Prickly Passage, Prayer, and Forgiveness

Today’s post is written by an Easter member who wishes to remain anonymous: 

Jesus and Fig Tree--medium size --01_Fig_Tree_JPEG_1024Lately I’ve been focused on a BFF* who has hurt my feelings.  Waaaay too much focusing!

So when I was reading Mark and came upon this one story I was speechless.  (That’s probably a good thing.)

Mark 11:11-26 contains that prickly passage about Jesus and the fig tree that had no figs (never mind that it was out of season anyway). Here’s part of the story:

 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. 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 heard it. (Mark 11:12-14)

Jesus and the Fig Tree--medium size --06_Fig_Tree_JPEG_1024After this, Jesus and the disciples go into Jerusalem, where Jesus casts the money-changers out of the temple. As he and the disciples head back out of town, Peter notices that the fig tree Jesus cursed has now withered:

20 In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. 24 So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:20-25**)

Jesus replies by assuring them that whatever they pray for in prayer, they will receive.

But someone at church once pointed out something I’d missed in the many times I’ve read this passage: Jesus tells them that whenever they pray, they are to forgive.

Wow. What if, in every prayer we offered, we asked for the grace to forgive those who we feel have wronged us?

And what if God granted that request?

Ponder this…



*BFF: best friend forever
** Bible passages from NRSV online at