Moving Mount Struggle
Being the one to get the slides ready for worship today, I took notice that the Scripture passage was taken from Matthew 21:18-22. I was looking forward to the sermon to see how the speaker would interpret and draw lessons from this difficult passage.
Matthew 21:18-22 (NASB)
18 Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19 Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you." And at once the fig tree withered. 20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, "How did the fig tree wither all at once?" 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen. 22 "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
Curse the Fig Tree?
Joshua Snyder from YWAM was the speaker and I found his sermon very good. He pointed out several things I had not thought about. When I came across this earlier in the Gospel of Mark, the question that always plagued me is: why did Jesus curse the fig tree for not bearing fruit when it is not even the season for figs? What right did he had? It had been bugging me since then but soon I realised it was a wrong question to ask - what right did Jesus have? Every right! He is the very Creative Word that made the world and the universe in the beginning of time. He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). And when he wants to curse a fig tree because it did not serve its purpose, he curses the fig tree. In the same way, he will judge us if we are found not serving his purpose and judge he will. Therefore, while his grace, which is all-sufficient, is available to us, we had better embrace that grace of God and not take him for granted before it is too late.
Look Beyond the Fig Trees and See the Mountains
In application, Joshua takes the fig trees as the obtacles in our lives that needs to be removed. They are the smaller things that we need to acknowledge and banish - the uncontrolled anger, the green eye of jealousy, the desires of the body that does not see satisfaction, etc. Only then can our vision be enlarged to look at the mountains that need moving - be it the cancer that is destroying someone we know, or the great need that a brother in our church has, or the corruption that is happening where we are, and the list goes on. We need to see beyond the fig trees in our lives. I realise that most of the time, we can be so entangled in our fig trees that we are blinded to the mountains. And when the mountain "suddenly" become so big, it scares us and drives us to the corner in denial. We prefer to be short-sighted and only tackle our fig trees. Life in Christ is more than that - more than just taking care of our small "huge" concerns and problems.
Ask Anything in My Name
We need to see the mountains, believe that it can be moved, pray that it will be moved, and speak of our faith, however mustard-seed-small it is, that the mountains can and will be moved. And to Matt 21:22, "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive," the only boundary of prayer is the character, purpose and will of God.
23 In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. 24 "Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.
Think that unbelievable because it just too vast and free-for-all? Oh, there is one boundary: the name of Christ and the name of Christ is his character, his will, his purpose. Ask anything that is held by his name, it will be given to you.
And as an addendum, during testimony one of us declared the majesty of the name of God that is proclaimed and heard by millions the world over. Darlene Zschech's "Shout to the Lord" performed during Idols Give Back and was reprised the next day, and this time they sang the name of Jesus.
Photo © 2007 Martin Muránsky