The Shadow Of Calvary Looms
As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” (v.20-21)
And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (v.22-24)
Application point 1: There are situations/seasons of life when the Lord appoints an obstacle in our way to develop our faith and/or put His power on display.
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive your trespasses. [But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses.] (v.25-26)
Application point 2: Be careful removing scripture from its context. An unforgiving spirit is a great hindrance to effective prayer. An unforgiving spirit blocks our prayers and isolates us from the blessing of His presence and awareness of His grace.
And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was talking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” (v.27-28)
Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” (v.29-30)
And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, from heaven, he will say, why then did you not believe him? But shall we say, From man?” they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. (v. 31-32)
So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (v.33)
Application point 3: They rejected Jesus just as they rejected John. And He rejected them.
-Our failures are a usual way God grows us, but often He appoints hardships for us to grow our faith, purify us, or protect us (perhaps even from ourselves).
-While v.24 appears to be a broad promise, it is contingent that we approach heaven, exercising faith with a humble forgiving spirit. Being right or getting right with our brothers and sisters!
-The Lord did not argue with His enemies. He did not seek to enlighten them. To them, He had nothing to say. Likewise, to the mockers and skeptics, we are not the ‘fixers’ of them all. We must be Spirit-led and filled. Recognize those He has given to us and move along from those He may appoint to others.