The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Mark 11: 12-14; 20-26
We don’t often talk about it, but Jesus had a bit of a temper. I mean, He gets so angry that this out-of-season tree has no fruit that He curses it! A little bit of an overreaction, if you ask me. I would still like to know why. Jesus did everything with a purpose, and this seems wasteful to me.
Jesus says that if we completely believe we will receive what we ask for in prayer, it will be given to us. Believe with no doubts. Which seems sort of contrary to the “Thy will be done” part of prayer. I might ask for my burdens to be lifted, but God may know that it isn’t time yet. Maybe it is impossible to have this sort of doubtless faith unless you know what you’re asking for is in line with God’s will. But how can you know that? Prayer is a difficult thing for me, and I am full of doubts. Throwing a mountain into the sea just seems so ludicrously impossible to me. I believe God could do such a thing, but I don’t honestly believe that He would. Obviously this is why my prayers seem so often to go unanswered. I don’t have this sort of faith. I have a lot of growing to do.
I love that Jesus takes this opportunity to remind us of the completely unrelated topic of forgiveness. Because what good is the strongest of faiths if you can’t forgive those who have wronged you? Can you even have such a faith if you can’t forgive? It seems to me that if you really and truly believe that God forgives all sins, then you can’t help but forgive others. (discussed in more detail here)