Friday, 22 May 2020 Mark 11:20-33
“…whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” -Mark 11:24
In our reading, Jesus gives a discourse at the Temple, the prime place of worship for the people of His day, which will be our meditation today. He entered the temple courts and found all sorts of businesses happening around except the business of true prayer being offered to God! Instead of the temple being a “house of prayer”, they had turned it to a “den of robbers” (Mark 11:17). Jesus does a cleansing here because the true purpose of the temple – PRAYER, was not served!
On their way the disciples were astonished to see the fig tree which Jesus had cursed earlier, dried up (Mark 11:20). Jesus taught them a lesson on prayer through this incident.
One must have faith in God that He will answer prayer (Mark 11:22) – Hebrews 11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
One must pray on the level ground of forgiveness (Mark 11:26)– there must be an assurance that our sins are forgiven and we have forgiven the sins of those who have wronged us- Luke 11:4 : “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.”
Then we can be assured that our prayers are heard and answered according to God’s will.
In the next part of Jesus’ discourse, we see His authority being questioned by the chief priests, elders and teachers of the Law. They questioned Him to waylay
Him so that they could find grounds to arrest Him- their hearts were far from being true and sincere and their only intention was to reject Jesus. In the chief priest rested the spiritual authority of the temple – relating to the sacraments and the worship. We see that the system that God had ordained had failed and the priests too had failed to do their right duty. Since their hearts were not right with God, they could not perceive Jesus as sent by God into their midst.
Whatever we are doing without a true heart to God will ultimately become rituals. Here the things that were happening in the temple under the priests were only rituals and weren’t acceptable to God.
When we look into fig tree the fruit of the fig-tree appears before the leaves, and hence that if the tree produced leaves it ought also to have had fruit. It ought to have fruit if it had been true to its "pretensions," in showing its leaves at this particular season. Israel is a chosen one to bear spiritual fruits for the nations and Gentiles around her so that they would know the true GOD and turn to him. It should have been a house of prayer for all nations! (Mark 11:17)
Be careful of doing “spiritual things” without having a true relationship with God! Spiritual barrenness will set in which may not be visible outside but on the inside. What can be done to a barren soul who has only leaves, no true fruit of righteousness?
Today let us repent of our sin and allow the Lord Jesus to cleanse our hearts with His precious blood to have a true relationship with God so that we can have the confidence that when we ask in faith, He will answer us! Now we can become the temple of God to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God! (1Peter 2:5)
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, please cleanse my heart of sin and let me be a holy temple where I can offer prayer pleasing to You. Amen.