Summary: When Jesus cursed the fig tree, this served as an object lesson to teach us about the dangers of unbelief and the blessings of trust in the Lord.
Jesus, the Tree Killer
(Mark 11;12-14, 20-25)
1. I have a Christmas joke for Geeks. Q: What do you get if you cross an iPad with a Christmas tree? A: A pineapple!
2. Christmas trees help set an atmosphere, do they not?
3. Do you remember the Charlie Brown Christmas? He buys this tiny, spindly tree. As soon as he begins decorating it, it droops.
4. Charlie Brown was not the first well-known person to make a tree droop. Jesus did it nearly 2,000 years ago. The tree was not a pine tree, but a fig tree.
5. Some people accuse Jesus of having a temper tantrum. Environmentalists might claim he was irresponsible. Creation exists to serve the master, not vice-versa.
6. The episode w/ fig tree is an acted-out parable, and object lesson. The lesson was intentional, and Jesus anger & disappointment was deeper than meets the eye.
Main Idea: When Jesus cursed the fig tree, this served as an object lesson to teach us about the dangers of unbelief and the blessings of trust in the Lord.
I. Unbelief and Rejection: Jesus’ Intense DISAPPOINTMENT with Israel (12-14, 20-21)
A. Sunday,: Jesus WEEPS over Jerusalem; Monday: CURSES fig tree,; Tuesday: Explains fig tree and connects to end times
B. An acted-out parable: most of Israel was like a fig tree out of SEASON.
“The early figs, appearing in March or April and ripening in June, are called ‘bikkurah.’ …The early fig was considered a great delicacy by the Hebrews. The late or green figs, which sometimes ripen after the fall of the leaf, and occasionally remain on the tree during the winter months, are called ‘pag,’”
• The tree looked like it should have early figs
• Israel looked spiritually prepared for Messiah, but rejected Him
C. Israel, in that generation, would become SHRIVELED.
America looks like a decent land, but have we become morally/spiritually shriveled?
God is in the business of setting up and taking down nations, even Israel.
D. End time Israel will be FRUITFUL.
Mark 13:28-29, “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.”
Zechariah 12:10, ““And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”
Romans 11:25-26a, “Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved…”
E. The same principle applies to we PEOPLE today.
1. Some of us are cursed by God because of UNBELIEF
John 3:18, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
Galatians 3:10, 13, “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.’ … Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree…’”
2. Others are spiritually promising, but DISAPPOINT.
• Hymenaeus and Alexander (I Timothy 1:20)
3. Others are spiritually IMMATURE.
4. Others will one day become FRUITFUL.
• John Mark
Application: What about us? Do we have any figs, or are we all leaf and no fruit?
II. Faith Coupled with GRACE: PLEASING God (22-25)
Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
A. Although faith is a gift that God gives (Eph. 2:8-9), we must EXERCISE it.
B. The imagery of a mountain is HYPERBOLE.
Zechariah 4:7a, “Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain.”
"The Jews used to set out those teachers among them, that were more eminent for the profoundness of their learning, or the splendour of their virtues, by such expressions as this; He is a rooter up (or a remover) of mountains. ‘Rabh Joseph is Sinai, and Rabbah is a rooter up of mountains.’ The Gloss: ‘They called Rabh Joseph Sinai, because he was very skilful in clearing of difficulties; and Rabbah Bar Nachmani, A rooter up of mountains, because he had a piercing judgement’ " (John Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., Volume 2, p. 283.)