Have Faith in God - Mark 11:22-25
As followers of Jesus, and as a church we share common goals. We desire to live lives that are pleasing to God. We desire to have marriages and families that reflect Christ. As a church we want to see God work in and through us. We long to see people saved and to see the church strengthened. And yet there is a question we must consider: Who, or what are we trusting in for these things?
The truth is that while we desire good things, we may be guilty of misplaced trust. While we confess that only God can do these things in and through us, we are often guilty of relying on our own power and ability. Or perhaps, we recognize our need for help, and yet we doubt whether or not God is able to bring about the changes that are needed in our situations. And our doubt is shown in our slowness to go to Him in prayer. Or perhaps we go to Him, all the while unconvinced that He will respond.
In Mark 11:22-25 Jesus teaches His disciples what is necessary in order to experience the power of God. The call of Jesus is simple: Have faith in God. Believe that He can do the impossible and go to Him in faith.
Context – A Tree, the Temple and Faithless People
In the previous section Jesus provided two parables about the nation of Israel. They were like a tree that looked fruitful and yet was barren, and Jesus announced their coming judgment. As He cleared the Temple He exposed the hypocrisy of their religion and how they trusted in themselves. It’s on the heals of these events that Jesus teaches His disciples of the importance of faith – of the need to trust in God as the source of power and provision.
A Call to Faith (11:22)
- Amazed at the withered tree – After witnessing yet another display of the power of Jesus the disciples are amazed (Matthew 21:20). Jesus takes this opportunity to teach His disciples once again of the need for faith.
- The need for faith – The Gospel of Mark chronicles how the disciple’s faith was often weak and wavering (i.e. Mark 4:40). As Jesus prepares His disciples for His departure He provides this important lesson on the need for faith in order to experience the power of God.
- Application– As we consider the situations of our lives and the things we believe can never change, we need to hear this call of Jesus: Have faith in God. He is the One who can bring change to our marriage and He is the One who can open the hearts of our children. He is the One who can work in and through us as a church despite our limitations.
The Power of Faith in God (11:23)
- An impossible request – Jesus calls on His disciples to have faith in God – and not only in situations that seem within the realm of possibility. In verse 23 Jesus gives an example how God can do what seems impossible when we come to Him in faith. He is the God who can move mountains.
- Without doubting – Jesus is teaching His disciples that all things are possible with God. He can move mountains. But the person of faith must make the request – and we must do so without doubting (James 1:5-8).
- Application –Jesus tells His disciples that God can and will move mountains for those who come to Him in faith. The question is: Do we trust God to work miracles in our lives? Do we come to Him in faith, asking Him to do what seems impossible?
The Action of Faith in God (11:24)
- The necessity of prayer – Jesus has emphasized the need for faith and the power of God and now He explains the way we show our faith in God. The power of God is available to the people of God through prayer in faith.
- Hearing Jesus rightly – This verse should encourage us to pray with confidence and faith, and yet this is also a verse that is often misused. This verse is not suggesting that God exists to grant our every wish. The whole of the Scriptures helps us see that prayer must be made in submission to the will of God (Mark 14:35-36; 1 John 5:14; James 4:2-3). However, the emphasis of this verse should not be lost – we should come to God in confident faith – believing that He will answer.
- Application – How well do you pray? Do you go to God trusting that He is willing and able to answer your prayers? Too many of us lack faith and we fail to go to God with our requests for power over sin, for healing in our relationships and for His work in and through us. We must be faithful to pray, and to pray with faith in the power of God.
The Proper Heart of Faith in God (11:25)
- The Necessity of Forgiveness – Verse 25 is more than a tag on to the previous conversation. As those who come to God in prayer, we must come to Him with pure hearts. One of the most common ways we remain in sin is by withholding forgiveness. And in our slowness or refusal to forgive we are hindering our fellowship with God (Psalm 66:17-19).
- Forgive as you’ve been forgiven – As we go to God with our requests we must be faithful to check our hearts. We should strive to love others as we’ve been loved and forgive as we’ve been forgiven (Ephesians 4:31-32). As we remain in right fellowship with God we will have the joy of knowing we can come to Him and He will hear our prayers and answer.