Let the Miracle of the Fig Tree Grow Your Faith
Sermon shared by Rick Crandall
Summary: Jesus used this miracle to speak to His followers about faith. The Lord wanted to grow their faith, and through this story, He wants to grow ours.
Audience: General adults
*The disciples saw the Hand of God at work in a miraculous way. That fig tree completely withered away. Maybe we have never seen anything like that. But as believers, we have seen the Hand of God. How many of you could raise your hand to say that you have definitely seen the Lord work in your life? We have seen the Hand of God at work many times. And Matt 19:26 tells us that all things are possible with God.
*One of the neat gifts I got for Christmas was a book called “Godwinks” by Squire Rushnell. Squire defines a Godwink as what some would call a coincidence. It’s an answered prayer or simply an experience where you’d say, "Wow, what are the odds of that!"
*The Godwink for Christmas week this year was based in this passage of Scripture. It was the story of a late-40s couple who live in deep-south McAllen, Texas, down on the border with Mexico. The story started with the diagnosis that Toni Espinoza’s husband David would die within three years unless he received a heart transplant. In the spring of 2004, three cardiologists told David that his damaged heart was only working at 10% capacity.
*Toni cried out to God to save her husband. But she was terribly conflicted by the thought that in order for David to live, someone else would have to die. So, she began to ask God for a miraculous healing. By early December both Toni and David were feeling a strange peace about it. But Toni wanted more assurance that God’s miracle was on the way, so she prayed: “Lord, I will know David’s okay, if you make it snow on Christmas Day, in McAllen, Texas.”
*Now in the middle of winter, “cold” weather in McAllen is 70 degrees. And when Toni told several close people about her prayer, close friend Crawford Higgins replied, “Toni, if you’re expecting it to snow here, where we’ve lived all our lives, and never seen snow. -- And specifically on Christmas Day? -- You might as well start making the burial arrangements.”
*But it did snow on Christmas Eve, starting around 11:30 that night. For the first time in recorded history, McAllen, Texas had a white Christmas! It was their first measurable snow in 109 years. Three weeks later Toni and David drove back to Houston for tests at DeBakey Institute. There, Dr. Guillermo Torre’s jaw dropped in wonder at the report. “I can’t explain this!” he said with surprise in his voice. “You’re not sick anymore!” (2)
*Of course, God doesn’t always heal us like that, because this world is not our home. But you can be sure that every day He answers prayers in amazing ways, because all things are possible with God. Grow your faith on the Lord’s ability.
3. And grow your faith for the Lord’s priority.
*What is the Lord’s priority for our lives? -- It is fruitfulness. And we are reminded of this priority in vs. 19, “Seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, ‘Let no fruit grow on you ever again.’ And immediately the fig tree withered away.”
*What was the problem with the fig tree? -- no fruit. Now this was a most unusual miracle. It was the only judgment miracle that Jesus performed while He was on the earth.
*There was important symbolism in this fig tree. John Phillips explains that the fig tree was one of the symbols of the nation of Israel. The fig tree represents Israel from the time the nation rejects Christ to the time when Israel as a
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