Summary: A study of forgiveness and the fig tree.

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This morning I want us to explore the incident of the fig tree and how it relates to Jesus teaching on forgiveness.

Mk 11:12-14, 20-24

1) Mark 11:12-14

12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 In response Jesus said to it, "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again."

And His disciples heard it.


a) Fig tree is bright with foliage but produces no fruit. It is barren, is has no fruit for it’s master. Jesus puts a curse on it, not to intimidate other fig trees, but to demonstrate a lesson to His disciples. Wait a moment and you will see…

2) Mark 11:20-21

20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away."


a) Same story in Matt

i) Matthew 21:19-20

19 And 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." Immediately the fig tree withered away.

20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither away so soon?"


b) The fig tree has withered into nothingness. The fig tree had not disobeyed the clear commands of it’s creator. All along it was doing what God had designed it to do, produce figs in it’s season

c) So, what were the lessons that Jesus wanted to show to the disciples?

i) Faith and Obedience to the word and work of God

(1) If you believe, in your heart what God has said,

(a) You will do what He has commanded you to do.

(b) Else, you will do what you want to do.

3) Mark 11:23-24

23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ’Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.


a) Matt 21:21-22

21 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ’Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."

a) Have no doubt in your heart that God is faithful and true.

4) Mark 11:25

25 "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. NKJV

a) Why a lesson on forgiveness, at this time?

i) Jesus is addressing a serious problem within the discipleship. Unforgiveness. Not even four days ago James, John and their Mother had requested THE place of honor beside Jesus (Mk 10:35-37, 41). This had caused strife within the discipleship. This is the issue that Jesus is addressing. They have to heal those wounds. What Jesus has been expounding on, all along about relationships cannot be dropped now, especially now.

ii) To heal the wounds inside the nucleus of what is to become, The Church. The other 10 are holding a grudge against James and John.

iii) Likewise, at this point in our lives, we need to examine ourselves and ask some tough questions. Questions like: “Do I need to forgive anyone?” And “How is MY walk with the Lord, in light of the scruptures? In light of this teaching?”

iv) Mark Thornton relates a story that fits this message quite well. Mark says:

“As I was getting ready to come to church one day, I was helping my son to get a bath -- and frankly, he didn’t want to have a bath, especially because he couldn’t sit and play in the tub for a while. And he resisted, complained, and made it difficult -- but we struggled through it and got him clean, for the most part. As we finished up, I told him to stand up and get out so we could get him dried off and dressed for church; to which he responded, "I Can’t!"

I replied, "What do you mean, you can’t?"

He scowled at me and said, "Daddy, I Can’t!!"

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