2/5: Withering Trees and Moving Mountains


Jesus was a master at examples, metaphors, and making the most of teachable moments. He does all three in Matthew 21:17-22.

To understand the context of Jesus’ words and actions in the above-mentioned passage, let’s go back a little to Matthew 21:12-15. Jesus drove from the temple those who bought and sold there. Then the blind and lame could get to Him, so He healed them. At seeing “the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple” saying, “Hosanna,” the chief priests and scribes “were indignant.” Then comes Jesus’ response in verses 17-22.

First, Jesus made an example of a fig tree. After leaving Jerusalem for the night for rest in Bethany, He returned the next day. He was hungry as He approached a fig tree, and He expected to find some figs on it. Instead, there was “nothing on it but leaves.” Jesus cursed the tree and “immediately the fig tree withered away.”

When asked by His disciples how the tree had withered so soon, Jesus answered with a metaphor. He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.”

Then, Jesus wrapped the example and the metaphor up into one teachable moment and told His disciples, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

So how was Jesus tying all these happenings together for our learning?

The chief priests and scribes looked good in their fancy robes, and held prominent places so they were easy to see in the temple. However, when the real business of the temple – healing and praise – took place, there was nothing in them but indignation. Like the fig tree, they were nothing but leaves. Jesus expects us to be more than “pretty leaves.” Are we living in expectation of His power to move, and in excitement of His presence with us?

If we are living our lives expectantly and excitingly in the temple of our body every day, there will be no hindrance in moving the mountains that try to obstruct our path. Knowing without a doubt that Jesus will work for His people, and that Jesus is worthy of praise, we can confidently speak to the mountains that would seek to cramp our style. Facing a mountain of sickness? Tell it to move. Facing a mountain of unemployment? Tell it to move. Facing a mountain of problems with your children? Tell it to move. When the way in the temple (your body) is clear to get to Jesus, healing and praise takes place, and mountains move.

Finally, Jesus wraps up with His teachable moment. Don’t be like the fig trees, looking great but having no fruit. Instead, speak to that emptiness in your own life before Jesus has to. Then, as you trust Christ’s power and love His presence, speak to your mountains because “whatever things you ask in prayer believing, you will receive.”


©2013 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

And pick up a copy of Sharon’s new book, Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame, available at Christian bookstores, online, from New Hope Publishers, from the Life That Matters Ministries’ website, and now also available on Kindle!


~ by sanewriter on February 5, 2013.

One Response to “2/5: Withering Trees and Moving Mountains”

  1. I have a testimony!!!

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