Mark 11:20-26 NASB
²⁰As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up.
²¹Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.”
²²And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God.
²³Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.
²⁴Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.
²⁵Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.
²⁶[But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.]
Jesus has always warned his people against a belief that consists of empty forms or traditions only.
After the captivity in Babel, a movement arose in Israel that we know as Phariseeism. This movement urged that God’s laws be applied in daily life as literally as possible.
The so-called ‘statutes’ were also created around God’s laws, which were to keep people from breaking those laws. However, this did not lead to faith in the sense of genuine, deep communion with the Lord, but to forms that were obeyed without conviction (Compare Luke 11:37-54).
Jesus replied: ‘Have faith in God! (Mark 11:22).
That is: trust firmly in God’s supernatural activity.
The withered fig tree is to Jesus the image of this lifeless observance of rigid precepts, while living faith produces communion with the living God.
That community is nourished by God’s Word.
That faith will therefore bear fruit to the glory of God and be a strength in our lives as believers.
Through the action of His Spirit, God’s Word will affect every situation in which we live in this world. That is faith that moves mountains (Mark 11:23,24)
Thus, the name of the Lord is honored as the living and working God (Matthew 5:16).
The mountain in this text may have referred to either the Mount of Olives or the Temple Mount; ‘the sea’ probably referred to the Dead Sea, which was visible from this place in the distance.
Conditions have been set for this working and functioning faith.
God has opened up new possibilities for us through the Atonement He made in His Son. We have entered a new state of life through faith in the Atonement (Romans 5:1-11).
Faith is essentially assuming that it is God’s reality that He gives us. He who enters the sheepfold through me will go in and out and find pasture, says Jesus on behalf of his Father (John 10:9).
If that life wants to grow in us from faith, it does not only require surrender and dedication to Jesus. It also calls for cleansing our relationships with others (Mark 11:25, 26; Compare Matthew 5:23, 24).
Then God’s Word and Spirit get the upper hand in our lives.
In that way we remain in Jesus and our lives bear fruit. (John 15: 7,8)
Question for self-reflection
▪︎ What do you see as fruits of faith?
▪︎ Thank the LORD for being the Source of Life.
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