And the apostles said to the Lord: Increase our faith. (Luke 17: 5)
After having traveled for a while the apostles of the Lord were gathered as a group, sharing their experiences and seeking advice.
While they were with the Lord, the Twelve made a clear and simple request, understanding what they needed and knowing what the Lord could do for them. And the apostles said to the Lord: Increase our faith. (Luke 17: 5)
How wonderful it is to see the humility of the Twelve, to understand their condition and to recognize the power of the Lord. That faith, when it matured, would be affirmed to faithfully follow Jesus and be witnesses of his redemption. They understood at that time that they could not serve effectively, unless they received divine help from the Savior.
Don't you think that serving in the kingdom of Jesus implies trusting, that is, having faith in Him, and that when a person who acts with faith is willing to endure the difficult demands of discipleship, only if he trusts in the Master?
Notably, the apostles recognized their need for genuine faith, while the detractors of the Lord did not, since the latter relied only on their limited knowledge.
Faith as a mustard seed
And the Lord said, If ye had afaith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (Luke 17: 6)
When reading this quotation, Jesus shows us two basic foundations: (1) a mustard seed is very small: from this observation, a person can progress spiritually by taking small steps of faith; (2) Faith manifests itself in the actions, of acting, and of doing it with enthusiasm and diligence. Faith without works is dead.
Jesus now invites us to look at the examples of plants and vegetation. By implication, he links the world of living vegetation to the exercise of faith.
In his words several possible meanings arise, including the observation that faith is a principle of action in which even seeds participate and that, therefore, a plant, once on earth, will grow unfailingly from a seed ; and the notion that the growing plant manifests a type of faith as it matures because it does not doubt that it will continue to become what it is destined to become.
Not by chance, Jesus chooses the smallest of the seeds to illustrate that he is not questioning the amount of one's faith, but the genuine quality of our faith.
The Lord's love pleading for His disciples
The Greek verb deō is related to 'union', probably with the expanded meaning that Jesus was with Peter, praying for him as his defender against the devil. With the singular pronoun, Jesus affirms that he prayed specifically for Peter. Knowing that the next few hours would not be kind to this man.
In the account of a conversation with the twelve disciples chosen on the American continent, the risen Lord declared saying: 'I have prayed among you [twelve]' (3 Nephi 18:16), emphasizing the fact of the prayers he offered for those twelve men, as well as others, including children.
All these stories, including Jesus' plea for Peter, are examples that we are not alone in our efforts to increase and strengthen our faith.
Jesus Christ is our intercessor and our advocate before the Father, and He will do his utmost to make us suffer nothing or as little as possible.
Once returned strengthen your brothers
In a matter of hours, Jesus would be arrested and meet his death as a common criminal, thus reducing any great messianic expectations among his followers, including Peter's. This shocking experience would test Peter's faith and personal relationship with the Savior.
The Greek verb epistrephō means 'to return' or 'to return' to the roots or to the faith. Peter and his fellow apostles would soon face an enormous test of their faith. The prayers of Jesus would help Peter, so that when his feet were firmly on the right path again, that is, when Peter returned, he should help (as he did) his companions the Twelve and others.
The year has just begun, it is a good time to reflect on our faith, and if necessary, we should apply the example of the Apostles of the Lord saying. Increase our faith.