The disciples had come near to Jesus when they witnessed an impressive supernatural feat. Jesus had just become angry at a fig tree that had not borne any fruit when He was hungry. He had then cursed the fig tree so that it immediately withered like some stop-motion photography in an old science fiction movie. This event was so profound that the disciples questioned him about how this could happen. Jesus answered with a famous quote that usually goes dismissed among Christians today:
“He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Many people justify the reason they are not able to telekinetically move a mountain like in the movies is because Jesus must have been speaking in a metaphor, in hyperbole. However, such an explanation does not line up with the actual text of the Bible.
Think about it. Jesus did something supernatural. The disciples asked how he could affect the fig tree with his words. Jesus replied that they need the faith to believe it and to not doubt it, and it will be done, and they could do it too.
Certainly there is also a metaphorical meaning underneath the statement – such as, have faith and God will move metaphorical mountains for you – but this is not the thing Jesus was actually saying and it does not fit with the context of the sentence.
The disciples wondered how Jesus could physically do something supernatural to change the physical world. Jesus told them yes they can do it too. They only need enough faith. The part about the size of a mustard seed is probably metaphorical, since faith has no size and does not occupy space as far as we know. However, the part about also being able to wither a tree with your words, or even tell a mountain to be cast into the sea, was very literal, as this was a direct answer to a clear question.
In fact, we as Christians have a power that some may call divine. This is because this power is divine – it comes from God. Within us dwells the power of God, and we have the power to physically manifest changes in our material world with merely our words.
The ramification of this is that our words indeed have more power than we realize. Our words have the power of life and death, for Proverbs 18:21 says that “death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” This is a powerful statement, and goes to show how much power we have with our words.
Exercising supernatural power
People may be wondering then, why they do not have the power of telekinesis (moving things with your mind). The problem with this question, though, is that Jesus also did not have a power of telekinesis. Instead, Jesus had power that came from God, and this power was usually exercised though speech, and other times through touch. When Jesus commanded the storm to be quiet, it was with words. When Jesus healed people and cast out demons, he did so by speaking, not by a thought or wish.
We know that Jesus had power flowing through Him because the woman with the bleeding issue was healed by touching His cloak. Jesus felt power go out of Him, and asked, “who touched me?” He knew the power had gone into the woman, and it was transmitted by touch. Touch has great power, and the power of God can be interchanged through touch.
It was not only the body of the man Jesus, but also His clothes. The woman touched His cloak, not his leg. This also explains how He walked on the water. Likewise, it was not only Jesus, but also His disciples. When Peter got out of the boat, he could walk on water too – but only until he doubted.
Therefore, we know that there are two ways in which supernatural power is transferred – through speech, and through touch. However, the power can only be used when combined with faith.
One may wonder, why then, does someone who is crazy and believes they can fly jump off a building and not fly? There are several problems with this question. First, while we see this in movies, there is no evidence that anyone in real life has ever truly believed they can fly, even if crazy. Most likely, if someone really did jump off a building thinking they could fly, it was not by faith but rather either a broken mind (brain damage, and not faith), or demon possession, which is likewise not faith but rather deception.
We can do even greater things
When Jesus said that we could do these things and more, even greater things, with regards to supernatural feats and miracles, Jesus was again being literal. John 14:12 says,
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
There is another implication. When Peter walked on Water, Peter believed Jesus when Jesus said to step out of the boat. Perhaps the power which is given by faith is given directly by God. The Bible says in Mark 11:24:
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
This is a powerful statement. Jesus said that we will have what we ask for, if we believe that we will receive them. Perhaps this is why many prayers go unanswered. Have you ever prayed for something and truly believed that God will 100% give it to you, and then not had it? I doubt it, because based on what Jesus said, if you truly believe and do not doubt, then you will receive what you ask for.
Of course, there is another condition of an answered prayer: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:3). Therefore we can have what we want if we ask with full faith and the right motives.
But what about the power to move mountains? Perhaps this works the same. Perhaps if we have the right motives and full belief then we can indeed do supernatural feats. Perhaps the missing prerequisites is that people first of all do not believe they can do anything supernatural (thereby denying the power of God), and secondly also do so with ungodly motivations.
It does seem that when we add all this up, we actually have the power of God literally at our fingertips to do supernatural things that defy today’s scientific explanation (perhaps there is a scientific explanation that we simply do not know yet). It also seems like belief and motivation are the missing elements of prayer, when you ask for something but do not receive.
Let us try an experiment. Ask for something which God would consider holy (a spouse, perhaps), ask in the right motivation, and ask with full belief that God will deliver this thing you ask for. Will it be done? I certainly believe that it will. It may not be overnight, but Jesus also says that you must be persistent, like the parable of the man who knocked on his friend’s door at midnight, but only because of his persistence did the man get up to give what he needed (Luke 11).
As far as performing a supernatural feat, I believe we do have such power, and the only missing element is whether you really believe it’s possible, and you are doing so for the right reasons. There have been many credible reports of missionaries doing supernatural things and supernatural healings and even raising people from the dead. We can do the same, if we believe, and do not doubt.