An online commenter has asked, are we not all “sons (children) of God,” and isn’t the point that we should all be “moving mountains” (Matthew 17:20). I will add, why not move mountains, if that is what Jesus taught us to do?
“For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
I rather doubt that Matthew 17:20 is a parable, that is, a “simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson,” rather, it is a teaching tacked onto a demonstration by Jesus of how to move mountains (Jesus removes a so-called “demon”).
Is Jesus a god and the only one to move mountains? It does no honor to the historical Jesus, a Jew, to make him into a Pagan god as many do today, and the Gospel, which draws its supposed legitimacy from the antiquity of Hebrew religion, does not make Jesus into a Pagan god, not exactly; rather just makes allusions to Pagan imagery, such as, virgin birth, bride and bridegroom, sacrifice of the god, resurrection, etc.
However, it would seem the Gospel is, at least at some level, really serious about the concept of resurrection. Probably it takes more than just dying to escape the misery of Samsara.
Jews know that their God is One and that is why they don’t subscribe to god-junior. Also, they know their Yahweh would never accept a human sacrifice. This deliberate?? error in the Gospel — of Jesus as a human sacrifice — lets the Jews know the Gospel is not for them. Rather the Gospel is crafted to impress the Pagans that are being lured into a supposed “monotheism” confected just for them and their tastes.
I think the following, from Daily Word April 28, 1997, while perhaps overly optimistic?? is a valid interpretation of Matthew 17:20-21: “ Spirit moves through me as the wisdom and strength to do what I need to do. In touch with the one Power in the universe, I realize unlimited potential. My goals are attainable, new ideas flood my mind, and I am guided to the right solutions. I welcome each day with joy and expectation, for I am lifted in spirit by my belief in the power of God to see me through. With faith, I believe that all things are possible.”
Most Biblegateway versions of Matthew 17:20 have Jesus say that his disciples fail at removing demons because they have “little faith.” However the Mounce interlinear says “poverty of . . . faith” instead. So what is this poverty that is an impediment to moving mountains? Perhaps it is a poverty of attitude that does not perceive the Love that is always for us, never opposed. The Love that is Abundance.
I never did like the interpretation that made for straining to try to have more and more faith, when all that is needed is to ‘let go and let God’ move that mountain.
The next verse (21) is relegated to a footnote by the NRSV as being of possibly later origin. It does seem overstated. It advises the reader to make a greater effort to achieve results by fasting. But Jesus’ formula for moving mountains is to have an attitude of gratitude. Could fasting result in greater clarity of mind so as to focus better on having gratitude for abundant goodness? I’ll tell you, when I fast, I have great clarity of mind visualizing the foods I crave.
Do I move mountains? Sure, all day long. Tons of them. Just molehills, really. But by the time I get through a day, I have moved so many molehills, the total volume approximates a mountain. So same thing. Besides most of these molehills seem like mountains.