19th June 2023
Read - Mark 11:20-33
Message Alan Burke
If you can think back to last week we had Jesus journeying to Jerusalem with the disciples and on the way they come to a fig tree that was in leaf and Jesus cursed it (If you want to know why look back to last Monday’s devotion). I would say the disciples hardly had time after the cursing of the fig tree to give it a second thought, for after that Jesus went to the temple courts, he if it was one of the wains we’d call it a tantrum but it was anything but. Jesus cleared the temple, he drove out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. Then he said “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”
It’s now the next day and Jesus after leaving for the night returns, they are taking the same route as the day before and then we have Peter in surprise saying; “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”. It’s hardly that surprising after all Jesus had done many miracles before this. Also notice how most translations being this section, they say something like “The lesson from the fig tree”, but there is no lesson given about the fig tree, or from the fig tree, it’s just a lesson and Jesus uses what Peter has said as a teaching opportunity. Now that we’ve noted that there is one thing that I want to draw out of this passage for us, I know it’s not the thrust of the passage or what Jesus goes on to teach about but it is a reminder for all of us.
Think to that comment of Peter, how he remarks in surprise that the fig tree has withered. Like come on Peter, seriously this guy had been with Jesus for there years, he had seen many things that we can barely imagine and he is still left surprised by the cursing of the fig tree. If there was anyone you would expect to be surprised it would be Peter, Peter the disciples who was the first to confess in the gospel that Jesus was the Christ. And what Jesus says in response to his surprise is to say ““Have faith in God”
Have faith in God, that is what Peter was to have, faith, that is what the rest of the disciples were to have, that is what they must have. While it is spoken to the disciples it is true of all, we are to have faith in God.
I know lots of people who talk about faith, they say that they have faith in God, but Jesus is not talking about some abstract belief that there is a God, after all the heavens declare that there is a God so we are all without excuse, creation reveals to us that there is a God. Although today for many they have replaced the Glory of the God who made creation with creation itself, instead of worshiping the creator they worship the creator.
But here Jesus is emphasising the necessity of faith in the one true God, the God of the scriptures. Faith is what is necessary, faith that lives accordingly, faith that is founded on who Jesus is and what he has done, faith seeks to bow the knee in all our lives to the Lord our God.
Q76 Which is the ninth commandment?
The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. (Exod. 20:16)