How Fruitful is My Faith?
Following his arrival in Jerusalem on Sunday, amidst the joyful praises of the crowds, Jesus spent the evening in Bethany at the home of his friends Lazarus and Mary and Martha. They gave a dinner for him there, which Martha served. Mary anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair. (John 12:1-11).
Bethany was a village at the foot of the Mount of Olives. It was about a 30 minute walk to Jerusalem. The next day, Monday, as Jesus was walking back to Jerusalem in the morning, he became hungry. He noticed a fig tree by the side of the road that had produced leaves ahead of the season. Since the fig tree bore leaves, Jesus expected to find figs. Instead, he found the tree was fruitless. He cursed the tree by saying, “No longer shall there ever by any fruit from you”. And at once the fig tree withered.
And seeing this, the disciples marveled saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once”? (Matthew 21:18-20).
Jesus took the opportunity to teach his surprised disciples about genuine faith in God and the power of prayer:
“If you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea’, it shall happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive”. (Matthew 21:21-22)
Jesus knew that his followers’ faith was to be greatly tested in the days ahead. We, too, need to have this reminder when we face times of difficulty and confusion. This is a good day to remember and reflect on Jesus’ promise that even a mustard seed size faith, when it is aligned with God’s will, is sufficient to move mountains.