Lesson Focus: This lesson will help you to live a victorious and fruitful life of faith.
Fight Fruitlessness: Mark 11:12-14,20-21.
 On the following day, when they came from
[12-14] The cursing of the fig tree is the only miracle of destruction in the Gospels. The event must be seen as an enacted parable, in which the cursing of the fig tree symbolized the judgment to befall
[20-21] Mark describes the clearing of the temple in verses 15-19. Thus the story of the fig tree acts as a sandwich around the “meat” of the story; that of the clearing of my house . What Jesus does in the temple goes beyond a purging or corrective act. It attacks the very commerce upon which the temple depended, laying an ax at the root of the temple as an institution. Together with the subsequent events of Holy Week, Mark portrays the clearing of the temple not as its restoration but as its dissolution. Like the fig tree, its function is withered away to its roots. In His sacrificial death on the cross, Jesus alone is the access to God. The fig tree thus symbolizes the temple: as the means of approach to God, the temple is fundamentally replaced by Jesus as the center of
Fight Worldly Distractions: Mark 11:15-19.
 And they came to
[15-16] Mark now turns to the central part of this passage: the clearing of the temple. Jesus enters
[17-19] The Messiah was popularly expected to purge
Fight with Power Through Faith: Mark 11:22-25.
 And Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." [ESV]
[22-25] Mark concludes the fig tree-temple episode with sayings on faith, the power of prayer, and the necessity of forgiveness. The withered fig tree is an object lesson to the disciples to Have faith in God. The earnestness of the command to believe in God is reinforced by Jesus’ statement: Truly, I say to you. Jesus illustrates the power of faith with Hebraic hyperbole about the moving of a mountain. Mark’s following the fig tree-temple account with a call to faith signifies that Jesus, and not the temple, is the object of faith. Faith is the opposite of doubting in one’s heart. Faith is also the opposite of fear. It is a choice to trust in Jesus despite everything to the contrary, and to expect from Him what cannot be expected from anything else in the world. There is thus an inevitable connection between faith and prayer, with which Mark ends this section [24-25]. Verse 24 resembles several statements in the Gospel of John [14:13-14; 15:7,16; 16:23] and attests that true prayer is making requests of God in faith. Faith is more certain of God’s steadfastness than of human inabilities and vicissitudes. The expression in verse 24 reflects Semitic thought in which the certainty of a future act, based on the trustworthiness of God, can be referred to in the past tense. Both faith and prayer stand in continuity with God’s character and in conformity with His will. The final instruction in verse 25 is about forgiveness of sins, which is the feature of faith that most perfectly epitomizes God’s nature. The reference to standing in prayer reflects the customary prayer posture in Judaism. Verse 25 is an unmistakable echo of the forgiveness petition in the Lord’s Prayer, and its interpretation immediately following.
Questions for Discussion:
1. How are we to understand the meaning of the cursing of the fig tree? How do these verses about the fig tree connect with verses 15-19 concerning the cleansing of the temple?
2. Why did Jesus become so angry at the animal dealers and money changers? What important truth do we find here for God’s acceptance of Gentile worshippers?
3. According to Jesus, what is the relationship between faith, the power of prayer and the necessity of forgiveness? How do these verses define faith?
The Gospel According to Mark, James Edwards, Eerdmans.
The Gospel According to Mark,