Matthew 21:21-25

Mat 21:21 (KJB)
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

Jesus did not respond directly to their question, instead He gives them another analogy about a mountain. What He is trying to convey to them is that prayer is not just words but there has to be belief and faith behind it. If you pray without believing God for the results, then why bother praying. Believing God will answer your prayer requires faith in the ability of God. (Heb 11:6 KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Jesus wanted the disciples to know that the fig tree was a small item compared to the mountain and that faith actually has a limitless potential when dealing with an infinite God. The key is that there must not be any doubt mixed in with that faith. Doubt mixed with faith is like cyanide mixed with chocolate pudding. Sometimes we pray and if God has not answered the prayer right away, we begin to doubt and that doubt either lessens or causes God to say no. It must also be realized that because we pray for something does not necessarily mean it is in God’s will for us or a situation we are in. If something prayed for is not in God’s will, then it will be rejected or God may decide to answer that prayer in a different way.

Mat 21:22 (KJB)
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

The believer has a special relationship with God through His Son and that naturally means there will be prayer by the believer. Praying must be done in faith. The two are inseparably linked together. The word “believing” is in the present tense which means that “believing” must always be present. It is an ongoing principle and not an intermittent one. Again, we must be careful what we pray for and it must be within the will of God. (James 4:3 KJV) Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. James warns us that if we are praying wrongly, then we will not receive what we ask for. We must also be careful that we are not praying according to the flesh, in other words, that we are praying for something which we are lusting or desiring after.

Mat 21:23 (KJB)
And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

Then after Jesus had finished teaching He had gone back into the temple and a delegation from the Sanhedrin had met Him there. In reference to the cleansing of the Temple by tossing out the moneychangers and those who bought and sold, they had approached Him with two questions. The first question was, “By what authority doest thou these things?” This question had challenged the nature of the authority of Jesus such as are you a Scribe? A Prophet? Or do you hold some other office? They wanted to know, based upon what did He do this thing? Then the second question, “and who gave thee this authority?” They wanted to know who gave Him the authority to come into the temple and to do those things? For the last three years, Jesus had been teaching that His authority had come from God but the Jewish leaders had chosen not to recognize this, as some accused Him of having a devil, and even His miracles had not convinced them. Their minds were closed to truth and would not be opened.

Mat 21:24 (KJB)
And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.

To answer a question with a question was the typical way of the rabbinical debate method. Many times the counter question would reveal the actual issue behind the first question, as it will here. Jesus will be glad to tell them by what authority He has done these things and who gave Him this authority if they would just answer one question for Him.

Mat 21:25 (KJB)
The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?

Reasoned - Pondered thoroughly

Then Jesus asks them the one question which will literally box them in. He focuses them back on the baptism of John. Was it something ordained of Heaven or was it something designed by men? Then the religious leaders went into conference and began to discuss it thoroughly. They may not have liked Jesus at all, but He did ask questions which would make you think and they knew they had to answer correctly or He would have them again. They knew that if they responded that the baptism of John was from Heaven, then they would be asked why they did not believe it? It would make them look like unbelievers in front of all the people and that would cause them problems.