(Posted by Paige)
Here’s a whimsical Bible puzzle for you to bat around. These two verses have recently caught my attention and raised a handful of questions in my mind:
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:5-6)
Here are twelve of my many questions. Tackle any that interest you, too!
1. What did the disciples assume about faith?
2. Were they correct in their assumption?
3. What did they assume about Jesus?
4. What did they expect Jesus to accomplish for them?
5. Is Jesus’ response intended as an affirmation or a correction of their request?
6. What does Jesus imply about faith?
7. Why a mulberry tree? Is there any symbolism here?
8. Is Jesus describing something that might literally happen, or is he using poetic hyperbole?
9. If hyperbole, what’s his point?
10. Is this the same message that Jesus intends in Matt. 17:20 (“…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.”)
11. Why is this exchange recorded here in Luke (i.e., in this particular location in the Gospel)? Are the apostles reacting to something, or has Luke collected similar material together?
12. How is this exchange related to what has come before and what will follow?
Bonus question: What would you emphasize if preaching from this passage?