ripple effect: vacaville


d244 Genie in a Bottle?
January 25, 2008, 10:30 am
Filed under: god, jesus, john, mark, peter

Read Mark 11:20-33.

1.Wow…I don’t remember reading about Jesus cursing the fig tree in this Bible reading plan. Uh oh… OK…so, in review, Jesus curses a fig tree because it is blooming, as if it is ready to yield fruit; but it isn’t. It’s like a person who looks like they are following God on the outside but is bearing no fruit. Got it? Jesus doesn’t like that…

2. All the stuff Jesus has done, and Peter can’t believe that Jesus could make a fig tree wither? Sheesh…
3. Jesus says that, with faith, we can do all things. I don’t think it makes sense to just go on throwing mountains into oceans, so I’m going to assume that Jesus is using figurative language here to explain the power of faith.
4. I believe that this “what [we] ask for in prayer” has to be in line with God’s will. None of this God is a genie in a bottle.
5. The idea here, though, is that we should have faith that what we ask for in prayer will happen. Why would that be important for us to do? Do you have any objections to that kind of thinking?
6. Yeah, you can’t go to God when you have feuds with other people. Jesus is implying here that our biggest project is to have good human relationships, that is how we can honor God. What would be the point of going to God in prayer, asking Him how we can honor Him, when we know good and well that we need to repair a broken relationship?
7. There’s also a tie between us forgiving others and God forgiving our sins. Maybe God isn’t down with hypocrisy.

8. All the religious leaders are looking for some kind of human authority that has endorsed Jesus. This thinking goes on today. If you’re not “ordained” by some organized religious establishment, some people think that you can’t be worth much to the Church.
9. Jesus comes back with a trick question about John the Baptist’s ministry: “was it from heaven or from men”?
10. I would have to think that Jesus asked this question to reveal the fact that, no matter what these religious leaders think, they base all their thinking on how people will perceive them. So, even though no man endorsed Jesus’ ministry. God did. And Jesus is basing what He does off of God’s approval. The truth is that the religious leaders could have easily, because they believed it, said that John’s baptism was from men…but they were afraid of the people. Jesus basically called them out. They care too much about what people think and not enough about what God thinks.

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