20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”  [a] Footnote: Matthew 17:21 Some manuscripts include here words similar to Mark 9:29.
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In my opinion, the apostles did have some faith, but there were various situations where the seemingly impossible nature of a situation (from a human standpoint) or the extraordinary strength of the spiritual forces that were opposing them, caused their faith to waver or weaken, and planted doubts in their minds that made it impossible for them to speak or act with the assurance and authority required to accomplish what they were trying to do. Jesus had no such ambivalence, and wanted to impart the same confidence that He possessed to them. Also, as Jesus indicated in Matthew 17:21 (a verse inserted in the gospel by "other ancient authorities"), some actions or forces are so formidable that they require (for humans) the supplementing of faith with proper spiritual preparation (by such actions as prayer and self-denial through fasting), which there is no indication in the text that the apostles utilized.
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