Lenten Devotional // Day 36

Tuesday, April 12

Mark 11:12-14, 20-25
The next day, after leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. From far away, he noticed a fig tree in leaf, so he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing except leaves, since it wasn’t the season for figs. So he said to it, “No one will ever again eat your fruit!” His disciples heard this.
Early in the morning, as Jesus and his disciples were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered from the root up. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look how the fig tree you cursed has dried up.”
Jesus responded to them, “Have faith in God! I assure you that whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea’—and doesn’t waver but believes that what is said will really happen—it will happen. Therefore I say to you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you will receive it, and it will be so for you. And whenever you stand up to pray, if you have something against anyone, forgive so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your wrongdoings.”

So, what the heck did that fig tree do to deserve being cursed by Jesus? According to the text here it was not the season for the fig tree to bear fruit, yet Jesus was not satisfied.
As is often the case when reading scripture written by people of middle eastern culture a couple of thousand years ago, it is easy to miss the point. For me the larger point likely comes after the fig tree. Others will likely fine something valuable about that withered tree.
In the last paragraph Jesus has things to teach us early 21st Century Americans about faith. He tells us very clearly to have faith, that with faith anything is possible. Throwing one of the Rocky Mountains into the ocean easily qualifies as anything.
Then Jesus directly tells us to forgive those we have something against whenever we pray.
My persistent challenge in life is having enough faith and patience to not rush all sorts of things. Very rarely does rushing turn out well. Holding onto grudges makes rushing even worse. Still, I often rush and hold grudges.

Question for Contemplation
Reflect on your faith. What does it mean for you to be more faithful? Does it include letting go of any grudges?

Dear God, thank you for your many blessings. Thank you for your love and the teachings of Jesus that I may learn and grow. Help me to be more faithful. Soften my heart so that I may let go of grudges against other people.

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