Summary: The account of Jesus and the unfruitful fig tree is one that surprisingly connects with the spiritual condition of the Jews in Jesus' time and with our spiritual conditions as well. May we bear much fruit for the Lord and bring glory to His Name!
Jesus and the Barren Fig Tree
Please stand with me as we go over our current memory Scripture:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
And our memory Scripture “refresher” verse is:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Today we will be reading from Mark 11:12-25
Last week we started taking a look at the final week of Jesus’ life here on earth before His death on the cross. And we saw that there were things taking place in the Temple which were so evil that Jesus declared the place to be a “den of robbers”!
The outer court, which was to be the court of the Gentiles, had been turned into a market place selling animals which could be used for sacrifices. These animals needed to be perfect but surprisingly imperfections were found on all incoming sacrificial animals. This made it necessary for the person bringing the sacrifice to purchase “unblemished” sacrifices from the marketers.
Also, any monetary offerings had to be made in the local currency so the money changers were able to set exorbitant exchange rates.
In addition to all of this the outer court was also being used as a thoroughfare for the transport of goods through the Temple instead of having to go around the Temple.
All of this SHOULD have been prevented by the priests who were in charge of the Temple but instead of stopping it they enabled it and profited from it.
It was more than Jesus could stand!
Today, we will be taking a look at two linked events that took place before Jesus arrived at the Temple and after He left the Temple.
Now, remember from last week that prior to what is taking place in this reading Jesus had come into the temple the previous evening, He had looked around the Temple and had then gone out to Bethany for the night.
So, let’s pick up this account in … Mark 11:12-25
(Prayer for help)
Now, let’s look at two segments of what we just read.
Mark 11:13-14, 19-20 where it says,
“Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, (Jesus) went to find out if it had any fruit. When He reached it, He found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then He said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And His disciples heard Him say it.”
“When evening came, they went out of the city. In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!’”
What is the purpose for this incident?
We know that Jesus is able to do tremendous miracles. Is this just another one of His miracles or does it have some other meaning as well?
Did Jesus always curse things and people when He was frustrated with them?
Did Jesus always talk to trees?
Would He have said “thank you” to the tree if it did have figs?
Some would claim that this never happened. They might claim that it was added into the Gospels in order to make Jesus more than a man.
What did the disciples expect? They probably thought that the tree would never produce figs again but nothing more.
In this event we see a pattern of what would become of the old covenant. The Jews had abandoned the old covenant. Perhaps they were still going through the motions but they were not producing any “spiritual fruit” and had not been for a long time.
They had become intimately involved with the world.
They had compromised their relationship with God for a lucrative relationship with the evil king Herod.
Herod was building their Temple and they needed to bring in money to keep their benefactor happy.
OK. So, what does this incident with the fig tree have to do with anything other than Jesus might have been irritated with the fig tree?
Jesus never let’s anything go to waste.
Jesus’ interaction with the fig tree was an illustration of what would soon be happening with the Old Testament manner of interacting with God.
First, let’s examine some things about the fig tree.
It had lots of leaves and looked healthy. At this time of year it would be possible for the tree to have some very immature figs. These figs would taste terrible but if someone was truly hungry they could be eaten.