Summary: Jesus used this miracle to speak to His followers about faith. The Lord wanted to grow their faith, and through this story, He wants to grow ours.
Let the Miracle of the Fig Tree Grow Your Faith
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - Jan. 3, 2010
*How much faith do you want? More! -- I want more faith! The good news is that God wants you to have more faith too. That is a big part of what is going on here in Matthew 21.
*The Lord knew that He was about to go to the cross. Jesus knew that those three days in the grave would be miserably long for His scattered sheep. Jesus also knew that 40 days after He rose from the dead He was going to return to Heaven. The Lord knew that His disciples would need more faith for these times. And the Lord wanted to grow their faith in God. So, first Jesus demonstrated His power with a miracle. And then He used this miracle to speak to His followers about faith. The Lord wanted to grow their faith, and through this story, He wants to grow ours.
1. So grow your faith on the Lord’s humility.
*We see a great display of the Lord’s humility in His hunger. This is in vs. 17-18:
17. Then He (Jesus) left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He lodged there.
18. Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry.
*It is a mind-boggling thing that the God of all creation was hungry. We have seen Him feed thousands with next to nothing. And He has provided every bite we have ever eaten. But here we see the Lord in hunger. I want to remind you tonight that He was hungry for me, and He was hungry for you. John 19 tells us that one of the last things Jesus said on the cross was “I thirst.”
*The great preacher Charles Spurgeon took note of that and asked: “Who was this that said, ‘I Thirst?’ It was he who balanced the clouds and filled the channels of the mighty deep. He said, ‘I thirst,’ and yet in him was a well of water springing up to eternal life! Yes, he who guided every river in its course and watered all the fields with grateful showers. He it was, the King of kings and Lord of lords, before whom hell trembles and the earth is filled with dismay. He whom heaven adores and all eternity worships. He it was who said, ‘I thirst!’
*Matchless condescension! -- from the infinity of God to the weakness of a thirsting, dying man! -- And this was for you.” (1)
*God humbled Himself to become a man like us. So in Phil 2:5-11, the Apostle Paul would later write:
5. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6. who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7. but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
9. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
10. that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11. and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
*Grow your faith tonight on the Lord’s humility.
2. And grow your faith on the Lord’s ability.
*We see Christ’s infinite ability in vs. 19, where “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.’ And immediately the fig tree withered away.”
*The disciples saw the Hand of God at work in a miraculous way. That fig tree completely withered away. Maybe we have never seen anything like that. But as believers, we have seen the Hand of God. How many of you could raise your hand to say that you have definitely seen the Lord work in your life? We have seen the Hand of God at work many times. And Matt 19:26 tells us that all things are possible with God.
*One of the neat gifts I got for Christmas was a book called “Godwinks” by Squire Rushnell. Squire defines a Godwink as what some would call a coincidence. It’s an answered prayer or simply an experience where you’d say, "Wow, what are the odds of that!"
*The Godwink for Christmas week this year was based in this passage of Scripture. It was the story of a late-40s couple who live in deep-south McAllen, Texas, down on the border with Mexico. The story started with the diagnosis that Toni Espinoza’s husband David would die within three years unless he received a heart transplant. In the spring of 2004, three cardiologists told David that his damaged heart was only working at 10% capacity.