Monday 4th March 2024 John Collings

St Mark 11: 12 – 14, 20-25

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.  Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.  He said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard it.  

In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots.  Then Peter remembered and said to him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.’  Jesus answered them, ‘Have faith in God.  Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, “Be taken up and thrown into the sea”, and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you.  So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  ‘Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.’


In this passage we see a human aspect of Jesus, the simple statement “He was hungry” shows His humanity by him being hungry.  The next action may seem strange and unfair.  It was too early in the season for figs, despite this Jesus cursed the tree and this does seem out of character.  This is the only miracle that appears to have nothing but negative consequences.    

Jesus then went on to Jerusalem and it was on His return that Peter commented about the fig tree.  It was withered and dead.  Jesus did not try to explain His actions or defend the destruction of the fig tree but used it to illustrate the power that God gives to those who choose to follow Him.  He said that Peter could even command a mountain to go into the sea.  We can ask anything, but it is also important to keep our hearts and minds free from sin.  If we are willing and able to forgive someone who has done wrong to us then God is able to use us.  

Prayer is powerful, it changes lives.  It may not, in my experience, move literal mountains, but it moves mountains of fear, doubt and mistrust.  Prayer transforms lives by bringing the person praying closer to God.  In many ways prayer is talking to God and talking with forgiveness brings about a good relationship.  As well look around the world we see many places where life would be far better if the political leaders would talk to each other and forgive each other.

We can see faults in our friends, in our churches but we can never see any fault in God.  We can take all our doubts and fears to God.  As Joseph Scriven (1819-1886) wrote  “what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!”


Forgiving God,
Forgive me for when I have failed to forgive others
Forgive me for the times I have expected too much.
Loving God help me to serve you and your church
In Jesus name, Amen.  

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