Lesson 61

The Gospel According to Mark

World English Bible translation

11:19 When evening came, he went out of the city. 11:20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away from the roots. 11:21 Peter, remembering, said to him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered away."

11:22 Jesus answering said to them, "Have faith in God. 11:23 For most assuredly I tell you, whoever may tell this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and doesn't doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says happens; he shall have whatever he says. 11:24 Therefore I tell you, all things whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them. 11:25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions. 11:26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions."

Today's Lesson

After Jesus made His triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem, he spent the night in a small village on the outskirts of the city, Bethany. As Jesus was walking into the city with His disciples that next day, they saw a fig tree along the way. It was not the season that trees should be bearing figs, but this particular tree had leaves that were out of season. It had the look of a fruitful tree, but no fruit. So Jesus cursed the tree and declared that no one would ever eat figs from it again. This incident dramatized the relationship between God and the nation of Israel. Israel had the appearance of serving God, but no fruit of the Spirit.


The next day as the disciples came the same way they saw the fig tree. It was dramatically withered away and Peter remarked at the radical difference between one day and the next. Jesus could have told them why the tree was struck down. But instead He speaks to them about the one thing that they most needed: faith. He told them that if a man has faith, he can ask anything of God and God will give it to him. He told them that if a man has faith and tells a mountain to be cast into the sea, it would happen.


But, we don't see the sorts of things happening that Jesus talks about. Mountains have not been cast into the sea recently. But, there has also not been someone like Jesus of Nazareth that has walked the earth since then. Jesus performed great miracles while He was with us. The dead were raised. The blind were given sight. Jesus cleansed lepers and walked on the water. He told His disciples that these things were accomplished by faith. He is the only one who has ever accomplished all of these things. Will we believe what He has told us about faith?


He also told us that we are obligated to forgive others as well. If we are praying and we realize that we have anything against someone we know, we must forgive them. God is a God of forgiveness. If God is in our hearts, we will forgive those things that are done against us. If God were not merciful, none would be saved. We have all fallen short of His perfection. But God has broken into our lives. His presence is manifested in our hearts. If God is in us, we will be a forgiving people.


Do you have faith in God's presence in your life? Do you have faith in His willingness to forgive all the sins that you have committed against His holiness? If you believe that He did, how can you not forgive others when they wrong you?

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