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Matthew 21:22  (King James Version)
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<< Matthew 21:21   Matthew 21:23 >>


Matthew 21:18-22

Jesus' miracle involving the fig tree (Matthew 21:18-22; Mark 11:12-14, 20-24) is the only one in which He brings judgment by a miracle. All the other miracles are acts of goodness and mercy. This miracle, which can also be classified as a parable, is recorded in more detail in Mark than in Matthew. Mark's chronology is also more detailed, showing its correlation with other events, clarifying, for instance, that this miracle and the cleansing of the Temple took place within two days.

Having gone through several days of conflict and tension, Jesus now needed to find a place of love, gratitude, and peace to rest and meditate on soon-coming events. He found it with His friends in Bethany. This setting contrasted markedly to Satan's world, designed to be hectic with its constant pressure to keep people from thinking deeply about anything of true value. Satan knows that if he can make us busy, it is easier to make us sin.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: The Withering of a Fig Tree



Matthew 21:22

Is it true that God has given us a blank check to ask anything of Him just as one might ask a genie in a fairy tale? Some may misunderstand this to be the case, but I John 5:14 qualifies what He will grant: "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." Real prayer is communion with God, and what is necessary for communion are common thoughts between His mind and ours.

What we need is for Him to fill our minds and hearts with His thoughts. Then His desires will become our desires flowing back to Him in the form of prayer. James 4:3 confirms this: "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." If we ask amiss, we are certainly not asking according to His will, and we will not receive.

But does not Jesus say in John 16:23, "[W]hatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you"? He most assuredly does, but we still do not have a carte blanche. To ask God for anything in the name of Jesus Christ, it must be in keeping with what He is. To ask in Christ's name is to ask as though Christ Himself were asking. Therefore, we can only ask for what Christ Himself would ask. It is therefore necessary to set aside our own will and accept God's. Jesus says in John 8:29: "And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him." If we do as Jesus did, we are sure to receive answers as He did. He adds in John 11:41-42: "Father, I thank you that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me."

We must come away with the realization that prayer is not dictating to God, but a humble and heartfelt expression of our attitude of dependency and need. Because of this, the one who truly prays is submissive to God's will, content with Him supplying his need according to the dictates of His sovereign pleasure. The result of this, combined with the infusion of God's attitudes and thoughts as we draw near to Him, will work to create us in His image.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Nine



Matthew 21:21-22

This miracle reveals Christ's divine and human natures. As God, He withered the tree in judgment. As Man, He needed the sleep His friends' home in Bethany provided as well as the tree's food to sustain Him, as “He was hungry.”

Although He could have satisfied His hunger with a miracle, He showed self-restraint in the use of His supernatural power to teach a valuable lesson to His disciples. He would not use it to provide for His personal wants or for those of His disciples. Nor would He work a miracle just to impress others. He would not do so to increase His earthly influence or power or to terrorize people into accepting His teaching. If a need could be fulfilled by human effort, or if lessons would be useful, Jesus would do no miracle.

Self-restraint requires faith. Jesus used this event to teach His disciples a lesson in faith because, if they had genuine faith in God, they would not only be able to affect nature miraculously as Jesus did with the tree, but also move mountains (Matthew 17:20). If they truly believed and asked according to God's will, they would receive whatever they prayed for.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: The Withering of a Fig Tree




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Matthew 21:22:

Matthew 21:18-22

 

<< Matthew 21:21   Matthew 21:23 >>



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