I now blog on chapter five of my book.  This passage is usually interpreted as God’s precious promise for faithful prayer.  The interpretation usually goes something like this.  If you really believe with all your heart, whatever you ask God will be done for you.

One little problem!  This kind of promise hardly ever gets fulfilled, and how in fact do you measure how much faith is enough?

The clue to the right interpretation comes out of the analogy in Jesus’ miracle of the fig tree.  The tree was cursed much like the mountain being moved.  This was Jesus logic.  In other words, whatever the fig represented for Jesus and his world would point to what kind of mountain Jesus was talking about (11.21-23).

Another clue about the meaning is the discussion on prayer.  Jesus did talk about prayer within the context of this event in 11.17.  Therefore, if we were to look at this event as part of the event of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, Jesus did not mean prayer in general but a specific kind of prayer within specific context and architectural structure.

These are the clues Mark had left us when he recorded this story.  Its message is then not really about prayer but about the greater context of Mark 11.  It was a message about temple and what happened to the temple institution.  My book will give more definitive answer as to the meaning of this passage and how it applies to modern faith community.

As I always say, the texts are not at fault.  The interpreter is!