|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:18-22 This cursing of the barren fig-tree represents the state of hypocrites in general, and so teaches us that Christ looks for the power of religion in those who profess it, and the savour of it from those that have the show of it. His just expectations from flourishing professors are often disappointed; he comes to many, seeking fruit, and finds leaves only. A false profession commonly withers in this world, and it is the effect of Christ's curse. The fig-tree that had no fruit, soon lost its leaves. This represents the state of the nation and people of the Jews in particular. Our Lord Jesus found among them nothing but leaves. And after they rejected Christ, blindness and hardness grew upon them, till they were undone, and their place and nation rooted up. The Lord was righteous in it. Let us greatly fear the doom denounced on the barren fig-tree.
Verse 22. - All things. The promise is extended beyond the sphere of extraordinary miracles. In prayer; ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ: in the prayer; or, in your prayer. The use of the article may point to the prayer given by our Lord to his disciples, or to some definite form used from the earliest times in public worship (comp. Acts 1:14; Romans 12:12; 1 Corinthians 7:5; Colossians 4:2). Believing, ye shall receive. The condition for the success of prayer is stringent. A man must have no latent doubt in his heart; he must not debate whether the thing desired can be done or not; he must have absolute trust in the power and good will of God; and he must believe that "what he saith cometh to pass" (Mark 11:23). The faith required is the assurance of things hoped for, such as gives substance and being to them while yet out of sight. The words had their special application to the apostles, instructing them that they were not to expect to be able, like their Master, to work the wonders needed for the confirmation of the gospel by their own power. Such effects could be achieved only by prayer and faith. (On the general promise to faithful prayer, see Matthew 7:7-11.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And all things whatsoever,.... Not only miracles, but any other thing which may be for the honour of God, the interest of religion, the spreading of the Gospel, the enlargement of the kingdom, of Christ, their own spiritual good, and the welfare of immortal souls,
ye shall ask in prayer, believing. Munster's Hebrew Gospel reads it, "in prayer, and in faith"; and the Arabic version renders it, "in prayer with faith"; both to the same purpose, and aptly express the sense of the words, which design the prayer of faith; or that prayer which is put up in the strength of faith; and is of great avail with God: for whatever is asked in faith, agreeable to the will of God, which is contained in his covenant, word, and promises, and makes for his glory, and the good of his people, shall be given, be it what it will; though to carnal sense and reason it may seem impracticable and impossible:
ye shall receive; of God, through Christ, freely and fully, and shall have and enjoy them, either they themselves, if asked for themselves, or others, for whom they are asked.
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