Jesus says quite a few times that if you have enough faith you can do anything.

Matthew 21:21

Jesus replied, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.

Luke 17:6

He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.

He's talking to his apostles, but who is Jesus addressing when he says "you"?

Does Jesus suggest that we can do those miracles today,
was that something his apostles could do back in the times of Christ,
or is this a parable of the forgiveness of sins?

  • 3
    Have you read Acts? The apostles did indeed do many miracles. The debate is usually about whether or not God intends to do miracles through us today.
    – curiousdannii
    May 12, 2014 at 21:01
  • 2
    Personal opinion, but yes, I have heard of many miracles still done today, and there is no reason to believe that the Holy Spirit today is any different than He was 2,000 years ago. Though I haven't personally yet seen the specific types of miracles in the Gospels or Acts, I have seen miracles in my life that I can't explain any other way than to point to God. I probably wouldn't be a Christian today if God hadn't personally drawn me in that way. God's agenda isn't to prove He exists by doing magic tricks, but if it's truly helpful in drawing you to Him, He might work that way.
    – user991
    May 12, 2014 at 21:17
  • 1
    @curiousdannii No I have not read Acts yet, I'm working towards it. It's mentioned in the gospels too that the apostles we're able to do miracles. Yes, basically my question was if that is still valid today.
    – user4136
    May 13, 2014 at 9:07
  • Very good and insightful question unless there was a miracle at work in you picking exactly those two verses. May 13, 2014 at 11:41
  • @gideonmarx Well I'm currently reading Luke, and I've just read Matthew, which is why I chose them.
    – user4136
    May 13, 2014 at 11:45

4 Answers 4


As you intimate in your question, the Luke passage concerns forgiveness. The apostles found it hard to believe it possible they could forgive a brother who sins against them seven times in a single day, even if he repents each and every time. After Jesus told them they must nevertheless forgive the sinning brother, they said to Jesus,

"Lord, increase our faith" (17:5).

Jesus then teaches them it's not the size of faith that matters. Even small faith can accomplish great things. Why, a 30-foot tall mulberry tree, which by nature has an elaborate and extensive root structure, could be uprooted and planted in the sea by a simple faith-based command.

By implication, Jesus was saying that extending forgiveness is not a matter of faith at all. Rather, it is a simple act of obedience to their Lord.

Jesus then goes on to expand His teaching by drawing an analogy involving a slave and a master. Allow me to paraphrase Jesus' words:

When a slave comes in after a hard day's work, be it plowing or tending sheep, does the master say, "Hey, my friend, seems like you've had a rough day. Sit down, relax, put your feet up, and have a nosh"? Of course not! The master has every right to tell the slave to prepare his master's meal, change into some clean clothes, and then come and serve the food to him. When the master is full and satisfied, then--and only then--is the slave free to get a bite to eat.

Moreover, the master isn't obligated to say "Oh, thank you ever so much, my man, for serving me so unselfishly!" Why? Because the slave was merely doing his duty. In the same way, by forgiving a brother who sins against you, you are simply performing your duty to me, and I, Jesus, your lord and master am telling you to forgive.

In other words, the import of this passage has nothing to do with miracles. Frankly, uprooting a tree and planting it in the ocean is not a miracle; it's more like a stunt. Jesus is clearly using hyperbole to get His point across about the importance of forgiveness.

". . . and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors . . ."

as Jesus taught us to pray.

To summarize, the Luke passage is not about miracles, although an argument could be made that forgiveness is a mini-miracle in its own right!

As for the Matthew passage: again, it is not about miracles. Jesus uses the "moving of the mountain" as hyperbole to underscore the more important lesson concerning prayer. It's as if His "argument" is as follows:

"So you think my cursing of the fig tree is a big deal? Hardly. The fig tree is small potatoes compared to a mountain, and undoubting faith can move mountains. Just practice believing prayer and whatever you ask you will receive. Now that's something to be amazed about!"

Neither passage you cite is about miracles. This is not to say God is no longer in the miracle-working business. Far from it.

You said something quite telling in your question, however:

". . . we can do miracles today?"

We cannot do miracles. Only God does miracles. Furthermore, His miracles are not flashy and pointless tricks such as uprooting trees and moving mountains. His true miracles, such as healing, for example, have a purpose, and that is to draw people to Himself in loving relationship.

In conclusion,

"But [Jesus] answered and said unto them, 'An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold , a greater than Jonas is here'" (Matthew 12:39-40 KJV).

Is it wrong, then, to want to see God perform miracles in the 21st century? No, not necessarily, as long as we remember that the greatest miracle of all occurs when a sinner repents and is forgiven, fully and freely, by Jesus! Now that's something amazing!

