MARK 11:22-24: “So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (NKJV)

OBSERVATION: When was the last time you saw someone move a mountain? This section in Mark 11 is often used to support the teaching of receiving through faith by positive confession. The key phrase is “…he will have whatever he says.” Yet, in all my years, I have never seen or read about someone who has literally moved a mountain. This is what Jesus said – “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”

 What did Jesus mean?

Jesus was taking the withering of the fig tree as a teaching moment to speak to His disciples about faith and prayer. Jesus never did anything out of anger, or without purpose. He did not simply curse the fig tree because it did not have any fruit. Jesus also was not taking out His anger and disappointment on a harmless fig tree. The fig tree represented Israel. He had just entered Jerusalem as their King to shouts of Hosanna. Yet, Jesus knew that He would soon be rejected and crucified by the same crowd who hailed Him as He road into Jerusalem. Israel would reject her King, and she would soon be destroyed. This was the symbolic importance of the fig tree. Yet, Jesus used it for an important teaching moment regarding faith.

As we read the Bible it is important that we read the verses before and after the verses in question. The verses preceding this were about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the cleansing of the Temple, and the cursing of the fig tree. It is the verses that follow Mark 11:22-24 that shine a light on the important lesson that Jesus was endeavoring to convey to His disciples.

  • “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (‭‭Mark‬ ‭11:25-26‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

Mark 11:22-24 is not intended to teach us a formula on how to exercise our faith in order to get the things we “say”. It is intended to teach us how to pray. We are to pray believing. We are to pray in faith. And now Jesus directs His disciples to the greatest mountain that will ever have to be moved through believing prayer. What is this mountain. It is the mountain of unforgiveness! I know of no other mountain that is more difficult to move than the mountain of unforgiveness. In fact, this mountain cannot be moved – except through the prayer of faith!

Throughout the life of Jesus He had called His disciples to forgive. Yet, Jesus knew that in a few short days His disciples would face the greatest challenge of all. Their Lord would be beaten, mocked, crucified and buried. They would be called by Jesus, from the cross, to forgive. How could they forgive those who had so savagely beaten and rejected their Lord? How could they then be called to minister to the same ones who spit upon Him? How could they overcome the mountain of hatred and unforgiveness in their hearts? The answer was the prayer of faith! As they prayed, forgiving others, they could be assured that they were receiving the provision and capacity to forgive from the Father!

This is the one mountain (the mountain of unforgiveness) that always moves when we speak to it in faith! When Jesus hung on the cross He cried – “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do!” In that moment the mountains of unforgiveness were dislodged and moved with these simple words of faith. When we speak the same words of forgiveness the hatred and bitterness in our hearts are dislodged and we receive His provision of mercy and grace. It frees us from the stronghold of unforgiveness. It also joins us in agreement with God’s heart and prays for the salvation and reconciliation of those who are yet bound in sin, hatred, and unforgiveness. It does not move their mountain. Only they can do that through personal faith and surrender. Yet, it does release us into the position and ministry of intercession that prays for their salvation and calls upon the Holy Spirit to shine the light of God’s love upon their lives.

As we will celebrate another Christmas in just two days, and as I write these words, I am asking the Lord to reveal any mountains that may have become lodged in my heart. I want to place all the hurts of my past, all the misunderstandings and disagreements that may have been poised to spring up into a root of bitterness, at the foot of His cross. I want to rise up with new faith and speak to the mountain of unforgiveness and say – “Be thou removed and cast into the sea!”

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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  1. Pat watson says:

    Such a powerful word. I once read that Billy Graham said he believed 80% of people in mental hospitals could be healed if they would forgive. I’ve niot verified this statement but it is food for thought.


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