto, to give us faith. In our world, to touch and to see something is to know that it is real. And God wants us to know that faith, that hope, is real. He is real. His love for us is real. They aren’t just ideas. Even if “for now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”(1 Corinthians 13:12-13).
Jesus came so that we may have hope and have faith, but even greater than this, He came because of His unfathomable, vast, unending love for every one of us fickle, desperate, untrusting, fearful souls who struggle against Him as we walk this world. He was born and walked this world with us because, ultimately, God wants us to know Him and wants us to know how very much He loves us.