Summary: From the 'fig tree' we can glean four warnings which are sobering!!
A Sober Warning
Mark 11:12-14, 20-21
* As I read this text I am reminded once again of why I love to preach through books the Bible and why I believe God leads me to preach through books of the Bible. It is because messages like this get overlooked if you just preach on subjects. In this message today is a needed message for us in America. Let’s review the story and be reminded of the facts that are in front of us.
* Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the little donkey, he went and checked out the temple, He then went probably to Bethany to spend the night, and on Monday he came back into town being hungry. He saw the fig tree in the distance and the fig tree had leaves on it, which said to those who observed, “I have fruit.” When Jesus went up to the fig tree, looking for fruit, He could find none. From a human perspective Jesus was already disturbed about what was going the temple and now to see this fig tree appearing to be one thing and in fact was something else, Jesus pronounced a curse on the tree right then and there. This was on Monday. It was the Monday that Jesus cleansed the temple. After cleansing the temple and teaching the people Jesus once again return to Bethany for the night. Now the day is Tuesday as he arrives back in Jerusalem. It’s obvious that the fig tree was on the path between Bethany and Jerusalem because Peter just happened to see that the fig tree Jesus had cursed had now withered and died.
* Today let’s take a look at that fig tree on Monday (pic). It appears to be healthy, prosperous, growing, and producing fruit – but it’s not fulfilling its mission/purpose/vision as given by its creator. On Monday, the tree looks like this &Jesus pronounced the curse. On Tuesday, the tree looks something like this. (Picture on the screen) This story offers us 4 sober warnings.
1. A practical warning- I love the practical. The practical part is that which you can put your hands on, feel, and see. The fig tree gives us a perfect practical warning. Not only did it die, it died all way down to the roots. This brings to the forefront two parallel truths: a) No person or thing can live without the blessing of God. b) No person or thing can survive the curse of the Lord. The curse of the Lord eradicated the tree (although this picture does not show it, the scripture records the tree was withered to its ROOTS). That’ll do it, there was no hope of new life in the springtime because the tree, the branches, the leaves, and the roots were now rubbish. No more life flowed through this tree. That’s what happens when God, the King of Kings and Lord of glory, pronounces a curse. It removes all semblance, possibility, and opportunity for life. The tree died because it could not exist without the blessings of its creator. It is amazing when you preach a message like this & somehow, people don’t want to believe it. However, everyone & everything God has made, He has given a purpose to complete - & He expects us to do it.
* For most of us today, purchasing an automobile is a huge purchase. Quite likely, it is the second-largest outlay of money we may have to spend (second only to our house). Let’s say you spend $55k on a new Mercedes. You park it in your driveway, it looks good; you sit in it, it makes YOU look good; you crank the engine & it sounds good; BUT you put it in drive & it won’t move. I want to be clear, HOPEFULLY, you wouldn’t speak ‘curse words’ at the car, but you may well speak a curse ON the car. You know what curse you put on automobile? I know. It would be the curse of returning it. Why would you do that? Because you bought the automobile to fulfill a specific purpose in your life and if it didn’t fulfill that purpose it would be of no use to you. Now, apply the same principle to our story. The tree didn’t fulfill the creator’s expectation so it died. The dying fig tree is a very practical warning. The Lord expected fruit & the tree didn’t produce any so Jesus pronounced a curse & the tree died. What a warning! It is indeed sobering!
2. A prophetical warning- Once again, this warning centers on the fig tree. In the Old Testament the Nation of Israel was referred to as the fig tree. The passages are many. But consider this, since Genesis 12, God’s chosen people have been the Jewish people. He chose the nation of Israel to complete specific tasks. He wanted the Jewish people to occupy the Promised Land, but the huge task was for His people was for the Messiah to be born through their lineage. All in all, God’s chosen people were pretty special to Him. Yet, on more than one occasion, God’s people felt the curse of God. You see, when they turned their backs on God, abandoned God, and/or replace Jehovah as their God, He withdrew His blessings to the point even sending a curse. One time this came by God’s allowing His people to be divided into 2 nations. When this didn’t get their attention, God allowed both countries to be taken captive. Literally, God sent all His special chosen people into captivity. For hundreds of years there was no nation of Israel, because they had actually turned their back on Him. We might want to think: If God would do this to HIS people, wonder what he would do to a nation such as, say, the United States.