As a good Rabbi, Jesus was always teaching. As good students (or slow learners) the disciples were always handing Jesus good teachable moments. In this morning’s Holy Week Email featuring the withered fig tree (Mark 11:20-25), we have just such an occasion.
Yesterday, a tired and frustrated Jesus cursed the tree, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again.” Today, as Jesus and the gang head to the Temple for the third day in a row, the disciples notice that the tree is not just without fruit, but it has withered to the roots. Not only has it lost its identity as a fig tree by not producing figs, but it is no longer even a tree, just a withered lump of wood. The disciples, despite everything they had seen Jesus accomplish over the past three years, are in awe of this new miracle, but, Jesus assures them, the miraculous is about to become common place.
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 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 him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
In the age of cancer, AIDS, and debilitating mental illness, I wish Jesus had never said these words, but as a disciple, trying my best to follow my Lord, I rejoice that, for God, even the impossible is possible. Mountains can be thrown into the sea and sins can be forgiven. For me, these seems to be on similar levels of amazingness.
As we move one day closer to the cross, what mountains are in the way of your faith? What sins have you left unforgiven? What stands in the way of abundant life? Pray that God might move them and move you to forgivness and joy, and amazing things will happen.