18 In the morning, when he returned to the city, he was hungry. 19 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. 20 When the disciples saw it, they were amazed, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” 21 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. 22 Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.”Matthew 21: 18-22
Matthew’s gospel records this interaction on Monday in Holy Week as Jesus returns to Jerusalem after presumably staying in Bethany at the home of Lazarus. As Jesus is spending his last few days with the disciples before his death and resurrection, he is reinforcing important teachings and promises that they will need for the soon to be mission of making disciples.
The first lesson for the week…
Ask and it will be given. Have faith and you will move mountains. John’s gospel even records Jesus saying to the disciples that they will do greater things than he did. The work of Jesus will not be denied. His power, as given by the Holy Spirit, will be available to the disciples after Jesus is ascended back to heaven.
Jesus wants them to know that they will have access to the same power Jesus did. The days ahead will shake the foundations of their faith as they see Jesus betrayed, tortured, and killed. Jesus knew that they would need a reminder before and afterwards so they would remain faithful and strong.
What are the reminders in your life that keep you strong in your faith? It is the weekly service of worship or times of prayer and study? Do you draw strength from a past event in your life where God saw you through to the other side stronger, wiser, and more in love with him? Whatever it is for you, I praise God with you for God’s faithfulness to you and through you. Remember, the Lord is more willing to hear than we are to pray; more willing to forgive than we are to confess; and more willing to act on our behalf than we are to ask.
Be bold in your prayers. Be strong in your faith. You and I have a Father in heaven who spared no expense to show us love and will move heaven and earth to make sure we are with him for eternity.