With Faith and Forgiveness Nothing will be impossible
Mark 11:1-26 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
As they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, 2 and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ you say, ‘The Lord has need of it’; and immediately he will send it back here.” 4 They went away and found a colt tied at the door, outside in the street; and they untied it. 5 Some of the bystanders were saying to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and they gave them permission. 7 They brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it; and He sat on it. 8 And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. 9 Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting:
“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!”
11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late.
12 On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. 13 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. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening.
15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; 16 and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. 17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den.” 18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.
19 When evening came, they would go out of the city.
20 As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. 21 Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. 23 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. 24 Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. 25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”
In today’s text Jesus says: “Have faith in God. 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. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” In Matthew 17:20 He says: “Truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” We often tend to pray that our faith would be increased, that we would be given more faith. We should understand from what Jesus says that the size or amount of our faith will not be the issue in our receiving the answer to our prayer. If faith the size of a mustard seed will move mountains, if nothing will be impossible with that amount of faith, then surely we can muster mustard seed size faith for our circumstance. We don’t need increased faith. What we need is refocused faith. When we focus on the amount of our faith we are focusing on ourselves as if it is faith in our own ability. Jesus says: “Have faith in God.” If we will focus our small faith on the greatness of the God who created and sustains the universe, we will see and understand, we will believe that He is able to do all things. For Him nothing is impossible. So it is through faith in Him, even our very small faith in His greatness, that nothing will be impossible for us. In Psalm 37:3-5 the psalmist says: Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. It is faithfulness which we must cultivate and grow, not our faith. We must trust more in the Lord and in doing good. We must delight in Him because He is worthy of our delight, not because of what He can do for us. When we trust, when we are faithful, committed to God, when we delight in Him, nothing will be impossible. He will give us the desires of our heart.
Jesus tells us about an additional vital element of answered prayer. He says: “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” We are forgiven because Jesus died for our sins once for all. There is nothing more we can or need to do to obtain God’s forgiveness. Jesus did it all. Here’s the thing though; in Matthew 7:1-2 Jesus says: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” If we judge others as unforgiven, then that is the standard of measure which we ourselves will be judged by. Rather than being forgiven through the finished work of the cross and being judged as righteous in God’s sight through Him, when we refuse to forgive others, we ourselves are unforgiven, not because God is unjust, but because we have chosen our standard of judgment over His standard of grace. If we allow unforgiveness, we can no longer see God clearly. We can no longer delight in Him, because sin separates us from Him. We no longer will receive what we ask, because we are no longer faithful to God. If we ask for more faith, may it be more faith to forgive as we have been forgiven.
‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’