Summary: Jesus used a fig tree to demonstrate the importance of producing fruit in this life.
• You can’t judge a book by its cover. That goes both ways.
• A book with a tattered cover may be so because it has been often read.
• Yet it may be so because it is often tossed aside and abused.
• Ill. Two ranchers were in the city bank to get an extension of their loans.
• One was wearing the finest boots, high dollar jeans, a new Stetson hat and a belt buckle the size of a breakfast plate at Denny’s.
• The other was wearing worn and dirty boots, tattered jeans and hat so weather you could not identify the brand.
• The fancy rancher asked the rugged fellow, “How much land do you have?”
• The rancher answered, “Oh, about 30,000 acres.”
• The fancy rancher responded, “Oh, a small place. Mine, I can jump in my pick up and it takes me from sun up to sun down to drive across it.”
• The rugged rancher said, “I know what you mean. I used to have a pickup like that.”
• Today as we continue our study in Mark, we are going to look at Mark 11:12-19 and see that you cannot tell a book by its cover.
• It will involve a fig tree, the Temple and, hopefully, we will see something about our lives.
• Let’s pray.
Mar 11:12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.
• Jesus had arrived in Jerusalem with a triumphant entry, riding on the colt of a donkey.
• He inspected the temple, and Matthew tells us of confrontation there.
• Mark mentions that Jesus inspected the temple and went to Bethany for rest.
• On this day, the day after their arival, Jesus and the disciples got up and went straight to Jerusalem before breakfast, apparently. Jesus was hungry.
Mar 11:13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
• This is an interesting scripture.
• At first reading, you ask, “Why did Jesus expect figs on a fig tree out of season?”
• The answer was because it was fully leafed out.
• In that area, the fig buds appeared as the first shoots of leaves appear.
• Typically, when the tree was fully leafed, there were an abundance of figs.
• It apparently was in a protected ravine, had plenty of moisture and was shielded by the Mount of Olives from the harsh winds. Lots of sun, protected from the cold.
• Such fig trees, according to Gill, are known to fruit earlier than the orchard figs.
• Jesus was the creator and sustainer of all things, including this tree.
• He knew the tree was barren. He had a point to make.
Mar 11:14 And he said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard it.
• Either you have to say that Jesus had a harsh temper and had no patience with agriculture, or Jesus was proclaiming a principle.
• Jesus pronounces a curse on the fig tree.
• I believe Jesus did all this for the behalf the disciples and for us readers.Let’s continue.
Mar 11:15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.
• Now the Gentile readers are given a glimpse of Hebrew worship.
• Two enterprises were occurring in the outer grounds of the Temple.
• First, animals were available for purchase for sacrifice for those who brought no animals or were merchants that did not raise animals.
• At first, this served a useful purpose and was a blessing to many people.
• However, Josephus indicates in his writings that the priests began to reject the animals that were bought and forced people to purchase “sanctified” animals at a premium.
• It became a lucrative business.
• Second, for offerings, Roman coins, which was the common currency of the day, was not acceptable.
• The Roman government allowed the Temple to make its own coins and the money-exchange was set up to trade Roman coins for Temple coins so the offerings would supposedly be more acceptable to God.
• However, over a period, the changers found they could profit greatly from the exchange by charging interest and fees.
• Some people depict Jesus as a smallish, weak looking character who only talked of love.
• Yet the strength and stamina that He demonstrates as the tears through the vendors’ tables shows us that He was strong, powerful and difficult to challenge. See…