Summary: In this passage of Scripture the Holy Spirit uses a cursed fig tree and the corrupt religion of the Jews to teach us very important spiritual lessons.
LESSONS FROM THE FIG TREE AND THE TEMPLE
April 1, 2007
The gospel writers give greater details on Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem. They record the beginning of what has traditionally been called “Passion Week.” Important events of that week were: (refer to the handouts)
• Triumphal entry
• Cursing of the Fig tree
• Cleansing the Temple
• Teaching in the Temple
• Challenge of Christ’s Authority
• Olivet Discourse
• The Last Suffer
• The Upper Room Discourse
• The Arrest and Trial
• The crucifixion
• The Burial
• The Resurrection
The stage was now set for the unfolding drama of the last week of Christ’s earthly life. According to Apostle John, Jesus Christ arrived at Bethany on Friday. He spent the night with Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Saturday (the Sabbath) could have been a day of limited activity. On the first day of the week (Sunday), at triumphal entry, His time had come. He sent two of His disciples to Bethpage (Mark 11:2) He directed the two to the village to find a colt.
Now, I want you to direct our attention to our text, for that’s were our message will be taken.
Proposition: In this passage of Scripture the Holy Spirit uses a cursed fig tree and the corrupt religion of the Jews to teach us very important spiritual lessons.
Our Text: Mark 11:12-19
JESUS CHRIST VISIT’S BETHANY
A. They came from Bethany (v.12b)
The Lord Jesus loved to visit Bethany. In verse 11 we read that Jesus Christ after His triumphal entry went out to spend the night with the twelve disciples in Bethany. The special objects of Christ’s mercy, love and grace. Martha, Mary, and Lazarus lived in Bethany. No doubt the Lord Jesus spent the night with that chosen family.
Bethany was a blessed place because Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, this elect family lived there.
B. He was hungry (v.12c)
Jesus Christ left Bethany early in the morning. Probably Christ has not yet taken His breakfast. So the fact here is that “Jesus was hungry.”
While he lived upon this earth, our blessed Lord Jesus had a nature exactly like ours, sin alone excepted. He wept. He rejoiced. He felt pain. He felt gladness. He got tired and needed rest. He got thirsty and needed to drink. He got hungry and needed to eat.
These are wonderful, amazing things to meditate upon. He who is the eternal God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things - He who feeds every sparrow and clothes every lily - He who holds every beast of the field, every bird in the sky, and every fish in the sea in the palm of his hand - He from who all things came and to whom all things go, when he came to save his people from their sins, was hungry!
THE CURSING OF THE FIG TREE
As our Lord and his disciples walked along, they saw this fig tree. It stood out from all the others because, though the time of figs had not yet come, this fig tree was in full foliage. The other trees were just beginning to shoot forth their buds; but this one was large, spreading its full foliage of leaves, and waving in the wind, as if to say, “Look at me”. But when our Lord walked with his disciples over to the tree to gather some figs, he found “nothing but leaves”. Our Lord pronounced a curse upon the tree, and by sun up the next morning it had withered in death from its roots (v. 20).
A. Without a doubt, this barren, cursed, withered fig tree represents UNFRUITFULNESS.
The barren fig tree strikingly portrayed the condition of the nation Israel as Jesus saw it. There was the outward profession and the promise of fruit (as indicated by the presence of leaves on the fig tree, but upon closer evaluation this promise was empty. The Jews, the Scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, all were rich in leaves. They possesses more leaves than anyone. Ceremony, creed, history, doctrine, show, tradition, reputation they had in great abundance. And they did not mind calling attention to their beautiful leaves. But they were utterly destitute of faith toward God. They had no fruit! Therefore that nation and their religion has been specifically cursed of God and forever abandoned (Matt. 23:38)
The Leafy appearance indicated fruit. So it is with men who profess to be a Christian: their profession indicates fruit. Full foliage stirred expectation. Jesus expected fruit to be present. However, if there is no fruit, then profession is empty and good for nothing. It may as well not exist.
In Matthew 23:28 we read, “In the same way, on the outside you appear people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”