That evening Jesus and the disciples left the city. The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!” Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
When Jesus talked about moving a mountain by praying, He is using a mountain as a symbol of something big in your life that seems impossible to change. If you have big, stubborn struggles in your life God can move these for you. Jesus said, if you fully believe without any doubt in your heart that He will do the thing you ask then it will happen. To have no doubt in your heart when you pray means that you must have complete faith in God and His ability to do the thing. It’s not that your words actually do it, as if they have some magic of their own! What actually happens is that we talk (pray) to God and He does the thing for us. We can’t have complete belief that God will do something that will be bad for us, God only does those things that He thinks are good for us, because He loves us and wants the best for us!
Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?” “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. “Did John’s authority to baptise come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!” They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Jesus knew that these people weren’t really interested in the answer to their question, all they wanted was to make Jesus say something that they could use against Him, so they could arrest Him and kill Him. Jesus cleverly asked them a question that put them in the same sort of situation they had just put Him in, and told them if they answered His question He would answer theirs. Jesus knows what is the real reason and motivation behind the things we do and say. We might fool others but we can’t fool God! It is important for us to decide who we really want to live for and serve: Jesus or ourselves. Jesus can see right through us and always knows the truth.
Later the leaders sent some Pharisees and supporters of Herod to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You are impartial and don’t play favourites. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us – is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay them, or shouldn’t we?” Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said, “Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a Roman coin, and I’ll tell you.” When they handed it to him, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”,“Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” His reply completely amazed them.
There is a big difference between people with genuine questions and those that only have an aim to prove someone wrong. When you have questions about faith and God, are you hoping to prove that it is all false and wrong, that God doesn’t exist and it is all made up? Or, do you ask questions because you really want to know the truth and find if God is really there and cares about you? Jesus’ wisdom completely amazed the people. God says many things to us in the Bible, what He says is wise and important for us to listen to today.
- Ask Jesus to help you to know which mountains in your life He wants to move
- Ask Jesus to help you to be honest and truthful with Him because He can see right through us and always knows the truth
- Ask Jesus to help you to trust God’s wisdom more than your own wisdom