  • That is exactly what I've though! Thanks for this great answer! Do you know any article that go deeper into this direction?
    – user4136
    May 13, 2014 at 20:14
  • Ps. I will wait and see if there are any more opinions on this topic, and I'll accept your answer then.
    – user4136
    May 13, 2014 at 20:15
  • @NSAddict: To your first question, no. I do, however, like the NET Bible for its footnotes and Constables Notes. I recommend them highly. Sometimes simply opening up the context of a verse to include what comes before it and what comes after it is a good place to start. Also, if a passage has a parallel (or parallels) with another Gospel, then placing it (or them) side by side is a good way to get the "complete picture." A good harmony of the Gospels is a good place to start in this regard. I use Orville E. Daniels' A HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS (NIV), but I'm sure there are others. Don May 14, 2014 at 16:44

In Matt 21, he was talking to those disciples that were with him. He was giving them a lesson about faith and doubt and that they can see those same results.

In Luke 17 it would appear he was also talking directly to his disciples but there were a lot of people about the place.

Is that the end of the story? no.

Does Jesus suggest that we can do those miracles today? I believe he does

Firstly, the 12 original Apostles were not the only ones doing miracles. There were others who were sent out to do so. See Luke 70. Jesus commisions 70 to go out and... "And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." - Luke 10:9. And they did because they came back with a good with Joy saying even the devils are subject to them.

However, John 14 makes it pretty clear. The only qualifier is believe on Jesus. What were the works he was doing? healing the sick, casting out devils, raising the dead.

12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

13 And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.

Also the great commission in Mark 16 "go into all the world"... The only qualification is that signs will follow those who believe. Some would argue that he's saying "those disciples" that were with him. In that case, why preach the gospel since by that logic Jesus only told those disciples to do so. No this is for those that believe.

17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they[a] will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

There is also an argument going around that says we have the whole bible so therefore we don't need miracles today. And the bible verse that is used to back that up is:

1 Corinthians 13:8 - "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."

The claim is that that which is perfect is come and his name is Jesus and he's said on the cross - it is finished, therefore miracles are no longer needed. However, this doesn't make sense. Tongues have not ceased, prophesies are not failing and I'm sure everyone would agree knowledge is actually on the increase.

Nope, miracles are definitely for today and I've witnessed some big ones.

I should clarify. Without God we're nothing. We can't do anything. It's God doing the miracle, but he uses people. He works through people.

  • Seen any mountains throwing themselves into the sea? Or mulberry trees walking to the beach? 'Those' are the miracles being asked about. Check the question. I am down-voting. Neither Jesus, nor his disciples, nor any other human has ever thrown a mountain into the sea, unless a very (very very) small mountain is meant. And that means Jesus has been seriously misunderstood. The two verses are from passages that are incredibly difficult to understand. All the explanations I have heard had lots of leaves but little fruit from people that expect thanks to come their way. May 13, 2014 at 11:39
  • 1
    That's why it doesn't work for you. Because of your unbelief. What mountains do you need moved in your life? I've seen mountains move (not literal mountains) but large problems that put a halt on ours and others plans. Have you ever seen a guy throw away his crutches? or someone walk normally who before hand a limp and a piece of metal in his foot after a simple prayer? What about a guy who had terminal cancer and given a few months to live stand up in church and declare that the doctors couldn't find the cancer anymore. And he's still alive today. I have. There are miracles alright.
    – hookenz
    May 13, 2014 at 22:24
  • It has never worked for you either and you miss the entire lesson. Jesus meant real mountains. Real trees. Let's see you (or anybody else) with your faith throw Mount Hermon into the sea. Not going to happen. Jesus was trying to teach that there is a line that cannot be crossed. That we should not try to cross. We cannot get more and more faith. We must carry on doing the good work without reward or even the hope of reward. The servant must be faithful and serve the master. Not wish for faith that will allow him to conjure up a Ferrari. May 14, 2014 at 8:44

1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

The emphasis of the Bible is as much God reaching the sinner as it is God keeping the saints. A method by which he achieves both is the supernatural. Its difficult to identify the actual supernatural in our day because we live in societies governed by rationality which precludes anything which is not materialistic. As the previous answer describe in detail its easy to write of miracles in the church as a moralistic lesson rather than a supernatural happening.

Act 3:12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

Act 3:13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.

However I believe that miracles (like trees and mountains literally moving and spiritual things including the new birth) are still a part of the Church even if I can't find them. I don't need to see to believe and I don't need to make it a moral lesson because I don't understand. I believe that miracles and healings are flashy light shows to draw people to Christ. Just like Paul and Peter so describe in the Holy Word.

