In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. Then Peter remembered and said to him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, “Be taken up and thrown into the sea”, and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. ‘Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.’
The story of the fig tree took place when Jesus and his disciples were traveling from Bethany to Jerusalem as he entered the Passion Week. Approaching Jerusalem they saw a fig tree with signs of fruit-bearing. But getting closer, they realised that the tree bore no fruit and there was no sign of figs growing. Disappointed by this deceitful appearance, Jesus cursed it. The next morning as they went out, they saw that the fig tree had withered. Peter drew Jesus’ attention to it. Jesus responded by teaching a lesson about how with faith and prayer we can do extraordinary things. He further emphasised the necessity of forgiveness. Proverbs 24:29 admonishes us not to revenge. And this was emphasised in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:12 – “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. Forgiveness is pardoning the offense of others so as to reconcile and restore a good relationship with them. To be able to do this, we need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God. In this time of COVID-19, my prayer is that you may forgive those who sin against you in the bond of love, peace, and unity! Amen!
God, you call us into your presence; to be present with you and with one another. We pray that you grant us hope, peace, and comfort so that our faith in you may remain so firm and strong. We pray all this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!
The Rev’d Dr Confidence Bansah, Minister of St. George’s Hemel Hempstead and Christ Church Hatfield