18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. 20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. 21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Well this is a strange story. Read wrongly you could even think that Jesus didn’t like figs!! It comes directly after Jesus speaks about the temple and that the Jews placed some ungodly contexts on it. Money changers thrown out, lame and blind welcomed and healed, but just a second, they were not typically allowed in the temple precinct because they were not ‘whole’.
Then this story about a fig tree not bearing fruit although in leaf, it being cursed and the disciples marvelling at the dead fig tree. Jesus says nothing seemingly relevant about the fig tree though! He makes a strange statement about a mountain being lifted up and placed into the sea and then says something about faith and prayer.
Jesus was near the Temple Mount and was most likely making reference to the temple mount and the temple on the mount being thrown into the sea. He was, once again, having a go at the religious and their misuse of the temple, for religious purposes not godly purposes, where they had made their religious observance a matter of pride rather than their relationship with God! SO while prayer and faith are exceptionally effective and, in the correct circumstances can definitely throw a mountain into the sea, Jesus is again calling out religious behaviours that have nothing to do with God and all to do with man.
Father, may I keep my heart pure and follow You rather than the traditions of men!
Written by Ps. Richard Botta