When evening came, they would go out of the city. As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.”

And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. Truly 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. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” (Mark 11:19–26)

God always gets his way, so if you want guaranteed success, then simply do what God wants. After the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples left and went to the nearby village of Bethany. As they approached, Jesus saw a fig tree and thought to get some figs from it. There were none. So Jesus cursed the tree to permanent fruitlessness.

The next day, the disciples discovered that the tree had died. Jesus took the opportunity to teach them something about faith, which of course had been his reason for cursing the tree. Jesus never did anything by accident.

During his lesson on faith, Jesus suggests that God will give us anything we want if we only have enough faith. Does Jesus therefore mean that the only thing standing between us and a new sports car is our doubt? Not exactly.

What could banish our doubts that a particular mountain would fly into the sea? If God came and told us to ask for it. And there is a mountain that Jesus asked us to cast into the sea. Jesus told us to forgive other people. We can pray for the promise he has given us. Praying for forgiveness is bigger than tossing a real mountain into the sea. The prophet Micah wrote, “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19) That’s the mountain Jesus was talking about.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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