Jesus was giving his disciples a lesson in prayer. He shared with them the power they would have when they prayed. They could move mountains, they could ask anything in faith believing and it would come to pass.
What is faith? What does it mean to pray in faith? Do we pray and believe because we prayed God will answer? What should we believe so that our prayers get answered?
Jesus begins this lesson with an example of what He would not want to see in our lives. He uses a fig tree to show the disciples that a tree without fruit is not ok.
A fig tree will have fruit on its limbs before the leaves. The leaves told Jesus there should be fruit but when He came up to the tree to eat of the fruit, there was none. The tree was deceptive in its appearance because the leaves said there was fruit but there was none.
On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. (Mark 11:12)
Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. (Mark 11:13)
The writer Mark retelling the story notes that the season for fruit was past due. Remember if there was leaves on the tree that means the figs were supposed to already be there, it was not the season for figs because their season of growth was past, they should have been in falling off the tree by then, easy to pick up and eat.
In fact some fig trees would have fruit ten out of twelve months of the year. There was no reason for this fig tree to have leaves and not have fruit.
He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again (Mark 11:14)
Jesus made an example of the tree to the disciples. If someone tells you one thing but does another, this is hypocrisy. In the believer’s life; pretending to have fruit but not really having any, opens them up to fall under a curse.
As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. (Mark 11:20)
Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.” (Mark 11:21)
Jesus wanted his disciples to understand. If you look to men to be your supply or to be the answer you may be deceived because all men are not as they seem. Rather place your faith in God.
And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. (Mark 11:22)
When you put your faith in God you will have the authority to remove everything that hinders you.
“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. (Mark 11:23)
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew 17:20)
….all things are possible with God (Matthew 17:20)
Does Jesus mean a real mountain would lift off the ground and go jump into the sea?
It is always helpful to understand scripture by using other scriptures to interpret.
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; (Psalm 46:2)
And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; (Revelation 8:8)
Mountains being cast into the sea can be a form of judgment much like an earthquake, the ground is being shaken and the mountain crashes into the sea. These signs in the bible represent God’s judgment. Jesus talks about this sign of the mountain being cast into the sea right after He walks through the temple and brings judgment on the moneychangers.
The story is real. Jesus walks into the place of worship and finds instead of the people being encouraged to worship the Father they are being charged money to worship, they are being charged to buy their sacrifice and the price is more than they can afford. Jesus in His wrath drives them out of the temple.
That is judgment against the enemy of the Father. Anyone or anything that tries to hinder the people from worshipping the Father freely is an enemy. Jesus was very upset that the leaders of the church were hindering His people from giving to the Father their offerings.
Prayer and Worship is so important to the Lord Jesus and the Father. They refuse to allow anything to hinder our prayers or worship.
And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. (Mark 11:17)
Jesus would not tolerate the religious leaders making worshipers pay to pray and pay to worship God. He drove out the money changers who were making a profit off of selling sacrificial animals to be given in worship. They were requiring the people to pay their fees to worship God.
After this Jesus explained to His disciples you have the same power, whatever is hindering worship, prayer and our relationship you can bring it down like a mountain that crashes into the sea, you can remove it like we know the mountains will be made flat in judgment.
“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. (Mark 11:23)
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)
There is more, not only do we direct our faith towards God to remove everything that hinders but we must also walk in forgiveness.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)
Jesus made sure the disciples understood that there can be unforgiveness that builds a mountain up in our souls, its called bitterness and it’s deadly.
If anyone has done anything wrong to you, even if they were wrong and you were right, it matters not you MUST forgive them.
How do you know if you forgave them? Can you bless them?
If you have really forgiven someone then you can bless them, you can be a blessing to someone who has done you wrong.
Jesus was making sure NOTHING hindered our prayers or worship.
1. Do you ever feel your worship hits a wall? Do you ever feel your prayer is not heard? Explain
2. What do you think hinders your prayer and worship?
3. What do you believe hinders your family, church or friends from worship and prayer?
1. Pray and ask the Lord how to remove what hinders your worship
2. Ask Him how to remove what hinders your prayer.
3. Is there merchandise (stuff) in the way? Is there material things, reputation, what people think in the way of your worship to God?
4. Commit to get rid of something that is hindering your worship and prayer. If God shows you something is in the way commit to Him right now to get rid of it.
5. Tell someone what He said and tell them what you plan to do to get rid of something in the way of your worship and prayer.
1. Get rid of what God showed you was hindering you – don’t wait – respond right away – remove it from your life.
2. Testify or Write about what God said and what you did, testify about it to someone.
3. Demonstrate to yourself and to the enemy that this (whatever was hindering you) has no power to hinder you any longer by taking a stand against it. Ask the Lord how you can take a stand and drive this same hindrance out of someone else’s life through prayer, through campaigning through preaching, teaching about it.