Intro: Before we begin our passage from the gospel of Mark, we need to bring the events into context. Jesus has been in Bethany [meaning House of Afflicted] and is making his triumphant entry through the Mount of Olives [symbolic of entering the holy of holies] and into the holy city of Jerusalem or Mount Zion—the City of Peace/Wholeness. Jerusalem is the appointed holy place where God promises to meet with his human family to heal them and make them whole/complete. Jesus is God’s prophesied and ultimate plan and gift for bringing that wholeness. Jesus walks into the Temple [which is to represent heavenly realities on earth], looks around and then returns to Bethany.
The next morning Jesus decides to go back to the Temple, but he plans to teach the disciples some important spiritual truth along the way. Lesson #1: Jesus is afflicted by hunger and he sees a fig tree nearby, so he draws near to inspect it. He anticipates fruit, but all he finds are leaves. Lesson #2: Jesus curses the fruitless fig tree and it withers from the roots up. Lesson #3: Jesus heads to the Temple and notices the money changers and the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices and he judges the Temple, “My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” (11:17).
The faith we are instructed to have must be undivided. In Christ, we believe our prayers connect heaven and earth to make sin afflicted people whole. Believers are to connect hungry or seeking people to the Savior—the Tree of Life. Like the fig tree, the Temple had the appearance of caring for the souls of people, but it was barren of righteousness fruit, so it robbed them of the salvation God actually intended. Lastly, Jesus wants faith-driven prayer to be the avenue for wholeness, because he is the Healer and his sacrifice is enough for the world.
Mark 11:20-24 (TPT)
Lessons of Faith
20 In the morning, they passed by the fig tree that Jesus spoke to and it was completely withered from the roots up. 21 Peter remembered and said to him, “Teacher, look! That’s the fig tree you cursed. It’s now all shriveled up and dead.”
22 Jesus replied, “Let the faith of God be in you! 23 Listen to the truth I speak to you: Whoever says to this mountain with great faith and does not doubt, ‘Mountain, be lifted up and thrown into the midst of the sea,’ and believes that what he says will happen, it will be done. 24 This is the reason I urge you to boldly believe for whatever you ask for in prayer—be convinced that you have received it and it will be yours.
Prayer: Lord, I pray for your wholeness and faith to rest in me. May I be a holy instrument that brings wholeness to the souls of your people by connecting them to the Savior. In Jesus’ name Amen.