To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
May/June 2016 Issue – The Presence of God, ‘You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.’ Psalm 16:11
The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):
Mark 11:12-25 (NIVUK): ”The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.
In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
I liked Selwyn’s conclusion: “We would much prefer not to have to exercise faith … and instead pray using words such as these: ‘Lord, help me to believe that Your presence is with me everywhere I go.’
I know full well that there are times when we have to pray like that, for instance, when our faith is weak and we are going through a hard and difficult time.
What I am advocating, however, is exercising our faith so that more and more we begin to take God at His Word. If we can’t affirm something that the Lord has made crystal clear in the Bible – His constant presence – then how are we going to grow in faith so that we can affirm those things that are not so clear?”
It’s a good point that Selwyn makes; I think we are living in an age where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to exercise our faith in God’s Word as revealed in Scripture because there are so many voices casting doubts on the authenticity of the Bible, and this may cause some to lose confidence in their beliefs.