July 10

Text: Matthew 21:21, 22

And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall 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 shall happen.   And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive." (NASB)

Jesus on occasions either encouraged the 12 to have more faith or explained their inability by their less than mature faith.  In this text, Jesus was speaking to the 12, not generically to all.  He explained his ability to cause the immediate withering of the fig tree by his undoubting, mature faith.

To the 12, Jesus made two promises.  (1) With an undoubting, mature faith, they through command could accomplish the impossible.  (2) Anything they asked through believing prayer would be granted.

Note two things.  Jesus was speaking to the 12 about the 12.  These promises concerning prayer were made to the 12.  When Jesus was resurrected, the 11 who survived were focused on God’s purposes, not material advantages or accomplishments.  Prayer was about God’s objectives, not human desires.

These understandings are essential for two reasons.  (1) Christians often misuse prayer.  (2) Sometimes a faith-filled Christian concludes he/she does not receive a desired answer to fervent prayer because his/her faith is insufficient.  Thus his/her faith frustrates, and the frustration destroys his/her faith.

The 11 who followed Jesus after the resurrection (and Matthias—see Acts 1:21, 22, 26) had a collection of experiences none of us will ever have.  Jesus promised them the comfort of the Holy Spirit when he left (consider John 14:16-20, 26) and the Holy Spirit “filled” them (Acts 2:2-4).  They were entrusted with Jesus’ mission and were witnesses of things we have never seen (consider Luke 24:44-49).  The role they filled in the transition from Judaism to Christianity and the formation of Christianity was unique!  The key for them was to trust what they witnessed!

Never stop growing in faith, but never expect to do what the 12 did.

Suggestion for reflection: What is a mature faith for us?  (Read 2 Peter 1:5-11.)

David's Home Page Previous Day Index Next Day

 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell