Friday, February 23, 2018
Thursday, February 22, 2018
Click Here to Read the Rest of Chapter 11
Here is yet another passage where we need to read carefully what Jesus is saying and what he is not saying. Importantly, we need to keep in mind the way Jesus taught and the methods he employed. One of Jesus' favorite teaching tools was called hyperbole. It was also a common tool rabbi's used to teach in the synagogue. Here is a brief quote:
"If we are still in doubt that hyperbole is a legitimate way to express truth, we can turn to the example of Jesus. Elton Trueblood shows in his book The Humor of Christ that the most distinctive feature of Jesus’ discourses is their use of exaggeration — the preposterous overstatement in the mode of “our conventional Texas story, which no one believes literally, but which everyone remembers.”6 G. K. Chesterton notes that “Christ had even a literary style of his own.…The diction used by Christ is quite curiously gigantesque; it is full of camels leaping through needles and mountains hurled into the sea.”
Can you imagine thinking that if you prayed for a mountain to be thrown into the sea and it didn't happen, you did not have enough faith? It is also good for us to know that in Jewish culture a mountain could represent a challenging situation.
Barclay says, "The phrase about removing mountains was a quite common Jewish phrase. It was a regular, vivid phrase for .”
So if we are fairly confident Jesus wasn't literally suggesting that we could throw mountains into the sea, what was he saying? How might we think of "mountain moving" prayer? First of all, whenever we pray, we are asking God to do something we cannot naturally do. And we pray because we trust that because God is all powerful he can in fact do anything He wants. We pray for people to be healed supernaturally, because many times traditional medicine has not brought healing. We pray to forgive others as we have been forgiven, because we know we can't do it on our own.
So in this sense, every prayer we offer in which we expect God do something we can't, is a "mountain moving" prayer. What we need most when we pray is faith. Faith that our mountain moving God will do what is right in answering our prayer in His time and in His way. Though your prayer may not "literally" move a mountain, it can make something happen that you could never do on your own.