The Fig Tree Withers Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
The disciples marveled at how this could happen so fast. They marveled since no power could do it but His; He spoke, and it was done. There was no visible cause for the fig-tree withering; it was not only the leaves that withered, but the body of the tree also withered away in an instant and became like a dry stick. We can say that the tree was sentenced to an eternal barrenness.
Christ’s actions show that all judgment is committed to him and that He is not only able to save but to destroy. This was just a specimen of the power of his wrath and curse; however, it is not put on any man, woman, or child, because the great day of His wrath has not yet come. His wrath was only against an inanimate tree, for an example to us.
21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
He told them how to do astonishing things: It is simple, “Have faith or absolute confidence in the power of God.” Jesus is telling His disciples that they will be empowered by their faith to do great miracles, and then later He told them, “Greater works than these shall ye do.” Notice that He also tells them, “If ye have faith, and doubt not.” Doubting the power and promises of God is the thing that spoils the effectiveness and success of our faith.
Jesus illustrated His teaching on faith by referring to the mountain they were on. He said, “if ye shall say unto this mountain,” meaning the Mount of Olives, “Be thou removed… it shall be done.”
We must have a confident expectation about our faith so that no matter how impossible it might appear, we believe it will happen if it is God’s will. We are to believe that nothing is impossible with God, and therefore, we can also believe that what he has promised will certainly be performed, even though it seems impossible to us. Friends, we can move mountains, that is, we can solve the greatest difficulties when things are done by faith; faith that acts upon the Word of God.
22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Prayer is the way and means of exercising our faith. Let’s remember that Jesus said, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Faith is the soul, and prayer is the body, and both of them together make a complete man or woman for any service. Faith, if it is right, will stimulate prayer; and prayer is not right if it does not spring from faith.
Jesus said that there is a condition for us receiving what we ask for—we must ask in prayer, believing. Our prayer requests will not be denied, and the hope of our faith will not be discouraged. We have many promises from the mouth of our Lord Jesus, and all of them encourage our faith and prayer. We can ask and have; we can believe and receive; what more could we ask for? Notice, how broad the promise is—all things whatsoever ye shall ask. That’s everything and anything. Christ taught them to pray in faith and to have faith in God. A lively active faith will put great power into your prayers.
I was saved when I was 9 years old, and that was a wonderful experience. But when I told my family and friends about it, they didn’t understand. They didn’t understand what it meant to be saved, and they didn’t encourage me in any way. I had to go to church by myself, and there wasn’t anyone to pray with me or to study the Bible with. So, I didn’t grow as a Christian. Oh, there were times when I would meet someone or experience something that I think God sent to me. But there wasn’t any Christian influence in my life until I met Sierra.
I am so glad that God is patient with me because there was no fruit in my life. But, there were a lot of leaves.
That’s because I could act like a Christian when I wanted to. I know now that God has been working on me all my life. I am still a work in progress, but He never gave up on me. And today, I am producing fruit.
And it is due to God’s grace; not because there’s anything good in me. I hope that God is pleased with my fruit because my desire is to serve Him, and to worship Him, and to love Him.
Friends, Jesus doesn’t need to see our fruit, because He can see into our hearts. But, the world needs to see it, because others can’t see into our heart. They can only see what we do and hear what we say. If you’re a Christian, live like one and glorify God. Lift up Jesus and glorify Him. Let everyone see the fruit that your life bears for Christ. We will be judged in this world and the next by our fruit.
But, if you’re not a Christian, nothing you do or say will please God. He will only listen to the prayers of His dear Children. If you are not a child of God, remember He is patient, and He is still willing to save you to the uttermost, if you will believe in His Son and confess your sins. And then, the fruit will appear, because the Children of God are born to do good works.
I will stop here, but I want to remind you that I will be happy to pray with anyone for any reason; just let me know.