Thursday, December 23, 2010

Did He Mean It?

Therefore I tell you, all the things you pray and ask for – believe that you have received them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:26)

Did Jesus really mean what He just said above? Let’s think our way through it.

The statement above came in the context of the cursing of the fig tree the day after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus led His disciples into Jerusalem that morning. He saw the fig tree with leaves on it, so He went to get some figs because He was hungry. But there were no figs, since it wasn’t the season for figs. So He cursed the fig tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” Jesus went into the city and then cleansed the temple. Then He and His disciples departed. The next morning on the way to the city, they saw the fig tree, withered from the roots up. Peter remarked about the tree, and Jesus then replied, “Have faith in God.” And from there He went on to make the statement above.

Some will call the words of Jesus “hyperbole,” which is simply an exaggeration in order to make a point. Some will call them metaphorical, suggesting that what He said was mainly symbolic, so that the real meaning is just “have faith.” Some will say His words were directed only to the apostles. Some will say that what He says He means IF what we ask for is according to the will of God. It seems that most of us like to find a little “wiggle room” when it comes to this difficult verse. Did He really mean it?

It is first important to understand that there are some conditions that must be in place. This does not apply to just anyone. The first condition is that there must be a personal, faith relationship with God. Second, there must be a depth of relationship with God in which there is a commitment to the will of God and an understanding of the will of God. Third, the thing that is prayed and asked for must be of importance and not frivolous. Fourth, the thing that is prayed and asked for must relate to the purposes of God and serve God.

When the conditions are met, Jesus means exactly what He says.

Father, Help us to walk by faith, not by sight. Amen.

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