  • I recognise that some chosen people were able to do miracles in the times of Christ. I also see that Jesus promised us that a true follower will be able to achieve anything. I think the general idea here is that a true follower of Christ will desire only Christ, and desiring him is enough to be saved, which is the only thing that really matters. God will not perform miracles to prove anything to people, so why perform those truly pointless miracles like moving mountains or uprooting trees?
    – user4136
    May 13, 2014 at 20:41
  • Hebrews 2:4 Mark 16:20 Acts 14:3 @NSAddict
    – user4060
    May 13, 2014 at 20:44
  • @NSAddict if one person is born again as a result of a tree or mountain moving it was not pointless
    – user4060
    May 13, 2014 at 20:46
  • Ok, I see what you are saying.
    – user4136
    May 13, 2014 at 20:54

God has given me the gift of miracles, so I will explain to you how in the future you can use this faith to also do miracles and Anyone reading this will be able to do miracles in his name. So some quick pointers:

God has a temple and it is a person Acts 2:17 NKJV

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.

A prayer is a question. The difference between asking a person (let us use Bob for an example) and asking Jesus is the name. Now I declare to you that Gods name is Holy and does not have to be used.

Example Prayer to Bob: Bob, can you pass me the salt?

Example Prayer to Jesus with silent usage: Can you pass me the salt?

Now I declare to you a noticeable restraint so that the understanding will become seen. I have seen a woman call out in church to another by name for example we will name her Ruth because of my memory. Something like (Ruth do you know when the meeting is tomorrow?) The spirit was moved and many felt the urge to answer the question, for the desire was for the spirit to give the answer. And many urged forward to answer but held back the answer out of respect for Ruth. Meanwhile Ruth was busy in conversation, and the group awaited Ruth's response. Eventually the Word was Angeled to Ruth, and the questioner got the Word through Ruth.

Therefore the difference that was to be pointed out was that instead of "Bob, shovel up this mountain and toss it in the sea." Authority is given when the Word says, "This mountain needs shoveled up and tossed into the sea."

Instead of "Bob, pull up this tree and toss it into the Ocean." Authority is given when the Word says, "This tree needs pulled up and tossed into the Ocean."

Instead of "Little Suzy, clean up this room." Authority is given when the Word says, "This room is messy and needs cleaned up."

When the kitchen is active try "The salt needs put on the table." or "The dishes need washed." or "The table needs set." or "The oven needs preheated to 350." or "The refrigerator needs cleaned." Now do not be surprised if the Word responds with "Well go do it!" or "Get it yourself!" or "It's your turn to wash the dishes!" For we have been called to be servants. If that is the Case work like you are working for the Lord =).

Instead of "Billy, give me your toy." Authority is given when the Word says in weakness confessing the sin, "I want to play with that toy."

Yes you could pray "Jesus, I want to play with that toy." Yet few understand the real meaning about using the name in vain, so incorrect correction my come. So silence usage of the name is acceptable. Followed by a "Thank you Jesus". For all good gifts come from God(James 1:17), and let us thank him in what we do!

For the flesh is in opposition to the Word, but the Word and the Spirit are bound by Love.

In your excitement if you wish to comment on your future experiences of peace, love, and joy below. I feel it would be nice to have recorded some actions that God does through people so that Doubt and Denial can be a thing of the past. Amen.

Now also as a note: It is good for a woman to have a man ask the spirit for her.

Like my wife saying "Jeff, can you get the kitchen ready?" Then calling out my set of prayers "I need the kids down here." then when they show up. "That table needs set." "The oven needs preheated to 350." "are you having trouble getting those?".

For it is God's glory to service man, as it is Man's glory to service woman, as it is the hair that is woman's glory. It is not good that a Man ask a woman to pray to the spirit for him. For God can do it for the woman, but he chose to do it for the man. And the needs should be the same because they are one-flesh.

1 Corinthians 11:7-10 NKJV

7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

  • This suggests that we can't actually perform miracles, unless they are a necessity, which I'm pretty ok with. The thing is that it's hard for us to understand what is the will of the Lord and what is not. It's more about what I should think of others that are performing miracles, and if we can trust them or not. Thank you for your input!
    – user4136
    May 13, 2014 at 20:58
  • If you think there's a formula you can invoke the power of God then you must be wrong. That's not how God works!
    – curiousdannii
    May 13, 2014 at 21:11
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    I'm sorry, but this answer is very wordy, and almost incomprehensible, to me at least.
    – Benjol
    May 15, 2014 at 9:00

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