Saturday, December 13, 2008
Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 21:18-32
In the morning, when Jesus returned to the city, he was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the side of the road, he went to it and found nothing at all on it but leaves. Then he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they were amazed, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?" Jesus answered them, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' it will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive."
“Some scholars believe that since the fig tree had leaves on it, from a distance it gave the appearance of being fruitful. But upon closer examination it became clear that there was no fruit on it at all. So perhaps Jesus' cursing of the fig tree was an acted-out parable that taught the disciples that God will judge those who give an outer appearance of fruitfulness but in fact are not fruitful at all. Matthew is very big about pointing fingers at those who are not righteous, or just—those with compassion.” Ron Rhodes
This passage has always troubled me—the scholars are also divided on how to read this passage. There are times when I have asked for the mountain to be moved and it has not happened. Do I then assume that I have either asked wrongly or without faith? No. I do not believe that is what Jesus means. I believe that in prayer we are changed. I must admit I do not ask for things in prayer. I ask that I may face whatever comes in faith. It claims then a co-creative position with God. It is this partnership in meeting the events of my life that makes all moments holy. It is in this holiness that mountains are moved even if they are metaphorical.