In my last post, we saw how Jesus upset the religious leadership by clearing out the marketplace that was set up in the Temple. It angers people when you mess with their cash-flow.
The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
When evening came, they went out of the city.
Jesus and His disciples then went to Bethany for the night and returned to Jerusalem the next morning.
In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
Two posts ago (What’s Your Season?) I talked about Jesus cursing the fig tree. Now we see the result of what Jesus did that day. The disciples were amazed at how the tree had died so quickly.
It’s important for us to understand the explanation that Jesus gave to the disciples.
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “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. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
This is one of those verses that are often misunderstood. I’ve heard people reading into it. They make it sound like Jesus is saying that God will give you whatever you want as long as you can believe you’re going to get it. That’s not what Jesus is saying here.
His first and most important statement is – HAVE FAITH IN GOD! The Lord always has to be the object of our faith. My faith cannot be toward what a preacher says (and that’s coming from a preacher!), or what you read in a book.
Listen carefully, because I’m about to make you mad at me. We are not even to make the Bible the object of our faith. It’s the Word of God that points to God as the object of faith.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
When I hear God’s Word, it inspires me to trust God. When the Scripture tells me that by the stripes of Jesus I’m healed…my faith is not in that Bible verse, it has to be toward Christ my Healer. Too often our faith is misplaced. It has to be toward God.
Another thing we misunderstand is that Jesus is talking about hearing from the Holy Spirit. He didn’t curse the fig tree because He was in a bad mood that day. The Holy Spirit instructed the Lord to do that for an object lesson for His disciples.
Jesus clearly said that this faith, or doubt, is in your heart. He’s not talking about you simply deciding that you want a new car, so you start believing that you’ll receive it from God. The Lord is talking about believing Him for a desire that God has placed in your heart.
True faith will always come from a Word from God and will have God, Himself as the object. Then you’ll see the manifestation of your request.
Question: How is faith in your heart different than a “head-faith”?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi